District Judge Thomas P. Griesa


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Romalis took part in a scheme to defraud the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Rejecting plea offers, she was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to 46 months in prison. Romalis helped submit 150 to 200 fraudulent applications to the Claims Conference. Estimated victims’ losses of $700,000 led a 14-level increase, putting her Sentencing Guidelines range at 37 to 46 months in prison. Romalis sought 28 USC §2255 relief, vacating sentence on grounds counsel was ineffective for improperly informing her of the possible sentence she faced if convicted, and because they were romantically involved during representation. The court denied vacatur noting that even if counsel miscalculated the Guidelines range Romalis would be exposed to at sentencing, his actions insufficiently showed deficient performance under Strickland. Also, Romalis’s conflict of interest claim did not satisfy Armienti v U.S., and U.S. v. Levy. Counsel was authorized to practice law and not implicated in any crime. Nor did Romalis show that the conflict adversely affected counsel’s performance, or prejudice. Although Romalis’s alleged relationship with counsel was potentially unethical, she did not offer sufficient factual support to state a claim for relief.