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United States v. Hinson

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 28, 2015



MARK A. GOLDSMITH, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant April Yvette Hinson's motion for modification and reduction of sentence (Dkt. 112). Defendant claims that she is entitled to a reduction of her sentence because the Court improperly applied certain sentence enhancements when calculating her advisory sentencing guideline range. Because the Court concludes that Defendant's claims are meritless, the Court denies Defendant's motion.


A federal grand jury returned a first superseding indictment against Defendant, among other individuals, on January 2, 2013, charging her with various counts of mail fraud and money laundering relating to a scheme to defraud the American Family Life Assurance Company ("AFLAC"). First Superseding Indictment (Dkt. 3). Defendant subsequently entered into a Rule 11 plea agreement with the Government. Plea Agreement (Dkt. 66). Pursuant to that agreement, Defendant agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, and the Government agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. Id. at 1, 6. The agreement also set forth the following agreedupon facts:

In or around July of 2007, after receiving the necessary application, the American Family Life Assurance Company ("AFLAC") issued an insurance policy in the name of defendant April Y. Hinson, through her purported employer, Priceless Records.
On or about April 4, 2008, defendant submitted to AFLAC an insurance claim form dated April 4, 2008, under the previously issued insurance policy. The claim asserted that on August 6, 2007, defendant was injured when, while riding a bike, she fell into a ditch. The claim form bore the physician name and purported signature of Dr. Gregory Henry, attesting to defendant's injury (fractured femur) and to defendant's disability. The claim form also represented that defendant was hospitalized at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, from August 6, 2007 through August 13, 2007. Lastly, the claim included a statement from the purported president of Priceless Records, attesting to the claimant's employment status and annual salary in the amount of $65, 000.
As payment for the aforementioned claim, AFLAC issued check number C046040499 dated April 10, 2008, in the amount of $7, 746.67, payable to April Y. Hinson, 12745 S. Saginaw St., Ste. 806 #178, Grand Blanc, MI 48439. The check was mailed via U.S. mail to the aforementioned address in the Eastern District of Michigan from AFLAC's headquarters in Columbus, Georgia.
On or about April 17, 2008, defendant cashed check number C046040499 at Super Cash Pay Day Advance, 1701 N. Dort Highway, Flint, Eastern District of Michigan, obtaining cash for her own personal use.
The information supplied in the claim form contained materially false information. In reality, defendant did not suffer the claimed injury, was not hospitalized for the injury, did not undergo the claimed medical treatment, and was not employed by Priceless Records. Thus, the submitted claim was materially fraudulent, and defendant acted with the intent to defraud AFLAC.
In short, defendant, with the intent to defraud, committed the crime of mail fraud by devising a scheme to defraud or to obtain money from AFLAC by materially false or fraudulent representations and in carrying out the scheme, defendant caused the mails to be used.
In addition, defendant used a firearm in connection with the offense when she pointed a firearm at a co-conspirator and threatened him to turn over money to her that she and the co-conspirator fraudulently obtained from AFLAC.
Lastly, the scheme to defraud included the defendant's participation in the submission of other false insurance claims. In total, defendant submitted, or assisted in submitting, at least one hundred twenty five (125) false insurance claims to AFLAC, with a total loss amount of at least $912, 341.53.

Id. at 2-3.

The worksheets attached to the plea agreement also set forth the calculation of the applicable sentencing guideline range. For a conviction of mail fraud, the worksheets started with a base offense level of 7; they then added 14 levels for a loss of more than $400, 000, and 2 levels for possession of a firearm in connection with the offense. The worksheets then added an additional 4-level adjustment for leadership, resulting in an adjusted offense level of 27. Plea Agreement, Worksheet A. With a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, Defendant's total offense level ...

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