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United States v. Laverick

decided: July 15, 1965.


Staley, Ganey and Freedman, Circuit Judges.

Author: Ganey

GANEY, Circuit Judge.

This consolidated appeal comes before the Court for review of the conviction of three defendants under Sections 2, 202, 281 and 371 of Title 18, United States Code.*fn1

The parties involved are defendant, William J. Laverick, a former Government employee, in charge of a department at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, whose responsibility it was to certify the technical ability and plant capacity of firms bidding on Signal Corps' contracts and to approve any technical changes in contract specifications. The approval of this department was a prerequisite to receiving an award. Defendant, Harrison F. Tryon, was chief of the Logistics Engineering Division at Fort Monmouth and was a direct subordinate of Laverick's, as well as the custodian of lists containing the specifications of all component parts used in these contracts. Defendant, Malcolm Schaeffer, was a former employee of Laverick's department and later a manufacturer's representative of Consad, Inc., in their attempts to secure contracts with the Government at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, from March through May 26, 1962, when a retainer of $250 per month was cancelled, but nevertheless, Consad continued getting in touch with him thereafter. Consad, Inc., was an electronic components manufacturer which had, at the time of the alleged crime, a series of bids pending before the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Consad, Inc., had experienced great difficulty in obtaining Government contracts because of its inability to convince the Signal Corps of its capacity to manufacture the finished product.

The facts, briefly stated, are as follows:

Robert Snoyer was president of Consad, Inc., and on June 6, 1962, was in New York City when he received a wire from his office in Santa Monica, California, concerning a certain bid his company then had pending at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. In order to obtain the requested information, Snoyer attempted to get in touch with his Santa Monica plant, as well as his Monterey plant in California, but was unable to find anyone at either place who could give him the requisite information. He then called the defendant, Schaeffer, at Fort Monmouth, and told him of the wire he had received, and asked him to check into the matter and see if he could identify the equipment. Schaeffer called back, identifying the equipment, which had an established value of approximately $2,500,000, and Schaeffer indicated that Snoyer would have the same difficulty he had had in the past with the people at Fort Monmouth, and told him that if he hoped to obtain any business, he would need the help of certain people at Fort Monmouth, and that for a fee of 2% of the contract price he could expect to receive all the approvals necessary to obtain the contract. Snoyer told him that he would want to meet the principals involved who could deliver the contract and the approvals. Schaeffer told Snoyer that he would come to New York that next morning and he would introduce him to Laverick who was the one who could be most helpful in securing the contract. Schaeffer came to New York on June 7, 1962, and he and Snoyer drove down to Laverick's home and there Snoyer asked Laverick to confirm Schaeffer's statement that what he told him was true and Laverick replied, indicating Schaeffer, "You do what Muggsy tells you to do and everything will be O.K. * * *" To this, Snoyer answered, "All right." Later, when they were about to leave, Snoyer being somewhat doubtful about the money concerned, since on the way down to Laverick's home Schaeffer had reduced the price from 2% of $2,500,000, or $48,000.00, to $20,000.00 as the amount of the payment, and therefore asked Schaeffer whether Laverick knew about this and was still willing to go through with the deal. Schaeffer thereupon walked apart from Snoyer and whispered something to Laverick which Snoyer testified he could not overhear, but that he heard Laverick's reply, "Yes, you're damn right I will.", and Schaeffer, upon returning to Snoyer, came back and said, "You heard him, so everything is O.K."

Schaeffer then drove Snoyer to Philadelphia, and on the way over, he advised Snoyer to call him the next day and he would tell him what he had to do in California, in order to pass the survey which was necessary for the approval of the contract. Schaeffer and Snoyer also had a discussion on how the tax problem on the money to be paid should be avoided and Schaeffer advised Snoyer that it would be necessary for him to take care of his (Schaeffer's) taxes, inasmuch as Schaeffer insisted that the money was to be paid directly to him and he would make the proper disposition thereof.

From Philadelphia, Snoyer proceeded to Washington, where he confided what had transpired to one Nicodemus, a newspaper reporter, who had been making a study of procurement orders, who told him to contact the F.B.I., which Snoyer did, and, after five hours discussion with the F.B.I., Snoyer left for California, without signing any statement of the conversation which had ensued.

Snoyer called the next day and was told by Schaeffer that he was sending some documents to him which would be very helpful for the company when the survey team came from Fort Monmouth and arrived at Consad's plant. After Snoyer's arrival in California, he was contacted by the F.B.I. of Los Angeles, and he reported to them that he had received a package from Schaeffer which he brought to the Santa Monica office of the F.B.I. and it was found to contain some provisioning lists and item description lists taken from Signal Corps' files. Further testimony showed that these lists were not open to the public, were confidential, and were given to the defendant, Laverick, by the defendant, Tryon, through Tryon's secretary.

After the receipt of these documents by Consad in California, which were sent by Schaeffer and taken to the office of the F.B.I., a series of telephone conversations were had between Schaeffer and Snoyer, which were recorded by the F.B.I., as well as telephone conversations between Snoyer and Laverick and Snoyer and Tryon. These conversations occurred between June 14th and July 11th, and during one such conversation between Schaeffer and Snoyer, Schaeffer advised Snoyer that he should bring East with him between $4,500.00 and $5,000.00 in cash to be paid by Schaeffer to four people at Fort Monmouth. Snoyer, however, wanted to meet the principals to whom the money was to be paid and Schaeffer was unwilling, saying that he would distribute the same. However, Snoyer withdrew $3,000.00 from the bank and came East with Agent Stein of the F.B.I., the money beng identified at the Newark office of the F.B.I., and placed in envelopes, one of which contained an amount of $850.00, the other $750.00. The testimony shows that the F.B.I. gave no instructions to Snoyer other than he was not to give the envelope containing the money to anyone, unless the one receiving it knew it was money, and that there was some basis for the payment of it.

Between June 8th, and June 12th a survey team, under one Mayerson, visited the Consad plant in California, and made a technical ability evaluation to determine whether it could technically produce the equipment upon which it had bid. A report was filed by the survey team, under Mayerson, stating that Consad was not qualified, and Laverick, though he had authority to overrule the report, did not so do. Snoyer, at this time, was unaware of this conduct on Laverick's part. The Contractor Evaluation Board, the highest authority with respect to contracts of this nature, also approved the report. Later, Snoyer, upon learning of the unfavorable report which the survey team had made, was assured on or about June 15th, by Schaeffer that certain of the information of the survey team was in error and told Snoyer, "Well, don't worry about that because Bill will overrule them. Don't concern yourself with it." He also advised Snoyer that there were various details that were wrong with Consad's facilities and that was the reason they could not give technical approval, but Schaeffer again assured Snoyer, "* * * that these people would be overruled."

An F.B.I. Agent, Colby, testified to a telephone conversation between Snoyer and Tryon on June 20th, in which Tryon stated he was familiar with the entire matter and that he would be able to help Consad after the award was made and that he had already helped, to some extent, with Schaeffer. On July 12, 1962, arrangements were made by Schaeffer for Snoyer to have dinner at the Shadow-Brook Restaurant in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, with Tryon and Laverick and other Fort Monmouth personnel. Snoyer testified, however, that at this meeting Laverick assured Snoyer that the Small Business Administration, which had authority to overrule everything which had gone on before, would grant Consad a Certificate of Competency. He, additionally, assured Snoyer that he was helping all he could with Consad, as was Tryon, and when they had secured the contract, he would make it profitable by ordering spare parts. Snoyer testified that out of the presence of the other persons, he showed Schaeffer the cash he had brought by exhibiting the envelopes containing the cash to him. Schaeffer, likewise, knew at this meeting that the survey team had reported that Consad was technically unqualified to perform the work under their bid. Later in the evening at the Shadow-Brook Restaurant, when Snoyer visited the men's room with Laverick, upon leaving he handed one of the envelopes to Laverick which contained the cash and asked him if he thought he deserved it and Laverick said, "Yes." Later, Snoyer took the defendant, Tryon, aside in the bar, showed him the envelope with the money in it and asked him if he thought he deserved it and he answered, "Yes." Snoyer then gave the envelope to him and Tryon folded it and put it in his pocket. Immediately upon defendants leaving the restaurant, they were arrested which, as has been indicated, was on July 12, 1962.

This evidence was presented to the jury, the defendants moved for judgments of acquittal after the Government's case and also after their own case had been presented and both of these motions were denied. After summation of counsel, the case was submitted to the jury which rendered a verdict for the Government and against all three defendants. A motion for a new trial was denied on February 26, 1964, and this appeal followed.

The first reason advanced by the defendants for the new trial is that the charge of the court on entrapment was improper because (1) it did not make any reference as to whether or not there was any "predisposition" on the part of the defendants to commit the crime charged; (2) that the charge of the court with respect to Snoyer being a Government agent was insufficient, and, finally, that the ...

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