United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge.
King entered a plea of guilty on January 14, 2016 to a
one-count Information which charged her with Conspiracy to
Defraud the United States with Respect to Claims, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286. Ms. King faced a
sentencing range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines of 10
to 16 months in custody and one to three years of supervised
release. This Court sentenced her to a term of probation for
three years with a condition of home detention from 7:00 p.m.
to 6:00 a.m. and location monitoring. This Memorandum Opinion
explains the Court’s variance from the Sentencing
Criminal Charge and Sentencing
King participated in a conspiracy involving more than 130
individuals that filed hundreds of false tax returns based on
false names, false addresses, false income figures, and false
entitlements to over $42 million in tax refunds. The identity
theft and tax fraud scheme involved several layers of
coconspirators; Ms. King both typed some false tax returns
and also established numerous bank accounts into which she
deposited tax refunds and withdrew money for delivery to
others in the upper layers of the conspiracy. Although the
conspiracy continued for five or more years, Ms. King’s
participation was limited to the period between May 2010 and
February 2011. The parties agreed that Ms. King has a
restitution obligation of $82, 939.41 to the Internal Revenue
Service for false tax refunds attributable to her. The
Government did not seek forfeiture.
base offense level for Ms. King’s crime was 6. Because
the loss in this case was at least $82, 939.41, the base
offense level was increased by 6 levels, to 12. See
U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(1)(D). In addition, the offense
involved ten or more victims, adding two more levels to the
base offense. See U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(i).
Thus, the adjusted offense level was 14. Because Ms. King
accepted responsibility early and entered a pre-trial plea
(she responded to a target letter, with counsel, and
negotiated a pre-indictment plea), the offense level was
reduced two levels, to level 12. See U.S.S.G. §
3E1.1(a). Ms. King’s total criminal history score was
zero, and thus her criminal history category was I. U.S.S.G.
Chapter 5, Part A.
on an offense level of 12 and a criminal history category of
I, the Guidelines provided for a sentence of custody of 10 to
16 months, plus one to three years of supervised release. The
Government sought a sentence of six months’
incarceration to be followed by a term of supervised release
that would include six months’ home detention. Ms. King
sought a downward departure of four levels pursuant to
U.S.S.G. § 5H1.6, which provides for departure where
there are extraordinary family circumstances, and a sentence
of home confinement without incarceration.
Court appreciated the bases for each of these recommendations
but adopted neither. Instead, the Court sentenced Ms. King to
a term of probation for three years with a condition of home
detention from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. with location
monitoring. The Court also imposed a restitution obligation
of $82, 939.41, to be shared jointly and severally with
defendant Antonio Cooper, Criminal Case No. 15-152-01.
Because Ms. King did not have the ability to pay, the Court
waived a fine and the cost of location monitoring. The Court
also imposed a $100 special assessment.
Personal Background of Defendant
King worked in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area,
primarily in the general health care field, for various
periods between 2004 and January 2015, when she relocated to
Georgia. She has a high school diploma and some college. Her
jobs have always been paid on an hourly basis. In 2009, she
lost her job because she had missed too many days due to a
difficult pregnancy. She found herself without work for two
years. During that period, she engaged in the criminal
conduct at issue. Once she became employed again in 2011, she
ceased her criminal conduct. However, there have continued to
be long periods of time since 2011 during which Ms. King once
again found herself without work. There is no evidence that
she ever returned to unlawful activity.
King is the mother of three children. Her eldest daughter is
23 years old, working on a master’s degree in Florida,
and supporting herself as an executive chef. Ms. King’s
14-year-old son lives with his father in the District of
Columbia. Her youngest daughter is seven years old and
totally reliant on her mother. The father of the
seven-year-old is married to another woman, has a separate
family, and has not been involved in raising or supporting
times when Ms. King was unemployed and financially indigent,
she and her young daughter slept on friends’ couches,
lived in shelters, or lived in a car. With Court
authorization, Ms. King moved to Georgia in January 2015 to
assist her elderly, ill father. Ms. King had no job in the
D.C. area at that time. Her father’s health further
deteriorated, and he now lives in a nursing home. After
months of living in a shelter with her daughter in Georgia,
Ms. King found a job and an apartment. At this time, she has
established normalcy in her child’s life. Ms.
King’s daughter is an honor roll student with perfect
attendance, and she is a top reader.
is no other family member who could care for Ms. King’s
young daughter if Ms. King were incarcerated. Thus, if Ms.
King were incarcerated, the seven-year-old would become a
ward in the Georgia foster care program. Due to these facts,
Ms. King sought a downward departure due to extraordinary
family circumstances under U.S.S.G. § 5H1.6 and a
sentence of home confinement without incarceration.