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United States v. Moeser

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 10, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
AARON MOESER, Defendant-Appellant

Argued: April 14, 2014.

Page 794

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 11-CR-127 -- Rudolph T. Randa, Judge.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Carol L. Kraft, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Milwaukee, WI.

For AARON MOESER, Defendant - Appellant: Jeremy Price Levinson, Attorney, HALLING & CAYO, S.C., Milwaukee, WI.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and POSNER and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 795

Flaum, Circuit Judge.

Aaron Moeser was a loan officer at a bank who, by making material misrepresentations to his employer, enabled an unscrupulous real-estate developer and his associates to obtain a loan the developer couldn't re-pay. As a result, Moeser joined his co-defendants in pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Moeser now challenges the district court's decision ordering him jointly and severally liable for the full amount of restitution owed to the conspiracy's victims. In the alternative, Moeser argues that the court abused its discretion by not apportioning the restitution obligation and giving him a smaller share based on his lesser role and his financial circumstances. We find no merit in either argument, and affirm the court's order.

I. Background

Moeser was a commercial loan officer at State Financial Bank in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In September 2004, Moeser prepared a credit approval presentation on behalf of co-conspirator Michael Woyan for Woyan to obtain a $790,000 construction loan from State Financial. Woyan was the head of the People's Action Redevelopment Coalition (PARC), a real-estate developer that planned to build five townhouses at South 5th Place and West Arthur Avenue in Milwaukee (" the 5th and Arthur project" ). (There were three other conspirators besides Moeser and Woyan: the project's manager, Joseph Bowles; the architect, Roderick Taylor; and a real estate agent, Leopoldo Balderas. The details of their involvement in the scheme are not important to Moeser's appeal.) Moeser represented to his superiors at the bank that the pro-ject's real estate would serve as the construction loan's collateral. He also represented that PARC would be providing the land up front and would thus have a significant equity interest in the project. Senior bank officials preliminarily approved the loan.

Before closing, however, Moeser learned that Woyan did not, in fact, own the land that PARC needed for the project, and moreover, that Woyan did not have the financial means to purchase it. Rather than informing his superiors at State Financial that the representations in PARC's application were incorrect, Moeser saw an opportunity. He agreed to lend Woyan the $30,500 that PARC needed to purchase the land, on the understanding that Woyan would pay Moeser back--plus $15,000 in interest--using funds from the construction loan's initial disbursement. Moeser did not disclose to his superiors that the funds for PARC's purchase of the land came from his own pocket, nor the fact that his personal loan was to be repaid with the construction loan. And bank officials told federal investigators that they would not have approved PARC's loan if they had known of this arrangement. But they didn't know, so the loan went through

Page 796

and Moeser got his $45,500 from the initial ...


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