United States v. Moreno, No. 14-1568 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Moreno was involved in a mortgage-fraud scheme as an appraiser who supplied inflated appraisals to other members of the scheme in exchange for money. He was also involved as broker, buyer, or seller, in other fraudulent transactions. Moreno was found guilty of five counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment. The Third Circuit affirmed the conviction, but vacated the sentence. The court rejected claims of violation of the Confrontation Clause and the hearsay rule, based on the testimony of a cooperating witness, who read statements of a non-testifying U.S. Secret Service Special Agent into the record. The court also upheld a finding that there were more than 50 victims and a resulting application of a four-level enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines. The court erred in permitting the prosecutor, during Moreno’s sentencing allocution and without leave of court, to engage in a vigorous cross-examination of Moreno.