United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.
On March 24, 2014 and May 1, 2014, the Court held the sentencing hearing for Defendant Regina Evans. The Government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy A. Bass. Defendant appeared in person with her attorneys Lawrence S. Beaumont and Joshua B. Adams. The Court denied Defendant's objections to the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) and sentenced Defendant to what amounted to a 60-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. The special conditions of supervised release imposed by the Court included 12 months of in home confinement to be followed by 20 hours per week of uncompensated community service throughout the remainder of Defendant's term of supervised release, participation in psychiatric services or a program of mental health counseling or treatment, and participation in financial counseling. The basis for the ruling on the objections and the sentence was stated at the May 1, 2014 sentencing hearing and is stated herein.
On April 10, 2013, a Third Superseding Indictment was filed against Defendant and Defendant's husband, Ronald W. Evans, Jr., in Case No. 12-30042. Count 1 charged Defendant and Ronald W. Evans, Jr. with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, including the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Counts 2, 3 and 4 charged Defendant and Ronald W. Evans, Jr. with wire fraud. Count 5 charged Defendant with Money Laundering. Count 6 charged Ronald W. Evans, Jr. with Money Laundering. Counts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 charged Defendant and Ronald W. Evans, Jr. with Money Laundering.
On June 17, 2013, Defendant appeared before this Court and entered open pleas of guilty to Counts 1 through 5 and 7 through 12 of the Third Superseding Indictment in Case No. 12-30042. The Court accepted Defendant's guilty pleas and adjudged her guilty of Counts 1 through 5, and 7 through 12 of the Third Superseding Indictment.
On April 10, 2013, a seven-count Indictment was filed against Defendant and her brother Ricky McCoy in Case No. 13-30029. Counts 1, 2, and 3 charged Mr. McCoy with Money Laundering. Count 4 charged Defendant and Mr. McCoy with Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice and Engage in Witness Tampering. Counts 5 and 7 charged Defendant and Mr. McCoy with Obstruction of Justice. Count 6 charged Defendant and Mr. McCoy with Witness Tampering.
On August 19, 2013, Defendant appeared before this Court and entered open pleas of guilty to Counts 4 through 7 of the Indictment in Case No. 13-30029. The Court accepted Defendant's guilty pleas and adjudged her guilty of Counts 4 through 7 of the Indictment.
In July 2013, Defendant consented to the transfer of Case No. 13-00489-001 from the Northern District of Illinois to this Court for purposes of entering a plea and sentencing. On July 31, 2013, the case was transferred and assigned Case No. 13-30060.
The Information in Case No. 13-30060 charged Defendant and Ronald W. Evans, Jr. with three counts of making Fraudulent and False Statements. On August 9, 2013, Defendant appeared before me and entered an open plea of guilty to Count 3 of the Information. Counts 1 and 2 of the Information were dismissed prior to transfer to this Court. The Court accepted Defendant's guilty plea and adjudged her guilty of Count 3 of the Information in case No. 13-30060.
The United States Probation Office prepared a PSR calculating a Total Offense Level of 32, a Criminal History of Category I, resulting in a Guideline Range of 121 to 151 months' imprisonment.
A. Defendant's Objections to the PSR are Denied
Defendant raised two objections to the PSR. First, Defendant objected to the two-level enhancement imposed under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(9)(A) (Paragraph 96). Second, Defendant objected to not receiving a reduction for acceptance of responsibility (Paragraphs 90 and 123).
1. The Court Denied the Objection to the Two-Level Enhancement For Defendant's Misrepresentation That She Was Acting on Behalf of a Charitable or Educational Program
Defendant objected to the two-level enhancement imposed under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(9)(A) (Paragraph 96). Defendant argued that the enhancement stemmed from the Government's belief that there was never truly an educational program. Defendant argued, however, that Ricky McCoy, the Government's cooperating witness, indicated that the program did exist. Indigent men were recruited from the community, enrolled in classes, and were provided educational materials. Defendant argued that she never misrepresented that she acted on behalf of a charitable and educational program because she did act on behalf of a charitable and educational program.
Section 2B1.1(b)(9)(A) provides for a two-level increase in the offense level if the offense involved "a misrepresentation that the defendant was acting on behalf of a charitable, educational, religious, or political organization, or a government agency." U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(9)(A). The Commentary to this Guideline provision provides that the enhancement applies when a defendant represented that she was acting to obtain a benefit on behalf of a charitable, educational, religious, or political organization, or a government agency but intended to divert all or part of that benefit. U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1, cmt. n. 8(B) (also providing example of when the enhancement applies: when a chief of a local fire department conducted a public fundraiser and represented that the purpose was to procure funds for a new fire engine when the defendant intended to divert some of the funds for his own personal benefit).
Defendant established We Are Our Brother's Keeper as a charitable organization in February 2003. We Are Our Brother's Keeper's mission was to provide education and knowledge concerning the prevention of crime, the fear of crime, and the problems of illiteracy, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse as it affects the growth of families and social welfare.
In February 2009, Defendant and her husband, representing themselves as acting on behalf of the Regal Theater's We Are Our Brother's Keeper Foundation's Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program, Chicago, Illinois, applied for a $1, 379, 575 grant through the Employment Opportunities Grant Program from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Defendant obtained grant funds from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on behalf of We Are Our Brother's Keeper purportedly for the purpose of providing services to minorities, women, and hard-to-serve populations with the goal of ...