United States v. Gjeli, No. 15-1892 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants were tried together and convicted of several racketeering-related offenses in connection with a loan sharking and illegal gambling operation in Philadelphia. The district court entered preliminary orders of forfeiture making both men jointly and severally liable for more than $5 million of the proceeds from the criminal operation. During the pendency of their appeal, the Supreme Court issued its 2017 "Honeycutt" opinion, reviewing one of the forfeiture statutes at issue in the defendants’ case, 21 U.S.C. 853, and holding that joint and several liability is unauthorized. In light of that holding, the Third Circuit remanded for reconsideration of the forfeiture orders, but otherwise affirmed. The court rejected an argument that the district court violated the Sixth Amendment by applying a “dangerous weapons” sentencing enhancement based on the defendants’ use of an axe to make threats. Defendants argued that the use of the axe constitutes acquitted conduct because it was one of the acts that formed the basis of Count 26, of which they were found not guilty. The court also rejected challenges to the sentencing calculations associated with the RICO conspiracy.