Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 84 CR 430-Thomas R. McMillen, Judge.
Before POSNER, FLAUM, and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges.
FLAUM, Circuit Judge. The defendants Benito Silva and Carl (a/k/a Bill) Barker, were convicted of six counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. Silva and Barker appeal that conviction because of an alleged insufficiency of evidence and an alleged abrogation of their right of confrontation. We affirm.
In May 1984, an indictment was returned by a grand jury charging appellants Silva and Barker, as well as Paul Baker, with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. The mail fraud scheme charged in the indictment alleged that the defendants arranged the dismantling of Silva's motor home and made false statements to Silva's insurance carrier in order to obtain the insurance proceeds. Paul Baker pleaded guilty before trial.
The evidence demonstrated that in the fall of 1981, Paul Baker recruited James Galvin to help dismantle a motor home. Galvin agreed and Baker then telephoned someone he identified as "Bill." Baker told "Bill" that he had found someone to assist in dismantling the camper. What Galvin did not tell Baker was that he was in an FBI informant.
Galvin, however, told the FBI, and then the jury at trial, that two days after this first meeting he and Baker drove to a farmhouse in Bloomingdale, Illinois where Baker showed Galvin a Pace Arrow Motor Home. Galvin and Baker began the process of stripping the motor home after Baker told Galvin that the job had to be completed within two weeks because the owner planned to report it stolen. Baker told Galvin that the owner was tired of paying for the vehicle, and that he had a $25,000 insurance policy on it.
For ten days Baker and Galvin dismantled the motor home. Every evening Galvin took pieces of the vehicle to his home where they were photographed by the FBI. Among the items removed and turned over to the FBI was the Vehicle Identification Number ("VIN") tag. The VIN tag showed that the motor home was registered to Benito Silva. Surveillance on November 4th and 5th by the FBI showed that the motor home was in a barn at the farm in Bloomingdale. Surveillance on November 8, 1981 showed that three men were inside the barn with cutting tools dismantling the motor home.
On November 5, 1981 Baker made a telephone call to someone he called "Bill" after Galvin told him that the vehicle was almost completely dismantled. Baker told "Bill" to tell the owner of the motor home that "they were almost done so he can go ahead and report it stolen." Benito Silva reported to the the police that the vehicle had been stoled on November 9, 1981. In a statement to the insurer of the vehicle, Silva said that he had parked the vehicle at Carl Barker's house on November 9, 1981 and that it was gone the next day. Silva later stated that he and Barker drove around Chicago in the motor home on November 8, 1981 and that in the afternoon of November 9, 1981 they parked the vehicle in front of Barker's house because Barker was going to use it the next day. Barker substantiated Silva's statement and said that when he went outside the next morning he discovered the theft and notified Silva. Silva mailed a $23,000 claim for the loss of the vehicle to his insurance company on November 10, 1981. Silva and his insurance company corresponded through the mails for the next four months.
Sherry Baker, who was Paul Baker's sister-in-law, helped Baker and Galvin dismantle the motor home. She also later became an FBI informant and testified that on November 10, 1981 she drove with Paul Baker to a body shop where he told her "he was going to see a man named Bill, the guy he got the camper from." Inside the body shop, Sherry was introduced to "Bill" who she later identified as Carl Barker.
After being convicted of six counts of mail fraud, Benito Silva received a sentence of one year and a day for Counts 1-3, three years probation for Counts 4-6, and a $3,000 fine. Carl ("Bill") Barker received two years for Counts 1-3, three years probation for Counts 4-6, and a $3,000 fine.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
Viewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the government we hold that there is substantial evidence to support the guilty findings and thus affirm the convictions. Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 86 L. Ed. 680, 62 S. Ct. 457 (1942); United States v. Redwine, 715 F.2d 315, 319 (7th Cir. 1983). The appellant who argued an evidentiary sufficiency challenge bears a "heavy burden" to show that the record contains no evidence from which a ...