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United States v. Arroyo-Maldonado

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 1, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
JOSÉ JUAN ARROYO-MALDONADO, a/k/a Colombia, a/k/a Víctor Dávila-Pérez, a/k/a Jesús Martínez Alejandro-Quintanilla, a/k/a Antonio Mejías, a/k/a Confesor Rodríguez, a/k/a Cristóbal Santiago-Colón, a/k/a Dennis Sánchez, a/k/a Edwin Gutiérrez-Lomardi, a/k/a Edwin Martínez-Aguayo, a/k/a Edwin Martínez, a/k/a Héctor González, a/k/a Héctor Santiago, a/k/a Jesús Martínez-Caballero, a/k/a José Arroyo-Maldonado, a/k/a José Díaz, a/k/a Juan Arroyo-Maldonado, a/k/a Juan Maldonado, a/k/a Pedro Ortiz, a/k/a Juan Mojica-Landrau, Defendant, Appellant

Page 194

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 195

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Daniel R. Domínguez, U.S. District Judge.

Lydia Lizarrí bar-Masini, on brief for appellant.

Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.

Before Torruella, Lynch, and Lipez, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 196

TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.

This case concerns a challenge to the sentence imposed on José Juan Arroyo-Maldonado (" Arroyo-Maldonado" ) for fraud. Arroyo-Maldonado challenges the reasonableness of his above Guidelines sentence of one hundred and twenty months of imprisonment. After careful consideration, we affirm his sentence.

I. Background

Because Arroyo-Maldonado pleaded guilty, our discussion of the facts is drawn from the change-of-plea colloquy, the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (" PSR" ), and the transcript of the sentencing hearing. See United States v. Cintrón-Echautegui, 604 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 2010). From August 2010 to May 2011, Arroyo-Maldonado, while incarcerated for other charges, led a scheme to defraud financial institutions. Arroyo-Maldonado used prepaid cell phones to contact co-defendants outside the Bayamón Penitentiary and instructed them to prepare false checks for deposit at financial institutions in order to fraudulently purchase motor vehicles or fraudulently pay off loan accounts. After the checks were deposited, Arroyo-Maldonado would have other co-defendants acquire the vehicles at car dealerships or from individuals selling them through newspaper classified advertisements. Arroyo-Maldonado's actions were in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1) and (2) and 18 U.S.C. § 1349.

Arroyo-Maldonado pleaded guilty on March 19, 2013, pursuant to a plea agreement. The parties recommended that Arroyo-Maldonado be sentenced at the lower end of the applicable Guidelines Sentencing Range (" GSR" ) if his criminal history category was IV or higher (it was later calculated to be VI). As part of the agreement, the parties stipulated to the Guidelines calculations. The Guidelines provided that the base offense level, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(a)(2), was seven. A twelve-point increase was added pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(H) because the stipulated amount of loss attributed to Arroyo-Maldonado was at least $200,000, but less than $400,000; a two-point increase was added under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(2)(A) because Arroyo-Maldonado's offense involved ten or more victims; and an additional two-point increase was added because Arroyo-Maldonado was identified as an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of a criminal activity, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1(c). Finally, Arroyo-Maldonado received a three-point reduction for acceptance of responsibility pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(a) and (b), which resulted in a total offense level of twenty.

On August 20, 2013, the court sentenced Arroyo-Maldonado to one hundred and twenty months imprisonment, and granted eighteen months credit for time served. The applicable GSR was seventy to eighty-seven months of imprisonment, a fine of $7,500 to $1 million, and a supervised release term of not more than five years. At the sentencing hearing, a probation officer revealed that Arroyo-Maldonado's criminal history had twenty-five points, which is a criminal history category VI, and the court noted, " [t]his is the first 25 point [white collar] case that I have [had] in my career." The court also explained that " [t]he judge reacts to what is on the record. What I have on the record is a gentleman that has the ...


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