June 05, 2016 Practice Points

Summaries of Western Union and Moneygram Records Properly Admitted

Additional sources of corroboration can cure the hearsay problem that a third party’s involvement in creating a business record introduces

by Michael R. Lied

Frederick Coleman, Jerry Brown, Darrion Capers, and Nicholas Clark were convicted of drug offenses after a jury trial. United States of America v. Brown, et al., ____ F.3d ____, 2016 WL 2789425. 

The government’s theory was that Coleman and Brown obtained the cocaine in Chicago, cooked it into crack with the help of the runners at different locations in Kewanee, Illinois, and Chicago, and had members of the conspiracy transport the drugs from Chicago to Kewanee. The conspiracy sometimes sought assistance from customers and sometimes compensated those customers with crack. The conspiracy’s members used Western Union and MoneyGram to circulate money among sellers, purchasers, and wholesalers, often handing cash to family members, friends, or customers and directing that they conduct a transfer. The government had obtained through subpoenas the records of the two companies showing wire transfer transactions between the defendants and others allegedly involved in the conspiracy. 

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