United States v. Merriman, No. 10-1439 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 2009, Appellant Shawn Merriman approached an "otherwise unsuspecting US Attorney's Office" and disclosed that he had engaged in a long-running Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of over $20 million. At the time of his disclosure, Appellant had offered several million dollars' worth of assets to the government so that it could liquidate them and eventually remit the proceeds to Appellant's victims. Appellant cooperated with authorities throughout the proceedings and ultimately pled guilty to one could each of mail fraud and forfeiture. Appellant appealed two of the district court's sentencing decisions, arguing: (1) the district court should have counted the assets Appellant initially turned over as a 'credit' against his victims' measured aggregate loss; and (2) the court erred by finding he occupied a 'position of trust' for a two-point enhancement. Because Appellant did not challenge the substantive reasonableness of the district court's sentence, the Tenth Circuit reviewed the case on appeal for procedural reasonableness. Finding no clear error in the district court's sentence calculation, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower court's sentence.