United States v. Gilchrist

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 10-03-2011
  • Case #: 09-10250
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bea for the court; Circuit Judge Schroeder; Circuit Judge Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

To qualify for a sentencing guidelines enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 a defendant need only willfully engage in conduct to obstruct a potential investigation and need not know that an investigation is pending.

Gilchrist plead guilty to 18 counts of embezzlement relating to transactions involving Wells Fargo Bank.  Two of the counts related to transactions where defendant withdrew money, then claimed the funds were stolen by a thief who gained access to his account.  When Wells Fargo refused his claim for reimbursement, Defendant filed a civil action where he was deposed and testified that the funds were taken by a thief.  At his criminal sentencing, the district court enhanced defendant’s level under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 by finding that defendant obstructed justice by his false testimony in the civil deposition.  Defendant appeals this finding arguing that at the time he gave his civil deposition he did not know that F.B.I. was investigating his conduct.  The Ninth Circuit held that U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 does not require that a defendant know that an investigation is being conducted; as long as the defendant engaged in conduct designed to obstruct a  potential investigation and in fact an investigation was active then the enhancement could be applied.  AFFIRMED.

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