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United States v. Manarite

filed: January 6, 1995.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
SAMUEL MANARITE AND JEANNE MANARITE, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. D.C. Nos. CR-92-00296-1-LDG CR-92-00296-2-LDG. Ronald S. W. Lew, District Judge, Presiding. Original Opinion Previously Reported at:,.

Before: Joseph T. Sneed, Harry Pregerson, and Charles Wiggins, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Sneed.

Author: Sneed

Order AND AMENDED OPINION

SNEED, Circuit Judge:

Samuel and Jeanne Manarite appeal their convictions for conspiracy, money laundering, and interstate transportation and receipt of stolen property.*fn1 They contend that the trial court erred in (1) denying their motions for judgment of acquittal, (2) refusing to instruct the jury on entrapment, (3) denying Jeanne Manarite's motion to sever, (4) admitting evidence of Samuel Manarite's parole status, and (5) assessing their sentences. We reverse the Manarites' conspiracy convictions, vacate their sentences, and remand the case for resentencing.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

This case involves three criminal schemes that developed as a result of a sting operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Las Vegas, Nevada, viz., a casino chip-cashing scheme, a casino credit scam, and the burglary of a fictitious drug dealer's boat.

Under the FBI's direction, an informant, Richard McLaughlin, set out to "get close" to Samuel Manarite. Manarite had an extensive criminal record and was reputed to have ties to the Mafia. They first met in December 1991, when McLaughlin approached Manarite to sell him some jewelry. Though Manarite had intermittent suspicions that McLaughlin was a cop, the two became acquaintances.

Manarite suggested that they could "earn some money together." McLaughlin told Manarite that he had a contact at the Maxim casino, "Bill Peterson," who was in fact FBI Special Agent William Matthews. Over the next few weeks, McLaughlin and Manarite discussed possible ways to make money at the casino, in the course of which McLaughlin often wore a wire.

A. The Chip-Cashing Scheme

The first result of these meetings was a chip-cashing scheme, which unfolded in this manner. Sometime during March 1992, McLaughlin met with Manarite and his wife, Jeanne. McLaughlin told them that "Peterson" had a dealer who was skimming casino chips off the blackjack tables and needed someone to cash them. The Manarites proposed various ways to cash the chips; Jeanne suggested taking them to the cage in small amounts. Eventually, it was agreed that the Manarites and McLaughlin would cash the chips. During March and April, $17,925 worth of casino chips were cashed. Jeanne and their son, Robert, did much of the work because Samuel was on parole, and Jeanne didn't want to "risk" him. At the end of April, "Peterson" told Samuel Manarite that the dealer had become nervous and had stopped skimming chips.

B. The Credit Scam

The sting operation now entered its second phase. In May, "Peterson" and McLaughlin met with the Manarites to devise a credit scam. On May 16, as planned, Sandra Bonham, a friend of Robert Manarite, used a fake driver's license and filed a false credit application at the Maxim casino. "Peterson" approved $5,000 credit to Bonham up front. The scam was carried out on a Saturday, to prevent the casino from processing the application until Monday. Bonham took the money in chips, gambled awhile to avoid ...


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