United States v. Coplan (Nissenbaum), No. 10-583 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Four partners and employees of Ernst & Young, one of the largest accounting firms in the world, appealed their convictions in connection with the development and defense of five "tax shelters" that were sold or implemented by the firm between 1999 and 2001. At issue, among other things, was the scope of criminal liability in a conspiracy to defraud the United States under 18 U.S.C. 371 and the sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the criminal intent of certain defendants. The court held, among other things, that defendants' challenge to the so-called Klein conspiracy theory of criminal liability under section 371 failed under the law of the Circuit, which remained good law absent review or modification by the Supreme Court; with respect to sufficiency challenges, the court reversed some convictions based on insufficient evidence; and venue was proper with respect to Count Six, which charged defendant Vaughn with false statements to the IRS. The court addressed the remaining issues and affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated and remanded in part.