In US v. Mardirosian, No. 09-1144, the First Circuit faced a challenge to a conviction for possessing, concealing or storing six stolen paintings, including a rare Cezanne valued at $29 million. In affirming the conviction, the court rejected defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence to convict as the owner had given him legal title to the paintings in a 1999 agreement. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that the 1999 Agreement had no bearing on the "stolen" character of the paintings as the agreement was void ab initio as a contract for an illegal purpose. Furthermore, the jury's finding that the Agreement did not provide defendant with viable mens rea defense is affirmed and the district court did not clearly err in the use of Cezanne's 1999 auction price in its calculation of loss.
US v. Cintron-Echautegui, No. 08-1800, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 292-month sentence upon a defendant for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. In concluding that the district court did not clearly err in making its drug quantity determination, the court affirmed defendant's sentence.