The opinion of the court was delivered by: CYNTHIA RUFE, District Judge
On January 9, 2003, a Grand Jury indicted Defendant Patricia
Stevenson on one count of bank fraud in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1344 and three counts of money laundering in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1957. A Bench Warrant issued for her arrest that same
day. On March 6, 2003, Stevenson was arraigned before Magistrate
Judge Linda K. Caracappa, who appointed counsel from the Defender
Association of Philadelphia, Federal Court Division. Stevenson
entered a plea of not guilty on all counts of the indictment.
Trial was scheduled for April 15, 2003. Stevenson filed unopposed
motions for a continuance of trial on March 12, 2003; May 1,
2003; and August 4, 2003, all of which the Court granted,
ultimately scheduling trial for January 7, 2004.
On January 7, 2004, Stevenson pleaded guilty to all charges in
the indictment. The Court conducted a full guilty plea colloquy
with Stevenson.*fn1 Stevenson offered her guilty plea knowingly, voluntarily and in conformity with the law.*fn2
The Court accepted the guilty plea and ordered preparation of a
On June 16, 2004, the Court held a sentencing hearing where it
adopted the facts as presented in the presentence report, subject
to certain revisions. The Court sentenced Stevenson to a term of
imprisonment of forty-five (45) months, twenty-four (24) months
of that sentence to run concurrently with the five-to-ten (5-10)
year sentence imposed by the Chester County Court of Common Pleas
for solicitation to commit homicide (docket no.
1806-01).*fn4 The Court ordered $331,634.10 in restitution
to Capital Specialty Mushroom, Inc.,*fn5 and a $400 special
The Court ordered four years of supervised release subject to
standard conditions, as well as the following special conditions:
providing her probation officer access to any personal or
business-related financial information; a prohibition against
incurring new credit card charges or opening additional lines of
credit without her probation officer's approval; no contact with
the victim in this matter (Capital Specialty Mushroom, Inc.); and
participation in mental health treatment.
On June 21, 2004, Stevenson filed a Notice of Appeal to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Court
writes this Memorandum in support of its sentence pursuant to Local Appellate Rule 3.1.*fn6
It is undisputed that the 1998 edition of the United States
Sentencing Commission Guidelines ("USSG") applies to this case.
Count One (bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1344) and Counts Two through
Four (money laundering, 18 U.S.C. § 1957) are grouped together
pursuant to USSG § 3D1.2(d) because the offense is determined by
the measure of the aggregate harm. It is undisputed that the
Guideline governing bank fraud determines the offense level in
For a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, USSG § 2F1.1(a) calls for
a base offense level of six (6). Pursuant to USSG §
2F1.1(b)(1)(I)-(J), eight (8) levels are added because the loss
amount was more than $200,000 but less than $350,000.*fn8
Pursuant to USSG § 2F1.1(b)(2)(A), two (2) levels are added
because the offense involved more than minimal planning. Pursuant
to USSG § 3B1.3, two (2) levels are added because Stevenson
abused a position of trust (bookkeeper) that involved minimal
supervision and sole responsibility for the daily finances of her
employer, Capital Specialty Mushroom, Inc. In light of the
foregoing, it is uncontested that Stevenson's adjusted offense
level (subtotal) is eighteen (18). With the Government's consent
to the application of USSG § 3E1.1(a), the offense level is
reduced by two (2) for acceptance of responsibility. Accordingly, Stevenson's total offense level is sixteen (16).
Stevenson's criminal history score is ten (10). At the time of
the instant offense, Stevenson was on probation for arrests of
October 17, 1992 and April 5, 1993. Thus, pursuant to USSG §
4A1.1(d), two (2) points are added, bringing her total criminal
history score to twelve (12). For criminal history points of 10,
11 or 12, the sentencing table at USSG Chapter 5, Part A,
establishes a criminal history category of V. With an offense
level of 16 and criminal history score of 10, the sentencing
table provides a Guideline range for imprisonment of forty-one
(41) to fifty-one (51) months. Stevenson's sentence of 45 months
is in the middle of that range.
STEVENSON'S OBJECTIONS AT SENTENCING
Stevenson raised the following issues in her Sentencing
Memorandum and at the June 16, 2004 sentencing hearing.
A. Acceptance of Responsibility USSG § 3E1.1
Pursuant to USSG § 3E1.1(b), Stevenson sought a three level
reduction in the offense level for accepting responsibility.
Section 3E1.1, entitled "Acceptance of Responsibility," provides:
(a) Ifthe defendant clearlydemonstrates acceptance of
responsibilityfor his offense, decrease the offense
level by 2 levels.
(b) If the defendant qualifies for a decrease under
subsection (a), the offense level determined prior to
the operation of subjection (a) is level 16 or
greater, and the defendant has assisted authorities
in the investigation of his own misconduct by taking
one or more of the following steps:
(1) timely providing complete information to the
government concerning his own involvement in the
(2) timely notifying authorities of his intention to
enter a plea of guilty, therebypermitting the
government to avoid preparing for trial and
permitting the court to allocate its resources
efficiently, decrease the offense level by 1 additional level.
Stevenson argued that, by operation of subsections (a) and
(b)(2), she is entitled to a three level reduction. The
Government adopted the computation set forth in the presentence
report, which stated that the offense level is reduced two levels
pursuant to subsection (a) only. Turning to subsection ...