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United States v. Stayman

United States District Court, E.D. New York

May 31, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
SHAKA STAYMAN, Defendant,

          BRIDGET RHODE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY By: Paul Tuchmann Attorney for the government

          LAW OFFICE OF DONNA NEWMAN By: Donna Newman Attorney for Defendant

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STERLING JOHNSON, JR., U.S.D.J.

         Presently before the Court is the government's motion pursuant to Fedora) Rule of Civil Procedure ("'Rule") 35 to re-sentence defendant Shaka Stayman's ("Defendant" or "Stayman") to a term lesser than the 84 month term imposed by then-assigned Judge Gleeson. Based on the submissions of the parties, the oral argument heard on April 25, 2017, and for the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts and circumstances surrounding this action are not in dispute. On April 17, 2012, Stayman was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia pursuant to a Warrant issued in this District charging him with defrauding heirs of decedents and financial institutions through wire transactions. He appeared in on April 23, 2012 to ?e arraigned for the aforementioned fraud and was released on bond. (See Indictment ¶ 6.) He was notified of the effect of committing an offense while on release. (See id.).

         Stayman proffered and attempted to cooperated with the government. However, fifteen days later, on May 8, 2012, and while cooperating with the government, he returned to the very same criminal conduct, to wit: attempting to defraud financial institutions using the identities of others. He was successful two of the four times he tried and he garnered $ 120, 000. (PSR at ¶ 39.)

         Stayman was charged in a three-count indictment in this District on October 19, 2012 for twice conspiring to commit wire fraud via identity theft, and additionally, for committing the same offense while on pre-trial release. (See generally Indictment. On April 11, 2013, Stayman was charged by information in the Western District of North Carolina with participating in a different but similar fraudulent scheme (the "WDNC Scheme"). The WDNC Scheme consisted of Stayman and others obtaining passwords, user names and other security information of account holders of The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund ("TIAA-CREF"). (See Information in action styled 13-CR-264.) The conspiracy charged therein took place from at least June 2010 through November 2010.

         Pursuant to Rule 20, the North Carolina action was transferred to this District and consolidated with Stayman's 2012 indictment already pending before then-assigned Judge Gleeson. Stayman then cooperated with the authorities in North Carolina and was instrumental in the conviction of six others involved in the WDNC Scheme, five:of whom the government would have been unable to prosecute without Stayman's assistance. Each of those six WDNC defendants received a sentence of 36 months or less.

         On May 10, 2013, Stayman pled before Judge Gleeson to two Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Wire fraud, one under the indictment brought |in this District, the other under the Information from the Western District of North Carolina. A 5K1.1 letter did not issue due to this post-arrest conduct.

         The PSR in the consolidated cases placed Stayman in the criminal hist Dry f category of II and his total offense level was determined to be 28. The resulting guideline range was 87-108 months imprisonment. At sentencing, Judge Gleeson took into account over a dozen letters written by Stayman's friends and family, attesting to his character, about which Judge Gleeson sharply disagreed. (See Transcript of 12/2/14 Sentencing ("Tr.") at 15 ("Lots of people who love you (wrote to me and they said it must be he hung out with the wrong people. I didn't believe that. I don't blame them. They don't know. You are the wrong people.")

         Judge Gleeson also rejected Defendant's argument that the wire fraud guidelines are unfairly high in that they take into account more than the actual less amount but also the intended loss amount:

I beefed about this white collar, this fraud guidelines before, but I don't have a problem with it in your case.. .I think a really important thing to look at for a judge is at the end of the fraud that was committed, or at the end of the fraud that was attempted., . is anybody crying? Who is crying?
Because the real problem with this fraud guideline is, in these market fraud cases, where two million people lose a dollar each .. .in my view that is not nearly as egregious as your fraud. These are individuals. We are talking about people's retirement annuities. These people cried, cried hard; really hurt them, and in a way really hurting them hard, the way your fraud was intended to do, and in some cases did. It is much more blameworthy, even if ...

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