Case Caption: John J. Gumbs v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2010-0034Date: 09/20/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

The defendant's convictions for violating the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 14 V.I.C. § 600 et seq. (“CICO”) and obtaining money by false pretenses, are affirmed. To sustain a conviction under CICO, the People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed at least one felony, and the People met their burden in this case with proof of embezzlement or obtaining money by false pretenses constituting a pattern of criminal activity. There was overwhelming evidence that, on multiple occasions, he collected monies greatly in excess of $100 and never transmitted the funds to the insurance companies involved, more than sufficient evidence to establish a pattern of criminal activity under CICO. While the requirement of 5 V.I.C. § 3636 that in cases charging larceny, embezzlement, or obtaining by false pretenses, the jury, on conviction, shall ascertain and declare in the verdict the value of the property was not met in this case, this does not affect a defendant's substantial rights if the evidence at trial establishes that the value of the stolen property exceeds the amount set forth in the pertinent statute and the judge properly instructs the jury on the elements of the charged offenses. Here, the overwhelming, uncontradicted evidence in the record-none of which the defendant even attempted to dispute-established that the amount of funds he falsely obtained greatly exceeded $100, and the Superior Court correctly instructed the jury that, to convict him of obtaining money by false pretenses, it must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the funds exceeded $100. Accordingly, the jury's failure to declare the value of the money falsely obtained did not affect the defendant's substantial rights, and therefore does not warrant reversal. The June 15, 2010 Judgment and Commitment is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion