United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN
LIMINE TO PRECLUDE IMPROPER EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT [DOC.
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
United States charged Paul Nicoletti
(“Nicoletti”) in a four-count indictment with
conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aiding and abetting bank
fraud. The United States filed a motion in limine to
preclude Nicoletti from introducing evidence and argument
which: (1) suggests that the victim financial institution
invited or could have prevented the fraud; (2) suggests that
the victim financial institution subjectively did not rely on
his misrepresentations or omissions; and, (3) references the
foreclosure crisis and the Government's actions in
seeking to resolve the crisis.
says that he does not intend to raise the issue of reliance
or refer to the foreclosure crisis at trial. Thus, the only
issue in dispute is the relevancy of evidence or argument
related to Fifth Third Bank's own efforts to prevent
Court GRANTS the Government's motion in limine,
based on the evidence Nicoletti proffers in his Response to
the Government's motion.
is an attorney licensed in the State of Michigan and
President of Continental Title Insurance Agency, Inc. The
United States indicted him on one count of conspiracy to
commit bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 and
three counts of aiding and abetting bank fraud in violation
of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344 & 2.
Indictment alleges Nicoletti willfully conspired with and
aided and abetted others to obtain multi-million dollar
mortgage/construction loans from Fifth Third Bank under
material false and fraudulent pretenses and representations.
Indictment also alleges that as part of the scheme and
conspiracy, Nicoletti and others employed straw buyers to
serve as mortgage loan applicants to purchase and develop
real property. The Government says these straw buyers
supplied false information concerning income and assets, the
sources of down payments for the loans, and their intentions
to use the properties as primary residences.
to the Indictment, Nicoletti's role in the conspiracy was
to knowingly facilitate the fraudulent real estate
transactions by acting as title agent, coordinating and
conducting real estate closings, preparing HUD-1 Settlement
Statements, and disbursing proceeds of the mortgage loans.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
courts have broad discretion over matters involving the
admissibility of evidence at trial. U.S. v. Seago,
930 F.2d 482, 494 (6th Cir.1991). In determining the
admissibility of evidence, the Court must first decide
whether the evidence is relevant. Under the Federal Rules of
Evidence, relevant evidence is that which has “any
tendency to make a fact more probable or less probable than
it would be without the evidence; and the fact is of
consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid.
Fed.R.Evid. 402, all relevant evidence is admissible, unless
a statute or rule provides otherwise. Evidence that is not
relevant is not admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Further,
“the Court may exclude relevant evidence if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger
of…unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading
the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needless presentation
of cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403.