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United States v. Salutric

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 8, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
STEVEN SALUTRIC, Defendant-Appellant

Submitted November 5, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 CR 916--John W. Darrah, Judge.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Tyler C. Murray, Attorney, Office of The United States Attorney, Chicago, IL.

For Steven W. Salutric, Defendant - Appellant: Elisabeth R. Pollock, Attorney, John C. Taylor, Attorney, Office of The Federal Public Defender, Urbana, IL.

Before BAUER, ROVNER, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 949

ROVNER, Circuit Judge.

Steven Salutric pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and was ordered to serve a below-Guidelines sentence of 96 months. In this appeal, Salutric contends that the district court committed procedural error at sentencing when it took into consideration two victim impact statements submitted by an individual and organization who were not victims of the charged offense. We conclude that the district court did not plainly err in considering these statements and therefore affirm the sentence.

I.

Salutric was an investment adviser whose firm, Results One Financial, LLC (" Results One" ), had more than 1,000 clients and managed approximately $160 million in assets. Salutric himself had approximately 100 clients, most of them individuals and small businesses. Charles Schwab & Co. (" Schwab" ) served as custodian of the client assets managed by Results One.

From approximately December 2002 through January 2010, Salutric defrauded a number of his clients by covertly diverting assets from their accounts at Schwab and placing them in unapproved, high-risk investments. These included restaurants, car dealerships, real estate developments, and an entertainment investment company. Salutric had an interest in some of these investments; others were enterprises in which his personal associates had a stake. Salutric's clients were wholly unaware that their funds were being invested in these ventures; they believed that their money was placed in low-risk mutual funds and bonds.

Salutric represented via falsified paperwork--including forged signatures--that he had his clients' permission to make the withdrawals from the accounts at Schwab. In some instances, he transferred funds among client accounts at Schwab in order to conceal the diversion of assets; he also used a corporate bank account to provide cover for some of the transfers.

Not surprisingly, the diversion of assets resulted in substantial losses to the clients involved, among them six individuals and retirement plans covering some 72 employees employed by three small businesses. The losses to these victims totaled $3,898,818.

After the scheme came to light, Salutric pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with committing wire fraud. Prior to sentencing, the probation officer received three victim impact statements regarding Salutric's misdeeds. One of the statements was written by the daughter of someone who was a named victim of the scheme to which Salutric had pleaded guilty. The other two--one written by Joyce Vassil and the other by a past president of the Carol Stream, Illinois Rotary Club which had invested funds with Salutric--were not written by or submitted on behalf of named victims of the charged offense. Both statements described wrongdoing by Salutric similar to that suffered by the victims of the charged wire fraud offense. Vassil's statement did not fully describe Salutric's alleged wrongdoing. The statement indicated that Salutric had served as a bookkeeper and financial advisor to herself and her restaurateur husband for eighteen years; ...


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