Friday, March 27, 2015

I WANT A NEW TRIAL! Roy Bradley Files "Me, Too!" Motion; Seeking "Judgment of Acquittal" or New Trial

You can say this about Roy Bradley—"Little Buddy" to Steven Ingersoll's "Skipper"—he's not original.

Just like Ingersoll's lawyer Martin Crandall did, Bradley's criminal defense attorney, Mark A. Satawa, filed a motion on March 24 seeking either an order for judgment of acquittal, or an order for a new trial. 

In the motion, Bradley states that he "joins Ingersoll’s argument with regard to the void for vagueness issues concerning the tax law".  

Vagueness and tax law?

Now that you mention "vagueness", there's a wonderful nugget buried in the 15-page document: by not deducting the Bay City Academy-related labor costs as expenses (you know, the costs he paid in cash, off the books and without contributing the requisite Social Security), Roy Bradley actually overpaid his taxes!

Or so his attorney says.

Let's take a look at the key points in Bradley's motion:

1) Based on the compounding of several errors at trial as to Count 2, the interests of justice require this Court to vacate the conviction against Roy Bradley, enter a verdict of acquittal, or in the alternative, order a new trial.

2) The indictment did not give Roy Bradley adequate notice of what he needed to defend against at trial. This was compounded by violations of the government’s most basic discovery obligations, and resulted in trial by ambush. ("Trial by ambush"? Yes, it really says that!)

TRIAL...AND ERRORS: Did Roy Bradley intentionally file a false tax return with underreported income?

The jury said yes, but Satawa states that the government’s theory as to Count 2 was based on two main factors. First, Bradley allegedly under-reported his income to Uncle Sugar, resulting in a tax of $590,000, and a tax deficit of approximately $300,000. Second, Roy Bradley paid workers in cash, and did not issue W2’s or 1099’s, as required by law. 

Satawa claims, with respect to the first factor, the government’s proofs failed to establish sufficient evidence that Roy Bradley intentionally filed a false tax return with under-reported income. 

In addition, the government also alleged that Steven  Ingersoll failed to recognize $934,000 as taxable income. But Bradley asserts that, based on the evidence introduced at trial, that $934,000 is not taxable to him, any more than it was taxable to Steven "Skipper" Ingersoll. 

Stating that there's a "lack of evidence as to why Mr. Bradley’s revenue should have included this disputed $934,000, or in the alternative why his gross receipts should have been reduced by $934,000."

At trial, the government presented testimony and evidence regarding the alleged under reporting of federal income tax, returns filed by Roy Bradley and inaccurate revenue and deductions. Satawa indicates the government's evidence was offered almost entirely through IRS Revenue Agent Michael Wisniewski.

Wisniewski testified that Steven Ingersoll sent $3,029,000 to Roy Bradley–which was the figure Wiseiewski used as revenue for Roy Bradley and/or Thunder Builders. The evidence at trial related to the disputed $934,000 – or at least $904,000 of it – was that Roy Bradley sent back to Ingersoll $934,000, almost immediately upon its receipt. 

(What...is there a "five-second" rule governing financial hide-the-salami that I should be aware of?)

Satawa asserts that "not only can this not be defined as a taxable event to Roy Bradley, there was no evidence introduced at trial even suggesting that Roy Bradley knew anything" about Steven Ingersoll’s reporting of his income tax in 2011.

Wisniewski explained during the trial that he recalculated the Bradley’s 2011 tax liability, arriving at a government version of the alleged tax liability. Wisniewski reviewed the Bradley’s bank records, focusing on payments made to Thunder Builders and/or Roy Bradley from Steve Ingersoll and/or his companies.

Wisniewski testified that he calculated gross receipts for Thunder Builders and/or Roy Bradley by counting all deposits from Steve Ingersoll and/or his companies. For expenses, Wisniewski testified that he relied upon Government Exhibit 124, the Thunder Builders Vendor Summary, as a starting point, and that he made two corrections to that summary to correct what he described as double payments. 

Wisniewski testified that based on his calculations, the Bradleys had a tax deficiency of approximately $300,000. 

But Satawa asserts that in order to reach a revenue figure of over $3,000,000, income of almost $2,000,000, a tax due of approximately $590,000, and a tax deficit of approximately $300,000, Wisniewski's calculation relied on “facts” or assumptions that were unfounded.

First, that the $934,000 that passed from Steven Ingersoll to Roy Bradley, and then from Roy Bradley back to Ingersoll a few days later, is taxable to Roy Bradley. Satawa points out that "this alone represents approximately $300,000 in unreported and unpaid taxes to the Government."  Satawa claims the government "presented no evidence to support this conclusion."

Satawa asserts that the summary of Thunder Builders’ expenses, presented by the government during the trial, were in fact "under-reported." 

Underreported...overreported! Who can keep this stuff straight?

And finally, Agent Wisnieski acknowledged that his calculations did not give Roy Bradley credit as an expense any of the cash labor he paid to workers. As to the allegation that Mr. Bradley was convicted of Count 2 because he paid his workers in cash, Satawa says there are two separate and independent issues with these allegations. 

Here's one of them: with respect to IRS Forms 1099/W-2s, Satawa claims that "Agent Wisniewski’s calculations confirm that the US Treasury actually benefitted from Roy Bradley not taking a deduction for labor paid in cash." 

Yes, by not deducting the roughly $6.00 an hour he paid his employees, Bradley actually did Uncle Sugar a solid!


Citing his testimony at trial, Satawa says Agent Wisniewski calculated "approximately $270,000 as the amount of cash labor paid to employees by Mr. Bradley." 

Despite that, Wisnieski admitted that he did not give Mr. Bradley any deduction for any labor expense – resulting in Mr. Bradley over-reporting his income by almost $300,000, and therefore over reporting his taxes by about $100,000. (Ah, yes...but did Bradley actually pay his taxes?)

I can't decide—is this legal turd-polishing or just your average, everyday douchebaggery?

TRIAL BY AMBUSH: Did Roy Bradley have adequate notice of what he needed to defend against at trial?

When IRS Revenue Agent Wisniewski testified at trial, he stated that he relied upon Government Exhibit 124, the Thunder Builders Vendor Summary, as a starting point, and that he made two corrections to that summary to correct what he described as double payments. Wisniewski testified that based on his calculations, the Bradleys had a tax deficiency of approximately $300,000.

During his testimony, Wisniewski and the government referenced a document that he had prepared summarizing income and/or expense figures attributed to Roy Bradley for the 2011 tax year.

Satawa asserts that neither the government’s proposed “amended” 2011 tax return, nor the income and expense summary document(s) on which it is based upon, were ever provided to the defense team in discovery.  

In addition, Satawa claims that the "Second Superseding Indictment alleged the overt acts relating to Mr. Bradley to be payment of construction workers employed in cash and failure to report wages paid to workers to the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration."

Continuing, Satawa claims that "never once was underreporting income alleged as an overt act relating to Roy Bradley in the Second Superseding Indictment, or was it argued to the objective of the alleged conspiracy." 

Satawa says Roy Bradley prepared for trial, and fashioned his defense on what the attorney claims was the government’s "repeated notice" with regard to Bradley's involvement in Count 2-Conspiracy to defraud the Government. 

However, Satawa claims that Agent Wisniewski’s testimony on February 27, 2015 was the "first suggestion by the government that Roy Bradley’s involvement in Count 2 included the filing of his own 2011 tax return, or that extended his involvement extended beyond paying the workers in cash in any way."

While the government's response to the Bradley and Ingersoll motions has not been made public, U. S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington has scheduled a motion hearing for May 6 at 3:00pm.

Stay tuned...

Although it appears that he's not yet in federal custody, Bradley's now in the Federal Inmate Locator database. Bradley was found guilty by a jury on December 2, 2014 of four felony charges related to the illegal removal of material containing asbestos at what is now the Bay City Academy.

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