Monday, May 17, 2010

2J1.3 Proper Guideline for False Statement In Bankruptcy Petition

US v. Boulware: In 12 years, Boulware filed for bankruptcy 16 times in three separate districts. After the NDGA barred her from filing any additional petitions for five years, Boulware filed for bankruptcy in South Carolina. In her petition, she did not mention any of the petition she had filed in the eight years prior, as required by the petition. Boulware pleaded guilty to making a fraudulent statement under penalty of perjury. At sentencing, the district court calculated her advisory Guideline range based on USSG 2J1.3 rather than the general fraud Guideline, 2B1.1. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, the bottom of the Guideline range.

On appeal, Boulware challenged her sentence on two grounds. First, she argued that the district court used the wrong Guideline in determining her sentencing range. The Fourth Circuit disagreed. Although the statutory index in the Guideline Manual lists both 2B1.1 and 2J1.3 as applying to 18 USC 152, Boulware's offense of conviction, 2J1.3 was more applicable to her offense because it was never alleged that she engaged in a scheme to defraud anyone. Second, Boulware argued that the district court did not sufficient explain its basis for the sentence imposed. Noting that the Government conceded error, the court bypassed that question directly and instead concluded that any error was harmless, given the district court's consideration of Boulware's argument for a lower sentence and the district court's admitted consideration of all the 3553(a) factors.

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