United States v. Stern, No. 12-3663 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Stern represented Allen in a discrimination suit, after which they became romantically involved. Allen and her husband had separated and had executed a settlement agreement awarding Allen $95,000, to be paid in installments. A month later, Allen visited a bankruptcy attorney, Losey, giving Stern’s name as “friend/referral” on an intake form. In filing for bankruptcy, Allen did not disclose the marital settlement. While her bankruptcy was pending, Allen received the money. A month after her bankruptcy discharge, Allen transferred the settlement proceeds to Stern, who opened a CD in his name. The attorney for Allen’s ex-husband informed the bankruptcy trustee that Allen failed to disclose the settlementand the discharge was revoked. Allen pleaded guilty to making a false declaration in a bankruptcy proceeding, 18 U.S.C. 152(3). She told a grand jury that Stern had not referred her to Losey and was convicted of making a material false statement in a grand jury proceeding, 18 U.S.C. 1623. The court admitted Losey’s client-intake form as evidence of perjury. Stern was convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering, 18 U.S.C. 1956(h). The Seventh Circuit affirmed Allen’s conviction, holding that the intake form was not a communication in furtherance of legal representation and was not subject to attorney-client privilege. Reversing Stern’s conviction, the court held that the judge erred in excluding Stern’s testimony about why he purchased the CDs.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 29, 2013.