South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Related Offenses Treated Separately, Not as One Action, for Sentencing Purposes
Description

Appeals court held that criminal offenses that are tied to the same action, but have different consequences, will not be treated as one offense for purposes of sentencing under the sentencing guidelines.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Sentencing Guidelines, Offense Grouping

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Vucko worked in sales and bookkeeping for Northwest Building. Over a period of years, she stole $700,000 from her employer by “refunding” credit charges to her bank account. She did not report that income on her tax returns. She was convicted of wire fraud for the theft and for making false statements in tax returns. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of two years’ imprisonment for each offense and ordered restitution of the stolen money. Vucko appealed, contending the trial court failed to group the charges so they would be considered a single offense.

Decision

Affirmed. Vucko’s actions of stealing money and not reporting the income to the IRS were related, but it would not be appropriate to group these actions as one. The offenses had different victims, caused different harms, and were done at different times through different actions. Hence, they were not closely enough related to justify grouping as a single offense under the sentencing guidelines.

Citation

U.S. v. Vucko, 473 F.3d 773 (7th Cir., 2007)

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