United States v. Herrera, No. 19-50181 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence for mail fraud stemming from his involvement in a lucrative unemployment-fraud scheme. The panel held that the evidence supported the district court's finding that the losses exceeded $3.5 million and losses exceeding $3.5 million merit an 18-level enhancement under USSG 2B1.1(b)(1)(J). In this case, although the district court cited the correct sentencing provision, it incorrectly stated that it was imposing a 16-level enhancement. However, despite this misstatement, the panel held that it was not error for the district court to apply the 18-level enhancement. The panel also held that the evidence supports the district court's imposition of a leadership-role enhancement under USSG 3B1.1(b) where defendant was a leader within the unemployment-fraud scheme, and he was properly treated as such at sentencing.
Finally, the panel held that state government agencies who suffer losses that are included in the actual loss calculation under USSG 2B1.1(b)(1) are properly counted as victims for purposes of the number-of-victims enhancement in USSG 2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(I). Therefore, the panel held that the district court did not err in applying an enhancement for 10 or more victims because there can be no doubt that EDD suffered losses and because EDD is properly considered a victim under section 2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(i).