Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Johnson

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 20, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Curtis L. Johnson, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued April 1, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:16-cr-00053 — Michael J. Reagan, District Judge.

          Before Easterbrook, Sykes, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

          Brennan, Circuit Judge

         During an in-chambers conference among court and counsel, Curtis Johnson's attorney withdrew an objection to the restitution amount to be paid to the victims of his client's wire fraud. Johnson was not present. Then, in open court, Johnson confirmed he no longer disputed restitution, recognized the plea agreement included an appeal waiver, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced. Johnson now challenges his sentence, arguing he did not waive this appeal and his sentence is unconstitutional because he was not present when his attorney dropped the restitution objection. We uphold the appeal waiver and dismiss Johnson's appeal.

         I

         For almost three years, Johnson managed financial and production operations for a business that produces hand rails in Fishers, Indiana owned by the Turtle family.[1] He kept the books, paid vendors, purchased equipment, and entered into loan agreements for the company, so he had access to and signature authority for the company's bank accounts and the company's credit.

         During that time Johnson defrauded the company by using its funds and credit card for personal expenses, including a hot tub and three "company" cars for his family members. He wired money directly from the company's bank account into his personal bank account, and he obtained company loans from which he skimmed some proceeds.

         The company discovered Johnson's fraud and fired him, but the damage was done. The business had to pay back the loans, and the owners were forced to use personal retirement and college savings to ward off creditors. The Turtle family ultimately lost its business.

         Johnson was indicted on eight counts of wire and mail fraud. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The plea agreement contained an appeal waiver. It also stated the government's position that Johnson owed restitution totaling $211, 428.80, comprised of credit card purchases, vehicle payments, cash withdrawals, wire transfers, and diverted loan proceeds. Johnson agreed he owed the victims restitution, but he disputed the amount.

         The presentence investigation report adopted the government's restitution calculation. Johnson never submitted a sentencing memorandum, and he has never specified his own restitution figure. At one point he hypothesized that a loss range between $40, 000 and $95, 000 would result in a lesser offense level, but ultimately provided no calculation detailing what he believed that figure should be.

         Johnson's guilty plea and sentencing took place at the same hearing, during which the victims of Johnson's crime addressed the court. Before the hearing, the district judge met with counsel for the government and the defendant in chambers and off the record. Then, on the record early in the hearing, the court reviewed the plea agreement with Johnson, noting the in-chambers conference:

THE COURT: My understanding, in meeting with counsel off the record, is that the amount of restitution and loss is not in ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.