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United States v. Liberatore

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 25, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROBERT A. LIBERATORE, MARK S. GIRARDIN, JOSEPH EVANGELISTA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO SEVER

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         BURROUGHS, D.J.

         Defendants Evangelista, Girardin, and Liberatore were indicted for an alleged conspiracy to transport stolen razor blades in interstate commerce. Additionally, Girardin and Liberatore were indicted for interstate transportation of stolen razor blades and filing false tax returns. Currently pending before the Court are two motions to sever. For the reasons set forth below, the motions to sever are denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are drawn from the indictment [ECF No. 27].

         The indictment alleges that Defendant Evangelista, while working for Gillette, stole razor blades from his employer and delivered them to Defendants Girardin and Liberatore. Girardin and Liberatore then allegedly sold the razor blades online through a business entity known as “Cambridge Dedicated Services.” They sold the razor blades to customers outside of Massachusetts, received payment via PayPal, and then used the United States Postal Service to ship the razor blades to the out-of-state customers.

         Girardin and Liberatore allegedly sold a total of $208, 944.10 worth of stolen razor blades to customers outside of Massachusetts. Cambridge Dedicated Services also sold other items through eBay, in addition to the Gillette razor blades, generating gross receipts of approximately $725, 000 in 2010, and approximately $369, 000 in 2011.

         In addition to the charges related to the transportation of stolen razor blades, the indictment claims that Girardin and Liberatore each filed individual tax returns in 2010 and 2011 which did not include any information about Cambridge Dedicated Services. Girardin and Liberatore were required to report to the IRS any profit or loss from each of their businesses, including their share of Cambridge Dedicated Services' gross receipts.

         On April 12, 2017, Girardin filed a motion to sever the charges involving transporting stolen razor blades from the charges concerning false tax filings [ECF No. 56], which Liberatore joined [ECF No. 59]. On April 18, 2017, Evangelista filed a motion to sever his trial from that of Girardin and Liberatore. [ECF No. 60]. The Government opposes both motions. [ECF Nos. 63, 64].

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Girardin's and Liberatore's Motion to Sever Tax Charges

         Girardin and Liberatore argue that the charges concerning allegedly false tax returns were not properly joined with the charges concerning transporting stolen razor blades, and thus the tax-related charges must be severed. Joinder of offenses is governed by Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(a), which provides:

The indictment or information may charge a defendant in separate counts with 2 or more offenses if the offenses charged-whether felonies or misdemeanors or both-are of the same or similar character, or are based on the same act or transaction, or are connected with or constitute parts of a common scheme or plan.

Id. “Rule 8(a)'s joinder provision is generously construed in favor of joinder, ” United States v. Randazzo, 80 F.3d 623, 627 (1st Cir. 1996), and “obvious considerations of judicial economy support trying all related counts against the same defendant at one time, ” United States v. Alosa, 14 F.3d 693, 695 (1st Cir. 1994). Rule 8(a) permits joinder of multiple offenses in one of three situations; if the offenses are (1) “of the same or similar character, ” (2) “based on the same act or transaction, ” or (3) ...


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