United States v. Atilla, No. 18-1589 (2d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), bank fraud, and money laundering in connection with a scheme to evade U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. Defendant is a Turkish national and former Deputy General Manager of Turkey's state-owned bank.
The court held that, although the district court provided a partially erroneous jury instruction on the IEEPA statute, the error was harmless given that the jury was properly instructed on an alternative theory of liability for which the evidence was overwhelming. The court also held that the evidence was sufficient to support the remaining convictions; the statute that prohibits defrauding the United States, 18 U.S.C. 371, reaches defendant's conspiracy to obstruct the United States' enforcement of its economic sanctions laws; and, even assuming that the district court abused its discretion by excluding the phone call recording and transcript, the error was harmless.