United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Vahan Kelerchian was tried before a Jury on criminal
allegations set out in a nine-count indictment. The charges
were as follows:
• Count 1: Conspiracy to make false statements to a
federal firearms licensee; . Count 2: Conspiracy to defraud
the FDA of its regulatory function regarding restricted laser
• Count 3: Conspiracy to make false statements in
• Counts 4-7: Making of the false statements in
• Count 8: Bribery; and
• Count 9: Conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Jury found Kelerchian guilty of all counts except Count 8. As
to Count 9, the Court took under advisement Kelerchian's
motion for acquittal. Following the trial, and after some
extensions of deadlines, the parties submitted briefs
regarding their positions.
claims three grounds for acquittal: (1) the government did
not present evidence of concealment or disguise as required
by 18 U.S.C. § 1956; (2) there was no evidence that
Kelerchian received any proceeds of unlawful activity as
required by United States v. Santos, 553 U.S. 507
(2008); and (3) the facts regarding the underlying wire fraud
charge and the facts regarding the money laundering
allegations have been merged into one offense. Kelerchian
also submits that Count 9 is confusing and vague, compounding
the legal problems identified in his brief.
motion for judgment of acquittal should be granted only if
there is insufficient evidence to sustain the jury's
finding.” United States v. O'Hara, 301
F.3d 563, 569 (7th Cir. 2002). Of course, the
evidence has to be viewed in the light most favorable to the
government and the conviction may be overturned only
“if the record contains no evidence on which a rational
jury could have returned a guilty verdict.”
Id. at 569--570.
stresses that Count 9 is “written in a convoluted and
vexing manner.” The plain-English advocates would have
no problem agreeing but convoluted and vexing verbiage in an
indictment does not by itself nullify a criminal charge. If a
count states the elements of the crime, informs the defendant
of the nature of the charge, and enables him to plead the
judgment as a bar against future prosecutions for the same
offense, the charge is legally sufficient. United States
v. Agostino, 132 F.3d 1183, 1189 (7th Cir.
1997). Here, Count 9 falls within these parameters, even
though one may have to draw a diagram to figure it out. But
then again, the convoluted language of the statutes upon
which the count is based may be the wellspring of the
insofar as Kelerchian may now be challenging the phrasing of
Count 9, the challenge is belated. Under Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(B), motions challenging an
indictment must come before trial. In any case, the
government's filing of ...