United States v. Picardi, No. 19-1043 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Picardi, a former Customs and Border Protection Officer at the international terminal of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, was convicted of embezzlement by an officer or employee of the United States, 18 U.S.C. 654 and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. He had stolen from a traveler who was referred for a secondary inspection. While out on bond, Picardi harassed his estranged wife using electronic and other means and engaged a private detective in his efforts, falsely telling the man that he was a customs officer conducting a legitimate investigation. After Picardi was convicted, he enlisted a friend to approach his victim’s adult daughter to persuade her to convince her mother to recant her testimony.
Because Picardi waived any argument regarding the amount of the fine and the adequacy of the explanation of the fine, the Seventh Circuit dismissed his appeal. Picardi and his lawyer knew what was at stake: the maximum under the Guidelines was $40,000, and the probation department recommendation was $100,000. This was not simply an inadvertent failure to object to the imposition of an above-Guidelines fine; it was a calculated, strategic decision, based on a hope that it would work to the client’s benefit on the custody determination.