What constitutes “management” of a conspiracy when it comes to enhanced sentencing, under the sentencing guidelines in the Eighth Circuit?
This week, two defendants lost their combined sentence appeal in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. The two were convicted of running a massive counterfeit identification scheme, where they produced “fake IDs.”
Their appeal focused on the enhancements to their sentence. Silvia Duhart-Orea was given a twenty-four month sentence while her co-conspirator, Allan Roustand-Rolon, was given a fifty-seven month sentence.
Both sentences were on the low end of the sentencing guidelines for the defendants. Nevertheless, they both raised the argument that the District Court applied the enhancements erroneously.
After an undercover sting in 2010, the defendants were found in possession of twenty print cartridges used to produce hundreds of fake IDs. The two pled guilty to conspiracy to transfer false identification documents.
The sentencing guidelines set the range between twenty-four and thirty months for Duhart-Orea. Her sentence was enhanced for the transfer of more than one-hundred documents. She argued this enhancement based on insufficient evidence that she transferred over one hundred fake IDs.
Unfortunately for her, Duhart-Orea testified previously that she sold at least one fake ID a day for a period of one year.
Roustand-Rolon had a heavier sentence based on his role as manager of the operation. On appeal, he argued that the court erred as it failed to show that he had sufficient management over the co-conspirators.
This argument didn't fly with the Eighth Circuit. The appropriate standard for the manager/supervisor enhancement was not based on the management of co-conspirators. Rather, it was based on the "management responsibility over the property, assets, or activities of a criminal organization."
Both sentences were affirmed.
- Trial Documents in U.S. v. Duhart-Orea (US Government Printing Office)
- Search Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Cases (FindLaw CaseLaw)
- Selected Post Booker Guideline Application Decisions for the Eighth Circuit (US Sentencing Commission)