United States v. Griffin, No. 16-4127 (6th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Griffin pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by submitting false income tax refund claims to obtain refund anticipation checks. Griffin agreed, in writing, that the maximum penalty was up to 10 years’ imprisonment, that the court could vary from the guidelines range, and that he waived his right to appeal except any punishment in excess of the statutory maximum or the sentencing guidelines range. The government agreed that Griffin’s total offense level was 10 before acceptance of responsibility and to recommend a reduction for acceptance of responsibility. The court denied an adjustment for acceptance of responsibility and increased the base offense level by two for obstruction of justice. As a result, the sentencing range was 10-16 months, rather than zero-six months. After remand, the court sentenced Griffin to 10 months, finding that Griffin had obstructed justice by providing materially false information to the judge and to law enforcement officers: Griffin misrepresented that the personal information used to prepare the fraudulent tax returns had been supplied by an accountant, when, in fact, Griffin provided the information to the accountant. Griffin misrepresented that he only cashed checks and had never sent anyone’s personal information to another. The Sixth Circuit dismissed an appeal as barred by the waiver, rejecting Griffin’s argument that his sentence was not within the guidelines range.