Submitted: September 22, 2017
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis
COLLOTON, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, Circuit Judge.
found Robert S. Beyer, II guilty of wire fraud in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and unlawful monetary transaction in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. The district
court sentenced him to 97 months'
imprisonment. He appeals the conviction and sentence. Having
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.
sold insurance and securities for several companies. In 2011,
he formed Heroic Life Assurance Company. He described HLA as
a start-up life insurance company. Beyer asked at least four
of his pre-HLA clients to invest with HLA. He assured them
that their money would be kept safe, promising two of them a
guaranteed rate of return.
investors gave HLA over $330, 000. Beyer spent much of their
money for his personal benefit. Beyer repaid one investor,
using another investor's funds. He did not return any
funds to any others.
found Beyer guilty. At sentencing, the district court applied
a vulnerable-victim enhancement. It also denied a downward
departure in criminal history.
stressed he used some investor funds for legitimate business
expenses. The government countered with evidence that Beyer
spent about $109, 000 of investor funds on non-business
expenses, including retail purchases, meals and incidentals,
child support, gas, and dating services. Beyer did not pay
these expenses in cash.
withdrew about $30, 000 in cash from the investor funds. The
government introduced evidence he spent at least some of the
cash withdrawals for non-business expenses, including
withdrawing about $300 in cash at an ATM in an
adult-entertainment club. This "ATM-location
evidence" discussion takes 18 lines of a three-volume
transcript, and it was not mentioned again.
objected to the ATM-location evidence. The district court
admitted it without limitation. Beyer appeals. This court
reviews a district court's evidentiary rulings for abuse
of discretion. United States v. Never Misses A Shot,
781 F.3d 1017, 1027 (8th Cir. 2015).
objection, Beyer paraphrased Rule 403: a district court may
"exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is
substantially outweighed by a danger of . . . unfair
prejudice." Unfair prejudice is "an undue tendency
to suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly, though
not necessarily, an emotional one." Fed. R.
Evid. 403 advisory committee's note; see
also United States v. Fletcher, 322 F.3d 508, 518 (8th
Cir. 2003) ("Rule 403 is concerned only with
unfair prejudice, that is, an ...