U.S. v. Reed, Lexis 9274 (2nd Cir. 2011)
Defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by falsely and fraudulently obtaining income tax refunds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, sentenced defendant to 33 months imprisonment to run consecutively with a sentence on unrelated state charges, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Defendant appealed.
Defendant challenged the district court's imposition of the three-level management role sentencing enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(b). This challenge failed because the district court made adequate factual findings. The evidence demonstrated that the scheme involved five or more participants or was otherwise extensive.
The pre-sentence investigation report (PSR), which the district court adopted, named a total of nine individuals that were involved in the scheme; defendant was assisted by other inmates, and individuals outside of the prison, and defendant signed a total of 23 tax returns with information he was given from various individuals. The evidence also demonstrated that defendant was a manager or a supervisor. The district court relied on the PSR. The plea agreement stated that defendant recruited other individuals to mail the false tax returns. And other evidence that defendant authored the returns himself, based upon the information received from others, offered further support to the notion that defendant organized them for the purpose of carrying out the crime. Thus, the § 3B1.1(b) enhancement was supported by sufficiently specific findings.
The judgment of the district court was affirmed. However, the Court stated that where a defendant has no notice that the court will impose special conditions, and the issue only relates to sentencing, the plain error standard is relaxed.
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