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U.S. v. Craddock

filed: May 14, 1993.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LEON CRADDOCK, APPELLANT



On Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Crim. Action No. 91-00424-10).

Before: Becker, Stapleton and Lay,*fn* Circuit Judges

Author: Stapleton

Opinion OF THE COURT

STAPLETON, Circuit Judge :

Defendant-appellant Leon Craddock, a teller responsible for paying out Western Union money orders, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment for his role in a conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. He challenges the calculation of his sentence based on the district court's finding that he abused a position of trust within the meaning of Section 3B1.3 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. We will affirm the sentence.*fn1

I.

Leon Craddock was one of twelve defendants named in a twenty-two count Indictment charging conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and unauthorized use of access devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(b)(2) and 1029(a)(2), and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2. All defendants pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, which involved a scheme of using the information from discarded credit card carbons to conduct Western Union wire transfers without the knowledge of the owner of the credit card. Craddock's co-conspirators would dig through dumpsters until they found carbons, then call Western Union and use the information to wire money to a fabricated name. They would pick up the money by going to a Western Union location and presenting false identification in that name.

Leon Craddock was a teller at the Financial Exchange Company in Philadelphia, an office that processed and paid out Western Union wire transfers. The tellers were supposed to take steps to protect against fraudulent transactions. After a customer filled out a "to receive money" form, they were required to check the customer's identification and signature. It was also standard practice to photograph customers with a "Regiscope"; the proper documentation would be stamped with a Regiscope number, and the film would be filed away and developed later if a question arose about the transaction. After this verification procedure, the customer would receive money by endorsing a "money transfer" check which would be countersigned by the teller.

Craddock and two other tellers joined the conspiracy after it had been underway for more than a year. Rather than guard against fraudulent transactions, they agreed to pay out wire transfers to the conspirators, who were thus relieved of the burden of producing false identification for each pickup. In exchange, the tellers received a 10% commission on each transaction. Documentary evidence showed that Craddock engaged in ninety such transactions; the form for each was stamped with a Regiscope number but there was no corresponding photograph. In the approximately thirteen months before Craddock and his co-workers joined the conspiracy, there were nineteen fraudulent transactions; in the approximately eight months after they joined, there were 163 transactions.

The main issue at Craddock's sentencing hearing was whether he was subject to an increase in his offense level under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.3 for abusing a position of trust. The presentence report prepared by the Probation Office concluded that he was not, but the district court held otherwise. With the two level increase under § 3B1.3, the court calculated a total offense level of 14 and sentenced Craddock to 37 months imprisonment, the lowest term allowable given Craddock's criminal history category of 6.*fn2 We have jurisdiction to review this final decision pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1291 and, because this appeal involves the application of the Sentencing Guidelines, 18 U.S.C. § 3742.

II.

A.

Section 3B1.3 of the Sentencing Guidelines provides for an upward adjustment of a defendant's offense level for abuse of a position of trust. It states in relevant part:

If the defendant abused a position of public or private trust, or used a special skill, in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or ...


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