United States v. Siddon, No. 10-1350 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant, a licensed financial adviser, pled guilty to 34 counts of mail fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343), and bank fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344) based on his solicitation of bank clients to invest in speculative real estate transactions that he controlled, unrelated to bank products, an illegal practice in the securities industry known as "selling away." The Government accused him of collecting $1.55 million between October 2002 and January 2006. The district court denied his motion to withdraw the plea when he claimed that his prior attorney, unprepared to go to trial, had browbeaten him. The court imposed a sentence of 180 months and $1.3 million in restitution. The Third Circuit affirmed. With no evidence of actual innocence and the death of some of the government's elderly witnesses, there was no "fair and just" reason to allow withdrawal of the plea. Because defendant was an investment advisor when he initiated the fraud, the court properly applied a four-level enhancement at section 2B1.1(b)(16)(A); an obstruction of justice enhancement was justified by defendant's lies concerning his guilty plea and his contact with witnesses.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 7, 2011.