U.S. v. Reeves

Decision Date06 April 1982
Docket NumberNos. 81-1794,s. 81-1794
Citation674 F.2d 739
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Harry F. REEVES, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Ada M. SHAW, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Leslie A. LaMONS, Appellant. to 81-1796.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit

David H. Johnson, Riverside, Mo., Thomas F. Hutchison, Nancy R. Bikson, Kansas City, Mo., for appellants.

Robert G. Ulrich, U.S. Atty., Robert E. Larsen, Asst. U.S. Atty., Kansas City, Mo., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before HEANEY, BRIGHT and STEPHENSON, * Circuit Judges.

STEPHENSON, Circuit Judge.

Defendants-appellants Harry Reeves, Ada Shaw and Leslie LaMons appeal from jury verdicts 1 finding them guilty of conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371) in causing false representations to be made on loan applications to an FDIC bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014 and substantive offenses in connection therewith in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014 and 2. 2 Appellants contend that the district court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial and in overruling their motions for severance. Further, they argue that the guilty verdict are not supported by substantial evidence and that requests for a continuance should have been granted. We affirm the district court.


The indictment charged that the defendants' scheme to defraud the bank operated over six months, from June 8, 1979 to December 10, 1979. The evidence revealed that the defendants contacted four acquaintances and helped them to fraudulently apply for and receive Title I, FHA Insured Home Improvement Loans. The applications were made to the First National Bank of Kansas City, a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The four applications falsely stated that the applicant owned the property to be improved and that the loan proceeds would be used to improve the property. After each loan was approved, the bank would issue a check in the name of the applicant. The applicant received a portion of the proceeds and the balance was kept by the defendants for their own use. The four properties were not improved and the loans were not repaid.

Testimony from David Beal supported the government's charges in Count I (conspiracy) and Count II (Beal loan). In July of 1979, Beal became a business associate of Reeves, Klint, 3 Shaw and LaMons in their downtown Kansas City, Missouri, office. Beal testified that all the defendants were involved in Minoco Development Corporation (Minoco) and that the defendants also operated several subsidiary corporations under Minoco.

The defendants were having trouble paying rent and other bills and Beal let them know he was anxious to help if he could. During this time defendant Reeves told Beal that he could help by taking out a Title I FHA loan on some property and that similar loans had been made from time to time to obtain money to pay bills. Reeves said the money would be used to keep Minoco alive. After Beal agreed to help, Reeves called defendant LaMons into his office and told her to go to the filing cabinet and find a piece of property to use. LaMons selected a property file from the cabinet and gave Beal a loan application to complete. She told him to fill out what he could and she would do the rest. LaMons took the application Beal had filled out in pen and later brought over a typewritten copy for him to sign in which she had typed in 2221 Elmwood as the property to be improved. The application falsely stated that Beal had lived at 2221 Elmwood for three months and that he had paid $5,000 for that property in June of 1979.

The application was also false in that it indicated that Beal was employed by All-Steel Products, Inc. (a Minoco subsidiary) at the salary of $995 per month and that he had been employed there for three years. Reeves had told Beal to indicate that he worked for All-Steel and LaMons and Beal had discussed how much money per month should be listed as salary to secure the loan and had also discussed what should be entered as the length of time Beal had been employed by All-Steel. LaMons told Beal that if the bank called to verify that information, she would verify it and represent herself as the personnel director for All-Steel.

Beal looked over the application typed by LaMons and signed it. Later that day Beal's wife also signed the application after defendants Reeves, Shaw and LaMons told her that the loan would help Minoco stay alive and after Reeves indicated that she would not have to make loan payments, Minoco would handle the payments.

The next day LaMons and Beal prepared the rest of the loan package and submitted it to the bank. LaMons had Beal sign a construction bid, a carpeting bid and a warranty deed. LaMons forged Mrs. Beal's signature on the warranty deed and also notarized the deed.

The bank called the Minoco offices, LaMons verified Beal's employment and the bank eventually agreed to give Beal a $6,700 Title I FHA loan. Before applying for the loan, Reeves and Beal had discussed the amount that should be requested and another Minoco associate suggested that the number should total thirteen since thirteen was a lucky number for Minoco. Beal further testified that the $6,700 amount requested was not based on any bids received by the corporation.

After receiving the loan check from the bank, Beal went back to the Minoco offices and began waiving the check around. Defendants Reeves, Shaw and LaMons congratulated him. Reeves and Beal had previously discussed splitting the money and had agreed that Beal would receive $2,800. When Beal actually received the check, Reeves and he discussed what corporation should be used to write Beal a check for his share of the money. Beal signed the check over to the National Business League of Kansas City and Reeves gave Beal a National Business League check for $2,800.

Testimony from Milton Perry also supported the government's charges in Count I (conspiracy) and Count V (Perry loan). He stated that shortly after he met defendant Shaw in the summer of 1979, she contacted him about making a Title I FHA loan application. Shaw brought an application to Perry's apartment and asked him to fill it out. She said that Minoco needed money because it was in financial difficulty and that the money would go back into Minoco. When Shaw returned to pick up the completed application, she told Perry he had made a mistake because he had put down his actual address instead of the address of the property that was the basis for the loan, the 3245 Benton address. When Shaw returned with the typewritten application for his signature, the actual residence was not listed; instead the 3245 Benton address was on the application. Other false information that Perry had not written in was also included. For example, the application falsely stated that Perry had lived at the Benton address for two months. Further, it incorrectly stated that Perry had purchased that property on June 1, 1979, for $15,000. Perry signed the loan application, as well as a construction bid and a certificate of eligibility for carpeting that Shaw presented to him.

Later, Shaw called Perry at work and told him that the money was ready to be picked up. Perry picked up Shaw at the Minoco offices and she told him where to go in the bank. She waited in the car while Perry picked up the check. Immediately after receiving the $7,500 check from the bank, Perry endorsed it to D. S. O. Wood Products (a Minoco subsidiary) and gave it to Shaw.

A few days after turning the check over to defendant Shaw, Perry received an $800 check and $200 in cash from defendant Reeves. Reeves explained that $1,000 was over and above the amount needed to repair the house at 3245 Benton.

Perry received a letter from the bank saying that a payment was due. He went to Minoco's downtown office, walked into Reeves' office, threw the payment book on Reeves' desk and asked who was supposed to make the payments. Reeves said he would make them when Perry could not.

Perry later received an unsigned stock certificate for 750 shares of stock in Executive Marketing Enterprises, Inc. from Shaw. Defendants Reeves, Shaw and LaMons all had a discussion with Perry regarding the certificate, which was for stock in a Minoco subsidiary. Perry was under the impression that the stock was given him in return for the $6,500 of the loan that he had turned over to Shaw. However, when he had a conversation with Reeves and Shaw about cashing the certificate in, Reeves told him the money was not available.

In December of 1979, Perry received a copy of a letter from Reeves to a bank officer. The letter stated that Minoco had packaged four FHA Title I loans and that Minoco had made a mistake in filing a warranty deed at the courthouse instead of a real estate contract and deed of trust. Reeves asked to meet with the bank officer to discuss the error and "salvage the credit of these customers." When Reeves and Perry discussed the letter, Reeves said the letter would be a release for Perry and that Perry had nothing to worry about.

The four loans referred to in the letter were from the bank to Beal and Perry, as previously discussed, and also loans to Diane Miller, Count I (conspiracy) and Count IV (Miller loan), and Elizabeth McCauley, Count I (conspiracy) and Count III (McCauley loan). Miller and McCauley were recruited by defendant Klint to complete applications for Title I FHA loans. Their loan arrangements follow the same pattern as the Beal and Perry loans and their testimony supports the government's charges.

Miller was asked if she could use $1,000 by Klint, who told Miller that if she let Minoco use Miller's name to get a loan then Miller would get $1,000 and Minoco would keep the rest. Miller understood that she had no obligation to repay the loan, that all they needed was her name. Miller's loan application falsely stated that she had lived at 3819 Smart for one month, that she was employed by...

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