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Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 1 of 6
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`USDC SDNY
`DOCUMENT
`ELECTRONICALLY FILED
`DOC #:
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`DATE FILED:
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`7/28/2017
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`S1 16-CR-156 (VEC)
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`OPINION & ORDER
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`UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
`SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
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`UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
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` -against-
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`ROXANNA INSAIDOO,
`a/k/a “Roxanna Pearson,”
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` Defendants.
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`VALERIE CAPRONI, United States District Judge:
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`Following a five day trial, Defendant Rosanna Insaidoo a/k/a Roxanna Pearson (“Ms.
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`Insaidoo”) was convicted of: conspiracy to commit embezzlement, in violation of
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`18 U.S.C. § 371; embezzlement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 666(a)(1)(a); conspiracy to launder
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`money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h); conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, in violation of
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`18 U.S.C. § 1349; and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343. Ms. Insaidoo moves for a
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`judgment of acquittal as to her convictions for embezzlement, embezzlement conspiracy, and
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`money laundering conspiracy. Alternatively, Ms. Insaidoo moves for a new trial. For the
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`following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
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`Rule 29 Motion
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`Ms. Insaidoo moves for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal
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`Procedure 29, asserting that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that
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`she had the requisite knowledge necessary to support her conviction for embezzlement,
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`embezzlement conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. Ms. Insaidoo argues that even
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`when viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, the evidence “gives nearly equal
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`circumstantial support to a theory of guilt and a theory of innocence, and a rational juror would
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`1
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`Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 2 of 6
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`have . . . entertained a reasonable doubt in this case.” Defendant Roxanna Insaidoo’s
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`Memorandum of Law in Support of Her Motions for a Judgment of Acquittal or a New Trial
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`Pursuant to Rules 29 & 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (“Mem.”) 3, Dkt. 47.
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`Essentially, Ms. Insaidoo urges that she was a “dupe” that “trust[ed] that [Mr.] Insaidoo would
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`properly attend to” the affairs of United Block Association (“UBA”), a non-profit that ran four
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`senior centers and that received federal funds. Mem. 12. The Government responds that the
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`evidence at trial was more than sufficient to sustain Ms. Insaidoo’s guilty convictions.
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`A defendant challenging the sufficiency of the evidence pursuant to Rule 29 “bears a
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`heavy burden.” United States v. Vilar, 729 F.3d 62, 91 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v.
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`Coplan, 703 F.3d 46, 62 (2d Cir. 2012). A conviction must be upheld if “any rational trier of
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`fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id.
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`(quoting Coplan, 703 F.3d at 62). A judgment of acquittal is warranted “only if the evidence
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`that the defendant committed the crime alleged is nonexistent or so meager that no reasonable
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`jury could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” United States v. Jiau, 734 F.3d 147, 152 (2d
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`Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v. Espaillet, 380 F.3d 713, 718 (2d Cir. 2004)).
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`In considering the sufficiency of the evidence, the Court must view the evidence “in its
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`totality, not in isolation,” United States v. Autuori, 212 F.3d 105, 114 (2d Cir. 2000), and “in the
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`light most favorable to the Government,” United States v. George, 779 F.3d 113, 115 (2d Cir.
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`2015). All inferences and issues of credibility must be resolved in favor of the Government, and
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`a guilty verdict may be based entirely on circumstantial evidence. United States v. Zayac, 765
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`F.3d 112, 117 (2d Cir. 2014). In general, “the court must be careful to avoid usurping the role of
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`the jury.” United States v. Guadagna, 183 F.3d 122, 129 (2d Cir. 1999).
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`2
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`Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 3 of 6
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`In this case, the jury could reasonably find that Ms. Insaidoo had the requisite knowledge
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`to sustain her convictions for embezzlement and embezzlement conspiracy. The evidence at trial
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`demonstrated that Ms. Insaidoo received more than $195,000 from UBA, even though she
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`worked very few hours at UBA as a “health consultant.” Moreover, the evidence demonstrated
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`that she continued to be paid when she was out of the country and obviously unable to provide
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`health services to UBA’s clientele. The jury could reasonably find, based on the totality of the
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`evidence, that Ms. Insaidoo knew that most of the money she received from UBA was not
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`legitimate compensation but instead had been embezzled.
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`In addition, the jury could reasonably find that Allied Home Care (“Allied”) was a
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`“charity” jointly owned by Mr. and Ms. Insaidoo and that Ms. Insaidoo knew that the money
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`going into the Allied bank account had been stolen from UBA. The evidence at trial
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`demonstrated, among other things, that: Ms. Insaidoo controlled and was a signatory on the
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`Allied bank account; she was a signatory on and wrote checks from one of UBA’s bank accounts
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`(the “0230 Board Account”) to Allied; Allied received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the
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`0230 Board Account; and Ms. Insaidoo signed checks from the Allied account for her personal
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`expenses. Ms. Insaidoo even concedes that the evidence established that Ms. Insaidoo “was a
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`signatory on the 0230 [Board Account] and numerous checks paid to Allied Home Care had her
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`signature on them” and that she “received checks payable to . . . herself [that] were cashed.”
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`Mem. 7-8. Although Ms. Insaidoo did not sign all of the checks, and although the evidence
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`against her was circumstantial, there was sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably find that,
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`far from being a “dupe,” Ms. Insaidoo knew that the hundreds of thousands of dollars being
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`funneled into Allied had been stolen from UBA.
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`3
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`Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 4 of 6
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`Relative to her conviction for money laundering conspiracy, the evidence at trial
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`demonstrated that the embezzled UBA funds were transferred in and out of the 0230 Board
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`Account and from that account to the Allied bank account before being spent or sent to a foreign
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`bank in Ghana. Because a reasonable jury could find that Ms. Insaidoo knew that the money had
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`been stolen from UBA and that Ms. Insaidoo nevertheless agreed to help move the stolen money
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`through the Allied account, the jury could reasonably find that Ms. Insaidoo had the requisite
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`mens rea for money laundering conspiracy.
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`In sum, there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that Ms. Insaidoo
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`knowingly committed the crimes of embezzlement, embezzlement conspiracy, and money
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`laundering conspiracy. Therefore, Ms. Insaidoo’s Rule 29 motion for a judgment of acquittal is
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`DENIED.
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`Rule 33 Motion
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`Ms. Insaidoo also moves for a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
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`33, arguing that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The Government,
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`again, argues that the evidence was more than sufficient to support her convictions. The Court
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`agrees with the Government.
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`Pursuant to Rule 33, the Court may grant a new trial “if the interest of justice so
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`requires.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 33. But motions for new trials are granted in only “the most
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`extraordinary circumstances,” and only if the court finds “a real concern that an innocent person
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`may have been convicted.” United States v. Sanchez, 969 F.2d 1409, 1414 (2d Cir. 1992). If the
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`Court is satisfied that “competent, satisfactory and sufficient evidence” in the record supports the
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`guilty verdict, then the motion for new trial must be denied. Id.
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`4
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`Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 5 of 6
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`Ms. Insaidoo argues that a new trial is required because the jury considered against Ms.
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`Insaidoo “spillover evidence that should have been limited” to Mr. Insaidoo and that evidence
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`“so prejudiced Mrs. Insaidoo as to deprive her of a fair trial.” Mem. 3. Ms. Insaidoo, however,
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`does not specify what evidence was prejudicial “spillover evidence” that was not properly
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`admissible against her. In the context of an indictment that charged both defendants with
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`multiple conspiracies, it is not obvious what evidence would have been admissible against only
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`one of the conspirators.
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`Ms. Insaidoo repeats her arguments that she lacked knowledge of Mr. Insaidoo’s conduct,
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`again arguing that “so much of the evidence in this case had nothing to [do] with her and
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`everything to do with her husband.” Mem. 14-15. But there was more than sufficient evidence
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`to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Insaidoo was guilty of embezzlement,
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`embezzlement conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. As discussed supra, a jury could
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`reasonably find, among other things, that she knew (or consciously avoided knowing) that the
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`funds that were deposited into the Allied account had been stolen from UBA, that she personally
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`benefitted from the stolen funds, and that those stolen funds were laundered through the 0230
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`Board Account and Allied’s accounts before being spent or sent overseas and that she agreed
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`with her husband to misuse UBA’s money in that way. Therefore, there was sufficient evidence
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`at trial to convict Ms. Insaidoo of embezzlement, embezzlement conspiracy, and money
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`laundering conspiracy, and the Court finds no manifest injustice in the jury’s verdict.
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`5
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`Case 1:16-cr-00156-VEC Document 65 Filed 07/28/17 Page 6 of 6
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`CONCLUSION
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`For the foregoing reasons, Ms. Insaidoo’s motion for judgment of acquittal or, in the
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`alternative, for a new trial is DENIED. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate
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`Docket Entry No. 47.
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`SO ORDERED.
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`Dated: July 28, 2017
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`New York, NY
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`_____________________________________ _____
`___________________________
`VALERIE CAPRONI
`VALERIE CAPRONI
`United States District Judge
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`6
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