Thursday, May 11, 2017

U.S. v. Brugnara (9th Cir. - May 11, 2017)

Mail fraud and wire fraud are bad enough.  But then, while you're defending yourself, to add escape and multiple contempt citations to your charge count?  Seems like adding fuel to the fire.

At least it makes things interesting.

Not that the trial wasn't interesting enough already.  This is not another bank robbery or Ponzi scheme or what have you.  It's rather it's own kind of fraud.  As Judge Wallace explains:

"The events of this case trace back to March 2014, when Luke Brugnara, a former San Francisco real estate tycoon with a fondness for high-end art, agreed to purchase several million dollars’ worth of paintings and other works from art dealer Rose Long for display in his museum. There were two problems: Brugnara had neither the means to pay for the works nor a museum in which to place them."

Uh, yeah.  Those are problems, all right.

Lots of other neat details in the opinion about the underlying fraud.  The trial was also a hoot.  Mr. Brugnara was out of control as he defended himself at trial.  But, ironically, he had a fellow traveler in one of the jurors, who seemed -- before he was dismissed -- to believe the exact sorts of things that Mr. Burgnara believed.  Complete with dueling references to Nazis, etc.

Check it out.