United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HENRY COKE MORGAN, Jr., Senior District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Irfan Jameel's ("Defendant") Motion for Variance Sentence ("Variance Motion"), Doc. 160, and various objections to the Presentence Report ("PSR") contained in Defendant's Position on Sentencing, Doc. 172. This Order also briefly addresses Defendant's Motion to Strike Government's Unauthorized Filing ("Motion to Strike"), Doc. 174. Ruling from the bench, the Court DENIED Defendant's Variance Motion on the merits, DISMISSED Defendant's Motion to Strike as moot, and Defendant's objections to the PSR were SUSTAINED IN PART and OVERRULED IN PART. This ruling resulted in a revised total offense level of 29 and an advisory guidelines range of 87 to 108 months.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On July 25, 2013, Defendant was named in a four-count Indictment, charging him with Wire Fraud Affectinga Financial Institution, in violationof 18 U.S.C. § 1343, Count 1; Financial Institution Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, Counts 2-3; and Use of a False Social Security Number, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(7)(B), Count 4. Doc. 15. Defendant was found guilty of all four counts on June 12, 2014. Doc. 137.
Defendant's PSR placed him in criminal history category I and indicated a total offense level of 33. The total offense level came from a base offense level of seven, a sixteen-level enhancement for loss amount, two for fraud in a bankruptcy proceeding, two for using sophisticated means, two for deriving more than one million dollars in gross receipts, two for using aspecial skill, and two for obstructing justice. Doc. 168 at 15. These calculations resulted in an initial advisory Guidelines range of 135 to 168 months imprisonment. Id at 32.
Prior to sentencing, Defendant filed a Motion for Variance Sentence on October 30, 2014. Doc. 160. The United States of America ("the Government") filed its Position on Sentencing on November 17, 2014. Doc. 167. On November 25, 2014, Defendant simultaneously filed his Position on Sentencing and Reply in Support of Motion for Variance Sentence. Doc. 172.
The Government filed a Reply to Defendant's Position on Sentencing on December 1, 2014. Doc. 173. That same day, Defendant filed the Motion to Strike, Doc. 174, requesting that the Court strike the Government's previous filing as incompatible with the Court's Sentencing Procedures. See Doc. 139 at ¶ 7. The sentencing hearing was held on December 2, 2014, and after issuing the findings and rulings contained in this Order the Court sentenced Defendant to 108 months imprisonment. Doc. 176.
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
A district court undertakes "a multi-step process" in determining an appropriate criminal sentence. United States v. Doan, 498 F.Supp.2d 816, 817 (E.D. Va. 2007) (citing United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005)). The process always begins "by correctly calculating the applicable Guidelines range." United States v. Diosdado-Star, 630 F.3d 359, 364 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 49 (2007)). Once the appropriate range is established, the court must consider whether a sentence within that range serves the sentencing factors established in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). United States v. Green, 436 F.3d 449, 456 (4th Cir. 2006). In doing so, the trial court "may hear arguments by prosecution or defense that the Guidelines sentence should not apply, perhaps because (as the Guidelines themselves foresee) the case at hand falls outside the heartland' to which the Commission intends individual Guidelines to apply." Diosdado-Star, 630 F.3d at 364 (quoting Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 351 (2007)). In ruling on such arguments, the district court must "set forth... a reasoned basis for exercising [its] own legal decisionmaking authority." Rita, 551 U.S. at 356.
At sentencing and in his filings, Defendant maintained six objections to the PSR, one motion for a downward departure, and a motion for a variance sentence. Additionally, Defendant moved to strike the final Reply filed by the Government. Each request was addressed by the Court at the sentencing hearing and the rulings made from the bench are hereby explained.
A. Objections to the Sentence Enhancements in the PSR
Defendant's six objections cover all of the enhancements applied to the base offense level in his PSR. As to the enhancements under § 2B1.1 (b)(9)(B) for fraud in a bankruptcy proceeding, § 2B1.1(b)(10)(C) for using sophisticated means, § 2Bl.l(b)(16)(A) for deriving more than one million dollars in gross receipts from one or more financial institutions, and § 3C1.1 for obstructing justice, Defendant simply denied that he committed the fraud or misrepresentation required for these enhancements to properly apply. Doc. 172 at 2. The Court rejected this argument, finding that Defendant's testimony at trial, as well as the ...