23 F.3d 670 (2nd Cir. 1994), 1021, United States v. Piervinanzi

Docket Nº:1021, 1133, Docket 92-1473, 92-1474.
Citation:23 F.3d 670
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Michael PIERVINANZI, Daniel Tichio, John M. Bookhart, Jr., Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:May 02, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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23 F.3d 670 (2nd Cir. 1994)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Michael PIERVINANZI, Daniel Tichio, John M. Bookhart, Jr.,


Nos. 1021, 1133, Docket 92-1473, 92-1474.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 2, 1994

Argued June 18, 1993.

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Bettina Schein, New York City, for defendant-appellant Piervinanzi.

Louis Freeman, New York City (Freeman, Nooter & Ginsberg, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellant Tichio.

Guy Petrillo, Asst. U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of New York, New York City (Roger S. Hayes, U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of New York, Paul G. Gardephe, Asst. U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of New York, New York City, of counsel), for appellee.

Before: CARDAMONE and MAHONEY, Circuit Judges, and CEDARBAUM, District Judge. [*]

MAHONEY, Circuit Judge:

Michael Piervinanzi and Daniel Tichio 1 appeal from judgments of conviction entered July 31, 1992 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Peter K. Leisure, Judge, after an eleven-day jury trial. The jury found Piervinanzi and Tichio guilty of conspiracy, attempted bank fraud, and attempted money laundering charges arising from a scheme to fraudulently transfer funds overseas from an account at Irving Trust Company ("Irving Trust"). The jury also convicted Piervinanzi of wire fraud, attempted bank fraud, attempted money laundering, and money laundering charges stemming from a separate but related scheme targeting an account at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company ("Morgan Guaranty"). The district court sentenced Piervinanzi to concurrent terms of 210 months imprisonment on each of seven counts of conviction, imposed a five-year term of supervised release for one attempted money laundering count and concurrent three-year terms of supervised release on the six other counts, and fined him $10,000. The court sentenced Tichio to concurrent terms of 135 months imprisonment on each of his three counts of conviction, and to concurrent three-year terms of supervised release.

We vacate Piervinanzi's conviction for money laundering under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1957, and remand both cases to the district court for resentencing. We affirm the convictions in all other respects.


This case involves two separate but related schemes to transfer funds electronically out of banks and overseas. The basic facts are not in dispute.

  1. The Irving Trust Scheme.

    From 1982 to 1988, Lorenzo DelGiudice was an auditor and computer operations specialist for Irving Trust. DelGiudice was responsible for monitoring and improving the security of the bank's wire transfer procedures to prevent unauthorized transfers. In March 1988, Anthony Marchese told DelGiudice that he and Piervinanzi were planning to rob an armored car. DelGiudice suggested a less violent alternative--an unauthorized wire transfer of funds from Irving Trust into an overseas account. DelGiudice explained that he could use his position at Irving Trust to obtain the information necessary to execute such a transfer. DelGiudice also explained that it would be necessary to obtain an overseas bank account for the scheme to succeed, because (1) United States banking regulations made the rapid movement of proceeds difficult, and (2) a domestic fraudulent transfer could, if detected, be readily reversed.

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    Marchese then introduced DelGiudice to Tichio. After DelGiudice explained the wire transfer scheme to Tichio, Tichio said that he could provide a foreign account to receive the stolen funds. Tichio made arrangements with Dhaniram Rambali, a business associate, to use Rambali's personal account at First Home Bank in the Cayman Islands to receive the stolen funds. Tichio then told DelGiudice that he would be able to provide access to accounts in the Cayman Islands, and emphasized that the strong bank secrecy laws there would prevent tracing of the purloined funds. Tichio told DelGiudice that the $10 million they were then planning to steal could be repatriated in monthly amounts of $200,000.

    DelGiudice and Marchese distrusted Tichio's commitment to repatriate the money to them and feared for their safety, especially in view of the protracted payout schedule that Tichio had proposed. Marchese suggested that Piervinanzi be recruited to provide security for the operation; Piervinanzi's reputed ties to organized crime, he suggested, would deter Tichio from treachery or violence. Marchese and Tichio then met with Piervinanzi, who agreed to participate in the scheme and ensure that no one would "be hurt." Piervinanzi thereafter asked his brother, Robin Piervinanzi ("Robin"), to make the telephone call to Irving Trust that would initiate the transfer of funds to the Cayman Islands. Primarily in order to compensate Piervinanzi for his efforts, the conspirators increased the amount they planned to steal from $10 million to $14 million, of which DelGiudice and Marchese would receive $4 million each, and Tichio and Piervinanzi would receive $3 million each.

    Despite Piervinanzi's participation, DelGiudice remained concerned about his safety, and decided to "sabotage [the] deal." However, DelGiudice did not want his coconspirators to know that he was intentionally frustrating their efforts. Accordingly, when he created the script that Robin would read when calling Irving Trust, DelGiudice left one necessary piece of information out of it: the name of a bank in the United States that would serve as the correspondent bank of First Home Bank in the Cayman Islands. 2 DelGiudice knew that if this information was not provided by the caller, it was likely that the transaction would not be consummated.

    On July 6, 1988, Robin called Irving Trust and identified himself as "Joseph Herhal," an officer at Beneficial Corporation ("Beneficial"), whose Irving Trust account had been selected by DelGiudice for the transfer. Robin instructed a clerk to wire $14.2 million from the Beneficial account to Rambali's account at First Home Bank in the Cayman Islands. Reading from the script provided by DelGiudice, Robin supplied all required information except the identity of the correspondent bank. In the course of processing the transaction, the clerk contacted Beneficial to ask the identity of the American correspondent bank for First Home Bank. The clerk then learned that Beneficial had not requested the wire transfer, and halted the transaction. To deflect suspicion from himself, DelGiudice told Marchese that Irving Trust had stopped the transfer because First Home Bank was a "fly by night" operation.

  2. The Morgan Guaranty Scheme

    In July 1988, in a move unrelated to the attempted bank fraud, DelGiudice left his job at Irving Trust and accepted a "better position" at Morgan Guaranty as audit manager. His first assignment at Morgan Guaranty was to perform an audit of the bank's wire transfer department. During the autumn of 1988, DelGiudice, Marchese, and Piervinanzi began planning a fraudulent wire transfer from Morgan Guaranty. DelGiudice agreed to acquire the necessary information for the transfer; Marchese and Piervinanzi took responsibility for arranging other aspects of the scheme, such as locating an overseas bank account to receive the stolen funds, recruiting a "caller" to initiate the wire transfer, and arranging for the distribution of the proceeds. They agreed that Tichio would not be involved in the Morgan Guaranty scheme.

    Marchese and Piervinanzi contacted Philip Wesoke, a self-styled "financial consultant" who had previously invested (and lost) money

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    for Piervinanzi. Marchese and Piervinanzi told Wesoke that they represented individuals who wanted to invest $14 to $20 million discreetly in a liquid, unregistered asset. Marchese and Piervinanzi told Wesoke that the investment could be "settled" overseas, and Piervinanzi mentioned the Cayman Islands, saying that he and Marchese had recently completed a transaction there. Having learned from the aborted Irving Trust scheme that correspondent bank information was necessary to transfer funds out of the country, Piervinanzi told Wesoke to provide the identity of a correspondent bank.

    Wesoke recommended, and Piervinanzi and Marchese agreed, that they invest in diamonds. Wesoke accordingly arranged for a syndicate of Israeli diamond dealers to assemble a portfolio of diamonds for the conspirators. Wesoke also provided Piervinanzi with the necessary account and correspondent bank information for the planned recipient bank.

    DelGiudice had selected an account of Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. ("Shearson") at Morgan Guaranty as his target, and compiled the necessary information for the transfer. Piervinanzi gave DelGiudice the information that Wesoke had provided concerning the recipient bank and its American correspondent bank. DelGiudice then met with Robin, who again was chosen to make the call that would trigger the fraudulent transfer. DelGiudice provided Robin with the appropriate Morgan Guaranty telephone number, dictated a script for him to use, and told him when to make the call.

    On February 23, 1989, Robin telephoned Morgan Guaranty and, purporting to be Shearson employee William Cicio, directed a wire transfer of $24 million to the selected account in London, with Bankers Trust Company in New York ("Bankers Trust") serving as the correspondent bank. Although Robin supplied all the information needed to complete the transfer, Morgan Guaranty's clerk became suspicious because she had spoken with Cicio previously, and discerned that the voice on the telephone was not Cicio's. The clerk processed the transfer, but reported her suspicions to a supervisor. Either the supervisor or the clerk then contacted Shearson and learned that the transaction had not been authorized...

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