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United States v. Tadros

November 15, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
NAZIH TADROS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 01 CR 349--James F. Holderman, Judge.

Before Bauer, Rovner, and Williams, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rovner, Circuit Judge

ARGUED SEPTEMBER 26, 2002

A jury found Nazih Tadros guilty of mail fraud and wire fraud for engaging in a scheme to defraud several insurance companies by submitting false information to them about a purported disability and his ability to work. The defendant claims that the government failed to disclose information in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), that the government failed to prove the elements of the fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the indictment was returned after the relevant statute of limitations had expired. We affirm.

I.

Over the course of several years, Tadros submitted applications for insurance policies with four different insurance companies and applied for benefits under the terms of those policies. The government indicted Tadros alleging that he used mail and wire services to knowingly supply false information both in the applications for insurance coverage and for benefits under those policies in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, and 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1).

The fraudulent scheme was fueled by an April 5, 1993 car accident in which Tadros was rear-ended by another vehicle. The reporting police officer did not note any physical injuries to either party and recorded the physical condition of both parties as normal. Tadros sought treatment for neck and back pain the following day at a local emergency room. An x-ray of his neck and back revealed some arthritis and an old compression fracture, but nothing more. After an uneventful visit, Tadros was released with a prescription for a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant.

The crux of the government's allegation is as follows: in an effort to collect money from various insurance agencies which insured the defendant, Tadros fraudulently represented that the injuries he sustained in the August 1993 car accident were greater than they actually were, that these and other health problems prohibited him from working, and that his occupation required physical labor that he could not perform. The government contended that Tadros transmitted this fraudulent information by mail and wire in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343. Because the defendant claims that the jury's verdict was not supported by the evidence, below we review the relevant evidence elicited at the trial.

The evidence produced at trial indicated that Tadros was the owner and president of "Super Jet," a small Chicago grocery store. The fraud scheme had a recurring pattern:

when Tadros applied for insurance coverage he claimed he was the owner or manager of a grocery store who performed no manual labor. When applying for benefits under the policies, Tadros claimed he was a laborer in a grocery store-stocking shelves, unloading trucks, maintaining machinery, and working behind the meat counter. Tadros' employees testified that Tadros was the owner and boss who did the paper work in the store and did not perform manual labor. In addition, none of the testifying employees recalled that Tadros had missed work for any extended period of time other than for an occasional vacation.

The scheme to defraud involved four insurance companies: Mutual Trust Life Insurance Company ("Mutual Trust"), Fireman's Fund Insurance Company (Fireman's), New York Life Insurance Company ("New York Life"), and Prudential Insurance and Financial Services ("Prudential"). In November 1990, Tadros completed an application with Mutual Trust for a disability insurance policy describing his work duties as "office, traveling . . . no labor." (Tr. 383). Shortly thereafter, Mutual issued him a disability policy.

On August 6, 1993, Tadros filed a claim with Mutual for total disability benefits, stating that he had sustained neck and back injuries and a concussion in a car accident. On the disability form he described his job title as that of a clerk or store maintenance worker. He alleged both on the claim form and in an interview with a Mutual employee that his duties included manual labor such as unloading merchandise, building displays, and stocking shelves, and that he had not been able to return to work since the accident.

Although it refused to accept liability, in December 1993, Mutual Trust made a partial payment to Tadros while it continued to investigate his claim. After negotiating with his attorney, Mutual Trust subsequently settled the remainder of his claim in May, 1994, for $94,050.

Around the same time that Tadros submitted his disability claim to Mutual, he also filed a Worker's Compensation claim against Super Jet with the Illinois Industrial Commission. Fireman's insured Super Jet against work-related injury claims and Tadros claimed that he had been injured while on a work-related errand. *fn1 Fireman's required that Tadros see three different independent medical examiners regarding his claim of total disability. Each of the doctors came to varying conclusions about the condition of Tadros' back, neck, and shoulders, but all ...


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