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Water Filter Fraud- "Other Bad Acts"???

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March 27, 2007, 07:48
Drew Gibbs
Water Filter Fraud- "Other Bad Acts"???
Our office is currently prosecuting some deceptive business cases that involve a company selling expensive water filters to mexican immigrants by telling them that the tap water in their homes is contaminated. I imagine some of y'all have seen these cases. My understanding is that it is fairly widespread. Even the bank that finances the deal appears to be crooked.

Anyway, trying the case will raise an issue I've never dealt w/ that I'm sure many of you have. Our county has three defendants, 2 of which are on the lam, and 1 who is set for trial soon. All the defendants conned their victims in precisely the same manner under the supervision and training of the same company, but each worked their deals on their own. B/t the 3 defendants, I have roughly 10 victims. Where the issue arises is that I would like to have all the victims testify at trial, even though the defendant on trial has no involvment w/ at least 7 of these victims. They're only relevant b/c they show that the defendant was involved in a larger scheme. They're particularly useful b/c they'll help the jury understand that this isn't just an issue of a couple of customers w/ buyer's remorse or who took some sales puffery a little too much to heart.

I've already responded to the defense's 404(b) notice by indicating my intent to introduce evidence of these other cases, despite the fact that I know this is not the type of information 404(b) actually refers to. I'm just trying to cover my bases and I'm not aware of anything in the TRE that actually deals w/ this type of evidence.

Any ideas? Will I be able to get this in?

[This message was edited by Drew Gibbs on 03-27-07 at .]
March 27, 2007, 12:07
Rebecca Gibson

After our conversation, I definately think you were right to give it a 404(b) classification. The company aspect, with two seperate individuals trained in the same type of deception (as your defendant), preying on unsophisticated individuals shows a common scheme or plan to defraud, and will rebut any 'mistake' or 'accidental' defense.

March 27, 2007, 13:42
Drew Gibbs
Thanks for your call Rebecca. It's great to have such a helpful community of fellow prosecutors.