Argued: March 24, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Claude M. Hilton, Senior
District Judge. (1:14-cr-00127-CMH-1)
Hideto Yamamoto, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant.
Hart-Mahan, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C., for Appellee.
Caroline D. Ciraolo, Acting Assistant Attorney General, S.
Robert Lyons, Acting Chief, Criminal Appeals & Tax
Enforcement Policy Section, Gregory Victor Davis, Tax
Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C., for Appellee.
WILKINSON, KING, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Agee wrote the opinion, in which
Judge Wilkinson and Judge King joined.
Shanell Stone was indicted for orchestrating a scheme to
defraud mortgage companies. During trial, Stone made a motion
for recusal based on the district court's ownership of
stock in some of the companies, which the court denied. After
she was convicted, the district court sentenced Stone to
sixty months' imprisonment and ordered her to pay
approximately $2.3 million in restitution. Stone appeals the
district court's restitution calculation, determination
of loss for purposes of sentencing, and denial of her motion
for recusal. We affirm the district court for the reasons
April 2014, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia
indicted Stone for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, wire fraud in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, false statements in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1014, fictitious obligations in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 514, obstructing and impeding the due
administration of internal revenue laws in violation of 26
U.S.C. § 7212, and failure to file an individual tax
return in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. As represented
in the indictment, Stone convinced financially distressed
homeowners to engage her services as a real estate agent to
negotiate "short sales" with the mortgage holders
on behalf of those homeowners. In such a short sale, a real
estate agent finds a buyer for a mortgaged home at a price
less than the balance owed on the mortgage and then
negotiates with the mortgage holder for the holder to accept
the sale price as satisfaction of the mortgage.
this case, Stone fraudulently reported short sale prices to
the mortgage holders in lower amounts than the sale proceeds
that she actually received. She initially transferred
ownership in the properties to herself, her husband, or one
of her controlled entities and reported the sales to the
mortgage companies, concealing these fraudulent transactions
from both the homeowners and mortgage holders. Stone then
quickly resold the properties, or "flipped" them,
to predetermined buyers for more than the amounts she paid to
the mortgage companies from the original short sales, again
concealing these actions from the homeowners, buyers, and
lenders. Stone also collected commissions and other fees on
the sales as the real estate agent, although she was not
licensed to sell real estate.
trial, Stone filed a largely unintelligible motion for
recusal,  providing the following
1.Defendant [sic] rights to due process have been violated,
in light of the Court's performance and quest for defense
to waive rights.
2.A conflict of interest. The Court has unconsentually [sic]
appointed unwarranted counsel, to which alleged
defendant's estate respectfully declines the
'offer' to contract thereto. Affirmative.
Further, be it known, as the Court is the arbitrator, to
which alleged defendant has no 'beneficial ties', the
same sits in consort with the accuser(s).
Therefore, let the record show, the hands of Hilton, Claude
dba Judge Claude M. Hilton are in fact 'unclean'.
3. The Court has willfully dishonored the 'Constitutional
Challenge' as set forth in Law and is HEREBY requested to