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People v. Vasseur

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

July 14, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Tracy Lea Vasseur, Defendant-Appellant.

         Adams County District Court No. 12CR1694 Honorable Patrick T. Murphy, Judge

          Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Kevin E. McReynolds, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Leslee A. Barnicle, Alternate Defense Counsel, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          ORDER

          FREYRE JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Tracy Lea Vasseur, appeals from an order of restitution entered by the district court following a hearing. She contends that the district court violated her Sixth Amendment right of confrontation and the Colorado Rules of Evidence when it considered a written compilation in determining the amount of restitution. Because we conclude that neither the right of confrontation nor the rules of evidence apply in restitution proceedings, we affirm.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 Vasseur and her mother (codefendant) assisted individuals located primarily in Nigeria (associates) with an Internet scam to take money from victims who were looking for love and companionship. Over the course of more than three years, Vasseur's associates targeted victims on dating and social networking websites, represented that they were members of the United States Armed Forces, and convinced the victims to wire money to an "agent" in Colorado through Western Union, MoneyGram, or various bank accounts.

         ¶ 3 Vasseur and her mother acted as the Colorado "agent" for numerous wire transfers. They kept a portion of the money sent by the victims before wiring the remaining amount to their associates. Vasseur and her mother stole money from 374 victims.

         ¶ 4 In 2012, a grand jury indicted Vasseur for operating an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity in violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA), conspiracy to commit racketeering in violation of COCCA, nine counts of theft of $20, 000 or more, theft of $5000 or more from an at-risk victim, money laundering, identity theft, four counts of forgery, criminal impersonation, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Under a plea agreement, Vasseur pleaded guilty to a pattern of racketeering activity in violation of COCCA in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining counts, a sentencing cap of eighteen years in prison, and the payment of restitution.

         ¶ 5 The court sentenced Vasseur to fifteen years in the custody of the Department of Corrections and reserved the issue of restitution for ninety days. Thereafter, the prosecution filed a request for restitution in the amount of $1, 063, 242. Vasseur objected and requested a hearing.

         ¶ 6 During the restitution hearing, the court admitted Exhibit A over Vasseur's objection. Exhibit A is a spreadsheet that lists the wire transfers received by Vasseur and her mother. It shows the sender's name, the sender's age or date of birth, the sender's address, the date of the wire transfer, and the amount of the wire transfer.

         ¶ 7 The prosecution admitted Exhibit A through an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation who testified that

• he was the primary investigator in Vasseur's case;
• there were 374 victims "from all over the United States and five other countries, " including twenty-nine ...

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