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United States v. Passley

United States District Court, E.D. New York

July 23, 2018




         On May 19, 2017, Cordero Passley pleaded guilty to Count 64 of the Superseding Indictment in the above-captioned case. The Court now sentences him and provides a complete statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2) of those factors set forth by Congress and the President and contained in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). For the reasons discussed below, Cordero Passley is hereby sentenced to 46 months of incarceration, 3 years of supervised release, mandatory restitution in the full amount of each victim's losses to be determined by the Court, a forfeiture money judgment of $1, 000, 000.00, and a $100.00 special assessment.


         On July 15, 2015, the United States filed a seventy-five count Superseding Indictment against twenty-three defendants, including Cordero Passley ("Defendant"). See Superseding Indictment, ECF No. 48. On May 19, 2017, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count Sixty-Four of the Superseding Indictment, which charged Assault in Aid of Racketeering. See Plea Agreement ¶ 1, ECF No. 436. The Defendant also stipulated and admitted that: (i) between January 6, 2014 and January 20, 2015, he, together with others, conspired to defraud financial institutions, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (as charged in Count Sixty-Five of the Superseding Indictment); (ii) between January 6, 2014 and July 18, 2014, he, together with others, defrauded Bank of America in violation of 18. U.S.C. § 1344 (as charged in Count Sixty-Six of the Superseding Indictment); and (iii) between January 16, 2014 and July 22, 2014, he, together with others, defrauded JPMorgan Chase, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (as charged in Count Sixty-Seven of the Superseding Indictment). Id. ¶ 2. The Defendant stipulated that the foregoing conduct would be considered by the Court pursuant to U.S.S.G. § IB 1.2(c) "as if the defendant had been convicted of additional count(s) charging these offenses." Id.

         The Court hereby sentences Defendant and sets forth its reasons for Defendant's sentence using the rubric of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2).


         I. Legal Standard

         18 U.S.C. § 3553 outlines the procedures for imposing sentence in a criminal case. If and when a district court chooses to impose a sentence outside of the Sentencing Guidelines range, the court "shall state in open court the reasons for its imposition of the particular sentence, and .. . the specific reason for the imposition of a sentence different from that described" in the Guidelines. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c)(2). The court must also "state[] with specificity" its reasons for so departing "in a statement of reasons form[.]" Id.

         "The sentencing court's written statement of reasons shall be a simple, fact-specific statement explaining why the guidelines range did not account for a specific factor or factors under § 3553(a)." United States v. Davis, 08-CR-0332, 2010 WL 1221709, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 29, 2010) (Weinstein, J.). Section 3553(a) provides a set of seven factors for the Court to consider in determining what sentence to impose on a criminal defendant. The Court addresses each in turn.

         II. Analysis

         A. The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense and the History and Characteristics of the Defendant

         The first § 3553(a) factor requires the Court to evaluate "the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant." 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1).

         Defendant was born on September 7, 1994, in Brooklyn, New York. PSR ¶ 82, ECF No. 483. Defendant is the only child born to the consensual union of John Butler and Sandra Jennifer Passley. Id. Defendant's father resides in Kennesaw, Georgia, and is employed as the regional manager at a freight company. Id. Defendant's mother resides at the address of record, and is employed as a certified nurse's aide. Id. Defendant's parents are aware of Defendant's arrest and conviction, and they remain supportive of him. Id.

         Defendant's mother described him as a "very loving person, gentle and helpful." Id. ¶ 83. The mother recalled Defendant always helped the senior citizens in their neighborhood, and he used to recruit the area children to attend Sunday services. Id. Defendant's mother noted Defendant was previously active in their church, and he volunteered at the program to feed the homeless. Id. With regard to the instant offense, Defendant's mother noted she has always worked two jobs, and she found it difficult to also look after Defendant. Id. She noted Defendant often "felt all alone." Id. Defendant's mother speculated that while she was working nights, it allowed Defendant to become involved with the "wrong crowd." Id. She advised Probation that the family made efforts to remove Defendant from the community by having him move to Georgia to be with his father. Id.

         Defendant has three maternal half-siblings. Id. ¶ 84. Jamilla Smith resides in Brooklyn and is employed by former New York City Mayor Bloomberg. Id. Defendant's sister is also enlisted in the United States Army Reserves. Id. Camilla Smith resides in Brooklyn and is employed as a certified nurse's aide. Id. Kerah Bowlyn resides at the address of record and is enrolled in school. Id. Defendant also has six paternal half-siblings. Id. Lynae Jones resides in East Hartford, Connecticut, and his employment status is unknown. Id. Nicholas Butler is currently incarcerated in the State of Florida on drug charges. Id. Ashley Butler resides in Georgia, and her employment status is unknown. Id. Sharmalee Johnson resides in North Carolina and is employed as a teacher. Id. Samantha Butler resides in Kennesaw and is enrolled in college. Id. Christina Butler resides in Kennesaw and is enrolled in school. Id. The siblings are aware of Defendant's arrest and conviction, and they remain supportive of him. Id.

         Defendant was primarily raised by his mother and maternal half-siblings in a lower-income household, as his parents separated in 1996, when Defendant was age two. Id. ¶ 85. Defendant advised his childhood was "not good" because his mother worked two jobs, and he was unable to go outside to play. Id. He noted that he was not physically abused, but he would receive "harsh beatings" from his mother. Id. Defendant added that as the only son, "everything came down on him." Id. He reported that he received limited material items, as his mother could not afford them. Id.

         Defendant advised that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a child, and he was supposed to attend counseling. Id. However, as his mother was not home to make him attend, Defendant rarely attended his counseling sessions. Id. With regard to his father, Defendant noted he was incarcerated on federal drug charges in 2000, and his father was not released from custody until 2008. Id. According to the Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system, Defendant's father was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and he was sentenced in the District of Connecticut to five years custody and four years supervised release on February 15, 2005. Id. Following Defendant's accident, described infra, Defendant's father became more active in his life. Id.

         In December 2011, Defendant became romantically involved with Latisha Thomas. Id. ¶ 86. Ms. Thomas resides in Brooklyn, is healthy, and is employed as a teacher in an after school program. Id. She is also enrolled in school to become a medical assistant. Id. One child, a daughter, age three at the time of the presentence investigation report ("PSR"), was produced from this relationship. Id. The child was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. Id. As a result, she was born with her middle finger missing on her right hand, and her index finger on her left hand is partially missing. Id. The child is also missing her big toe on her right foot, and she is missing toe nails on several toes. Id. She was unable to walk until she was sixteen months old. Id. The child has issues with her grip, and is unable to hold bigger items in her hands. Id. Probation reports Defendant became emotionally upset when he discussed how the child longs to attend dancing school, but she is prevented because of her toes. Id. Defendant advised Probation that the child does not receive disability benefits or any extra help or therapy because of her condition. Id.

         Ms. Thomas described Defendant to Probation as "very loving, hardworking, outgoing, and caring." Id. ¶ 87. Ms. Thomas added that he is an "excellent father," and their daughter is his "number one priority." Id. She advised that Defendant financially supported herself and their child prior to his arrest, and she is currently being supported by Defendant's family. Id. Ms. Thomas noted she was surprised by Defendant's instant arrest, and she was unable to offer any insight as to why he became involved in this conduct. Id. At the time of the PSR, she advised Probation that she expected to complete her medical ...

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