Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Block

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 20, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
William Block, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued April 10, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 08-CR-00900 - Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge.

          Before Bauer, Manion, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.

          MANION, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         In April 2014, William Block completed a 75-month prison term and began a three-year term of supervised release. With a little more than two months left in that term, the Probation Office reported to the district court Block had violated release conditions. Over a year later, the district court conducted a hearing and revoked Block's supervised release, sentencing him to 60 months' imprisonment fol- lowed by two more years of supervised release. Block appeals, claiming the district court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his supervised release. We agree with Block and vacate the district court's judgment.[1]

         I.

         In 2008, a grand jury indicted Block on nine counts of wire fraud relating to an investment scheme he perpetrated from 2002 to 2008. This scheme took many forms, but the basic arrangement was always the same.[2] Block would tell potential investors he had a large amount of money (or in at least one case, gold) coming to him from some outside source (usually somewhere in Africa), and he needed investors to provide large amounts of capital up-front to pay fees and other costs. For example, Block claimed he needed money to pay fees and costs to get $17 million the Liberian government owed him, claimed to need money to pay the fees to bring gold to the United States from an African village, and claimed he needed money to pay fees to obtain a $3O-million-plus bequest in New York. Block promised his investors they would receive large and quick returns.

         Unsurprisingly, Block did not use the money to bring gold from Africa or pay fees to the Liberian government. He spent it on himself, including paying for a chartered plane and cigars. At least 15 people got caught up with Block, losing a total of over $1.6 million.

         In 2013, Block entered an Alford plea to eight counts in the indictment. The district court sentenced him to eight concurrent 75-month terms of imprisonment followed by eight concurrent three-year terms of supervised release. As a special condition of supervised release, the district court ordered Block "shall not solicit money for ANY purpose."

         Block completed his prison term on April 14, 2014, [3] and entered into supervised release. On December 14, 2015, the Probation Office reported to the district court Block had violated the non-solicitation condition. An individual had attempted to wire approximately $41, 000, but the bank, suspecting fraud, did not process the transaction. The FBI interviewed the individual involved, who explained he knew Block's family, believed Block's story about the money, and was in a financial position to take a risk. Given the circumstances, the Probation Office recommended a "hearing of admonishment." The court held that hearing on February 17, 2016. After confirming Block had been reminded of the nonsolicitation condition, the court warned him, "If there is any more solicitation of any type or kind, we won't deal with it as easily."

         The admonishment did not sink in. About a year after the hearing, on February 3, 2017, the Probation Office reported a further violation of the non-solicitation condition and also maintained the conduct constituted a new federal, state, or local crime. In the report, the Probation Office said Block told an individual Block was entitled to $67.5 million from Liberia, but he needed money for fees. Block promised the individual if he invested with Block, Block would donate millions of dollars to the individual's employer, a Christian school in Chicago. At Block's direction, the individual wrote 10 to 14 checks to Block's son. In total, the individual gave Block $125, 900. To make these payments, the individual used personal savings and took out a home-equity line of credit.

         This time, the Probation Office proposed no leniency. The statutory maximum prison term for Block on revocation was 24 months per count. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). The Probation Office recommended that maximum for all eight counts to which Block had pleaded, amounting to an aggregate sentence of 192 months' imprisonment.

         The Probation Office also recognized Block's three-year supervised-release term was set to expire soon, on April 13, 2017. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i), a district court retains jurisdiction to revoke supervised release after the term's expiration only if it issues a warrant or summons before the term expires. To ensure the district court maintained the power to revoke Block's supervised release, the Probation Office recommended the district court issue a summons to Block if it intended to continue the proceedings beyond the expiration date. The probation officer attached a blank summons to her report for that purpose.

         On February 14, 2017, the court issued a minute order stating, "as to William Block, Pursuant to the Special Report dated 2/3/2017 from probation, Status hearing set for 2/28/2017 at 09:00 A.M."

         The district court held that hearing as scheduled. Block, his attorney, an Assistant United States Attorney, and a probation officer (but not the one who prepared the report) were present. At the hearing, the government requested Block be detained pending final resolution of the revocation proceedings. The district court agreed and remanded Block to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.