269 F.2d 742 (3rd Cir. 1959), 12752, United States v. Posner

Docket Nº:12752, 12753.
Citation:269 F.2d 742
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Nathan L. POSNER, Esquire, and S. Jerome Epstein, Executors of the Estate of Abraham Epstein, Deceased, Appellants.
Case Date:August 12, 1959
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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269 F.2d 742 (3rd Cir. 1959)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Nathan L. POSNER, Esquire, and S. Jerome Epstein, Executors of the Estate of Abraham Epstein, Deceased, Appellants.

Nos. 12752, 12753.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

August 12, 1959

Argued June 1, 1959.

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Richard Reifsnyder, Asst. U.S. Atty., Philadelphia, Pa. (Harold K. Wood, U.S. Atty., Philadelphia, Pa., on the brief), for the United States.

Nathan L. Posner, Philadelphia, Pa. (Donald Brown, J. Victor O'Brien, Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, Philadelphia, Pa., on the brief), for Posner and Epstein.

Before GOODRICH, KALODNER and HASTIE, Circuit Judges.

HASTIE, Circuit Judge.

The complaint of the United States in this case alleges that the original defendant, Abraham Epstein, who died and whose executors were substituted as defendants before trial, joined with a war veteran, Jack Grollman in a fraudulent scheme involving the improper use of Grollman's veteran's preference to obtain for Epstein and two corporations controlled by him surplus property which the government had made available for sale. Invoking a civil remedy provided by the Surplus Property Act, § 63 Stat. 392, 40 U.S.C.A. 489, the government recovered double the consideration involved in one transaction and was denied recovery in another. Cross appeals followed.

Concerning government property alleged to have been acquired for transfer to Regal Corrugated Box Co., one of the Epstein controlled corporations, there was evidence that Epstein suggested to Jack Grollman, one of his employees, that Grollman obtain a veteran's preference certificate and use it to purchase certain lithography and paper products from the War Assets Administration. There was also evidence that Epstein and Grollman understood before the purchases in suit were made that the property to be acquired was intended for use in the business of Regal. Pursuant to this plan Epstein assisted and directed Grollman in the preparation and execution of an application for a veteran's priority certificate. In that application there appear statements, which Epstein knew to be false, that Grollman was the proprietor of a business at a stated address with a stated number of employees.

Epstein then used his standing and credit to obtain a bank loan, loans from Regal and other financing to provide the money needed for the purchase of surplus property in the name of Grollman. Beyond that Epstein actually selected the property to be purchased. Grollman then went through the procedures of buying the surplus paper products in his own name and reselling the merchandise to Regal at a price, determined by Epstein, which was substantially in excess of the government selling price.

Regal paid this resale price to Grollman who, at Epstein's direction, retained a percentage of the resale profit to be used to pay income tax on the gain. The amount of the profit after taxes was then

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paid to Epstein by the device of drawing and cashing Grollman's checks payable to 'cash' and delivering the currency to Epstein. Thus, the evidence indicated, as the district court found, that it was not Grollman but Epstein and Regal who were the principal parties and beneficiaries in this series of transactions.

The statute under which this suit has been brought reads as follows:

'(b) Every person who shall * * * enter into an agreement, combination, or conspiracy to use * * * any fraudulent trick, scheme,...

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