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United States v. Gonz-lez-Mart-nez

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

June 9, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
ALLISON GONZÁLEZ-MARTÍNEZ, Defendant, Appellee.

         APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Aida M. Delgado-Colón, U.S. District Judge]

          John H. Cunha, Jr., with whom Cunha & Holcomb, P.C. was on brief, for appellant.

          Julia M. Meconiates, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, and Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, were on brief, for appellee.

          Before Kayatta and Barron, Circuit Judges, and McAuliffe, [*] District Judge.

          BARRON, Circuit Judge.

         Allison González-Martínez was convicted after a jury trial of twenty-two counts of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft. She argues that her convictions must be vacated because the evidence at trial was insufficient to support them and because the District Court abused its discretion in denying her request to continue her trial to a later date. We affirm.

         I.

         We recite the evidence introduced at trial in the light most favorable to the prosecution, as is required when a criminal defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support her conviction. See United States v. Pena, 586 F.3d 105, 111 (1st Cir. 2009).

         In 2011, the Internal Revenue Service received twenty-two tax returns purporting to be filed by twenty-two individuals. Each return showed that the filer was due a tax refund. The returns were not what they claimed to be. They had not in fact been filed by the individuals whose names and security numbers appeared in them. Nevertheless, the IRS approved tax refund checks for each of the twenty-two tax returns. Each check was to be paid from the funds of the United States Treasury.

         The Treasury checks ranged in value from $6, 210.93 to $8, 732.69. Each check was issued to the individual on the corresponding tax return and sent to the address in the continental United States provided in that return. That address was also typed on the front of each check.

         The twenty-two Treasury checks were eventually submitted for deposit into the Banco Popular account of "La Casa de los Motores and Junker Correa, " a business in Puerto Rico that sells used automobile parts. The checks were submitted by Junker Correa's owner, González, on twenty-two days from November 2011 to May 2012. The first twenty-one of the checks were deposited into Junker Correa's account; the twenty-second check was held by the bank and not deposited.

         Each check was endorsed twice. The first endorsement purported to be the signature of the individual in whose name the check had been issued. The second was an endorsement to Junker Correa.

         The individuals in whose names the checks were issued never received the checks, never endorsed the checks, and never spent the checks. Nor had they ever been to Junker Correa.

         The jury found González guilty on all counts they were asked to decide: twenty-two counts of theft of government property, all charged in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. Each of the twenty-two counts of theft of government property alleged that González had stolen the value of one of the twenty-two Treasury checks. The ...


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