United States v. Brawer, Cal. No. 612-614

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtMOORE, HAYS and FEINBERG, Circuit
Citation482 F.2d 117
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Alfred BRAWER et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date22 June 1973
Docket Number72-2215.,Cal. No. 612-614,72-2201,Dockets 72-2199

482 F.2d 117 (1973)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Alfred BRAWER et al., Defendants-Appellants.

Cal. Nos. 612-614, Dockets 72-2199, 72-2201, 72-2215.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Argued January 26, 1973.

Decided June 22, 1973.


482 F.2d 118

Alfred I. Rosner, New York City, for defendants-appellants Alfred Brawer and Ralph Ignomirello.

482 F.2d 119

Jay H. Topkis, New York City, (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, New York City, and Kenneth C. Bass, III, Washington, D. C., of counsel), for defendant-appellant Wassil Kreshik.

Jay S. Horowitz, Asst. U. S. Atty., New York City (Whitney North Seymour, Jr., U. S. Atty., S. D. of N. Y., John J. Kenney and Richard J. Davis, Asst. U. S. Attys., New York City, of counsel), for appellee United States.

Before MOORE, HAYS and FEINBERG, Circuit Judges.

MOORE, Circuit Judge:

Appellants Alfred Brawer, Ralph Ignomirello, and Wassil Kreshik appeal from judgments of conviction entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York after a seven-day trial by jury before Judge Milton Pollack. The three-count indictment charged each appellant and one Salvatore L. Mauceli, a/k/a Steve Marsh (named only as a co-conspirator), with: (1) conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371, and 2314, by unlawfully, wilfully, and knowingly transporting stolen United States Treasury Bills in interstate and foreign commerce; (2) transportation of $262,000 of stolen Treasury Bills in foreign commerce between New York City and Zurich, Switzerland; and (3) transportation of said bills between New York City and Montreal, Canada. Appellants were found guilty as charged on all three counts.

At the close of the government's evidence, and again at the close of their respective cases, each appellant moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts; the motions were denied. After the jury rendered its verdict each appellant moved for a new trial on the ground that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence; these motions were also denied.

Brawer was sentenced to a five-year term of imprisonment on Count 1 and to seven-year terms of imprisonment on Counts 2 and 3, the sentences to run concurrently. Ignomirello was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one year and a day on each count, the terms to run concurrently, with parole available after service of a term of two months, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4208(a) (1). Kreshik was sentenced on Count 1 to a term of imprisonment of one year and a day, with parole available after service of a term of two months; as to Counts 2 and 3, imposition of sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for a period of five years, to commence upon expiration of the term of imprisonment on Count 1.

I. THE EVIDENCE

Since all three appellants question the sufficiency of the evidence upon which they were convicted, it is necessary to state the facts adduced at trial in some detail.

The narrative begins on March 6, 1969, the date on which the brokerage house of Francis I. duPont & Co. (duPont) received at its offices in New York City $342,000 in six-month United States Treasury Bills which had been issued that same day. The serial numbers of the Treasury Bills were entered on duPont's records and the securities were deposited in one of duPont's vaults. DuPont paid $331,035.48 for the Bills, an amount reflecting a three percent discount from face value. One month later, after a physical search of duPont's offices on April 7 or 8, 1969, the Bills were found to be missing.

At about the time duPont received the Bills, that is, during the first week of March, 1969, appellant Kreshik, an Orthodox Catholic priest with a parish in Bayonne, New Jersey, approached a long-time friend, banker, and lawyer named Edward Dembe, to ask his assistance in negotiating the sale of some securities. Kreshik told Dembe that an ailing parishioner wished to dispose of some government "bonds" and that for personal reasons the parishioner wished to sell without his partners knowing about it. The parishioner wanted to sell them abroad. At trial Dembe, a government witness, testified that on that occasion

482 F.2d 120
Kreshik "told me that he had a parishioner whom he was trying to help, and this parishioner wanted to sell or dispose of some government bonds but he wanted to dispose of them outside of the country, and he wanted to know if I could direct him or help him introduce to someone sic or in some way help with this disposition of these bonds." (Trial Transcript, hereinafter "Tr.", at 65). Dembe warned Kreshik to be careful that the securities were not stolen; Kreshik assured Dembe that he was merely trying to help an ailing parishioner, that he knew the parishioner well, that the parishioner was trustworthy, and that the transaction was entirely legitimate (Tr. at 66-67). Of significance concerning this first of several meetings between Dembe and Kreshik was Dembe's trial testimony that Kreshik at each meeting had neglected or refused to divulge either the parishioner's name or the reason for selling the securities abroad on the ground that it was "like information he had gotten in the confessional." (Tr. at 66). This testimony conflicted with Kreshik's grand jury testimony (Kreshik did not testify at trial) in which he claimed that he had supplied Dembe with the parishioner's name, one Anthony Pirozzi,1 stating "I have no reason to hide anything from anyone," (Tr. at 564) and that Pirozzi had never instructed him that the Bills had to be sold abroad. (Tr. at 564-65).2 Kreshik also testified at the grand jury that at no time had he asked parishioner Pirozzi where the latter had gotten the large number of securities in question. (Tr. at 564)

At a second meeting between Kreshik and Dembe, occurring approximately ten days after the first, Kreshik informed Dembe that the securities were not "bonds" but Treasury Bills. Dembe examined several of the Bills which Kreshik had brought him and determined that they were not counterfeit. After Kreshik repeatedly reiterated his parishioner's interest in selling the securities abroad, Dembe agreed to put Kreshik in contact with someone "who has some knowledge of securities in foreign markets." (Tr. at 76).3 The "someone" Dembe had in mind was appellant Alfred Brawer, a man not known to Kreshik, but one whom Dembe knew as a customer of the bank and as one who also had had previous dealings in foreign securities. Brawer characterized himself as a "fiscal monetary expert as to foreign currency transactions and banking accounts normally in other countries." (Brawer Brief at 27).

Dembe arranged a meeting between Kreshik and Brawer for some time in late March or early April, at Kreshik's parish in Bayonne. Dembe introduced Brawer as "the gentleman that will be able to take care of the securities" (Tr.

482 F.2d 121
at 561) and then apparently departed the scene, with no further participation in the ensuing events.4

As a result of the meeting at the parish Kreshik went to Pirozzi's home, picked up a package containing the Treasury Bills, and delivered them to Brawer the following morning. Appellant Kreshik contends that his involvement in the transaction, which he characterized as an innocent attempt to help an ailing parishioner who wanted to sell the securities anonymously so that his business partners would not know of it, ended with delivery of the bills to Brawer, and that he had absolutely no involvement in, or knowledge of, the events following. (Kreshik Brief at 4). The record tends to support Kreshik's contention, since the testimony of none of the witnesses at trial connected him with the subsequent actions of appellants Brawer, Ignomirello and co-conspirator Mauceli.5 Mauceli, a government witness, testified that he never knew or even saw Kreshik. (Tr. at 124-25). Dembe testified that after Mauceli's arrest, "Father Kreshik was just as shocked as I was" and that Kreshik indicated he was going to see his ailing parishioner. (Tr. at 118).

On April 9, 1969, approximately one week after he first discussed the Treasury Bills with Kreshik, Brawer telephoned Mauceli, a photographer who lived in Teaneck, New Jersey, with whom Brawer "had had other big financial transactions." (Brawer Brief at 29). Brawer told Mauceli that "I finally got something with which we can make some money" (Tr. at 130), explaining that he had received a large quantity of Treasury Bills from a priest who, in turn, had obtained them from a parishioner who wanted to sell the Bills abroad because of "tax considerations." (Tr. at 130-31). Brawer assured Mauceli that the Bills were not stolen or tainted in any way, stating, "Would a priest get involved in stolen items?" (Tr. at 131). Brawer knew that Mauceli had foreign contacts who might be interested in buying the securities and asked him if he would help negotiate a sale abroad. Mauceli said he could telephone a Canadian contact, one Jacques Riel, immediately. Brawer agreed to the idea. (Tr. at 133). Mauceli testified at trial that Brawer had outlined explicit conditions for the sale of the securities: (1) the Bills had to be sold abroad (Tr. at 135); (2) the Bills should be sold at "90 percent of face value, and if that proved difficult to ask for 85 percent of face value" (Tr. at 131); (3) Brawer and Mauceli would share equally 10% of the sale price as their "commission" (Tr. at 150); (4) the sale "was supposed to be and had to be a cash deal" (Tr. at 144); (5) the securities had to be sold as quickly as possible — "within two days at the most" (Tr. at 178); and (6) the identity of the priest had to be kept secret, for "tax reasons"6 (Tr. at 139). Mauceli quickly

482 F.2d 122
telephoned the Canadian, Riel, and made arrangements to fly to Montreal in two days' time, that is, on Friday, April 11th. Brawer would meet Mauceli at LaGuardia Airport and give him the $262,000 worth of Bills for the trip to Montreal

On Friday, April 11th, the two met at the...

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32 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Flaherty, Nos. 80-1782
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 12 Noviembre 1981
    ...omitted). See United States v. Barnes, 412 U.S. 837, 843-46, 93 S.Ct. 2357, 2361-63, 37 L.Ed.2d 380 (1976); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 124-27 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1051, 95 S.Ct. 628, 42 L.Ed.2d 646 (1974); United States v. Jacobs, 475 F.2d 270, 281 (2d Cir.), c......
  • U.S. v. Bernstein, Nos. 941
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 4 Marzo 1976
    ...The Witness: Yes. The Court: You may proceed, Mr. Klein. 17 The conscious avoidance charge given was proper under United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 128-29 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1051, 95 S.Ct. 628, 42 L.Ed.2d 646 (1974), and United States v. Jacobs, 475 F.2d 270, 287-88......
  • U.S. v. Mohabir, No. 776
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 23 Junio 1980
    ...specifically approved by this court. See, e. g., United States v. Morales, 577 F.2d 769, 773-75 (2d Cir. 1978); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 128-29 (2d Cir. 1973). Under the circumstances, there is no basis for finding reversible error in the Accordingly, for the reasons stated in......
  • U.S. v. Jewell, No. 74-2832
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 27 Febrero 1976
    ...v. Frank, 494 F.2d 145, 152-53 (2d Cir. 1974) (transporting stolen money, 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1341-1343, 2314); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 126-27 (2d Cir. 1973) (18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371 & 2314, transporting stolen securities); United States v. Egenberg, 441 F.2d 441, 444 (2d Cir. 1971......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • U.S. v. Flaherty, Nos. 80-1782
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 12 Noviembre 1981
    ...omitted). See United States v. Barnes, 412 U.S. 837, 843-46, 93 S.Ct. 2357, 2361-63, 37 L.Ed.2d 380 (1976); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 124-27 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1051, 95 S.Ct. 628, 42 L.Ed.2d 646 (1974); United States v. Jacobs, 475 F.2d 270, 281 (2d Cir.), c......
  • U.S. v. Bernstein, Nos. 941
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 4 Marzo 1976
    ...The Witness: Yes. The Court: You may proceed, Mr. Klein. 17 The conscious avoidance charge given was proper under United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 128-29 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1051, 95 S.Ct. 628, 42 L.Ed.2d 646 (1974), and United States v. Jacobs, 475 F.2d 270, 287-88......
  • U.S. v. Mohabir, No. 776
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 23 Junio 1980
    ...specifically approved by this court. See, e. g., United States v. Morales, 577 F.2d 769, 773-75 (2d Cir. 1978); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 128-29 (2d Cir. 1973). Under the circumstances, there is no basis for finding reversible error in the Accordingly, for the reasons stated in......
  • U.S. v. Jewell, No. 74-2832
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 27 Febrero 1976
    ...v. Frank, 494 F.2d 145, 152-53 (2d Cir. 1974) (transporting stolen money, 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1341-1343, 2314); United States v. Brawer, 482 F.2d 117, 126-27 (2d Cir. 1973) (18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371 & 2314, transporting stolen securities); United States v. Egenberg, 441 F.2d 441, 444 (2d Cir. 1971......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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