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Idaho man pleads guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice in connection to case with former Forest City investment advisor


This news story was published on May 7, 2019.
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Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – An Idaho man who conspired to obstruct justice pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids. David Emerson Smith, from Pocatello, Idaho, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding.

At the plea hearing and in a plea agreement, David Smith admitted that, from June 2017 through 2018, he agreed with his brother, Darrell Smith, to obstruct, influence, and impede Darrell Smith’s federal sentencing hearing in late 2018. While awaiting his sentencing hearing at the Bremer County Jail in June 2017, Darrell Smith told David Smith in a recorded telephone call that one of the victims of his fraud scheme could “make it really hard” for Darrell Smith if she continued to “complain” to the government. Darrell Smith told David Smith it would be “two extra years” if the victim continued her complaint, but Darrell Smith could get the victim some stock shares within a year. At Darrell Smith’s request, David Smith agreed to contact the victim on the telephone and, in February 2018, David Smith sent a letter to the victim at Darrell Smith’s request. The letter indicated Darrell Smith had $40,000 for the victim, in her children’s names, in accounts at an investment company. The letter also reminded the victim she had “$350,000 in tax credits” and two million shares of an energy company available to her. In truth, the “tax credits” and shares lacked any basis in law or fact.

Law enforcement officers discovered the scheme to obstruct justice before Darrell Smith’s sentencing. In October 2018, the court found Darrell Smith stole $2.4 million from his investment clients, including $161,800 from the victim whom David Smith contacted at Darrell Smith’s request. The court also found Darrell Smith had obstructed justice and sentenced him to 175 months in federal prison.

Sentencing before Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. David Smith remains released on bond previously set pending sentencing. David Smith faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

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