Submitted February 12, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Cedar Rapids.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jacob Alden Schunk, Charles J. Williams, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.
Randy Beltramea, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Oxford, WI.
For Randy Beltramea, Defendant - Appellant: Webb L. Wassmer, Wassmer Law Office, Plc, Marion, IA.
Before BYE, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
BEAM, Circuit Judge.
Randy Beltramea was sentenced to a total sentence of 111 months' imprisonment and 5 years' supervised release and ordered to forfeit various properties owned by Beltramea or by one of his legal entities. Beltramea appeals his sentence and the forfeiture order. We reverse the forfeiture order and otherwise affirm.
The government alleged that Beltramea engaged in a multi-faceted criminal scheme, in which he solicited investments from numerous individuals and represented that the money would be used to open a Subway restaurant franchise, when in fact Beltramea used the investment funds for his personal use and for a real estate development project called Castlerock Estates. Beltramea's criminal scheme also involved fraudulent representations to two banking institutions, and attempts to avoid paying taxes and complying with tax-related obligations. On October 24, 2013, Beltramea was charged with sixteen counts of financial, fraud and tax-related crimes in a second superseding indictment. On October 31, 2013, Beltramea pled guilty to eight of the sixteen counts, including: Counts 1 and 2, wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; Count 3, aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1); Count 4, money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957; Count 7, money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(ii) and (a)(1)(B)(i); Counts 8 and 12, false statement to a financial institution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014; and Count 16, tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201.
Beltramea's recommended United States Sentencing Guidelines (Guidelines or U.S.S.G.) sentencing range prior to the application of any departures was 63 to 78 months, based upon a total offense level of 26 and a criminal history category of I. The government urged an additional upward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3, for understated criminal history, and an upward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K2.21, for dismissed and uncharged conduct. The district court found the government had proven the grounds for both upward departures, and accordingly increased Beltramea's criminal history to a category of II. As a result, Beltramea's adjusted Guidelines' range increased to 70 to 87 months, prior to adding the statutory mandatory 24 consecutive months for aggravated identity theft. At sentencing, the district court imposed 87 months on Counts 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, and 12, to be served concurrently, and 60 months on Count 16, also to be served concurrently. On Count 3, Beltramea was sentenced to 24 months, to be served consecutively, for a total term of imprisonment of 111 months, and 5 years supervised release. Additionally, the district court explained in detail at sentencing that, even if it erred in granting the upward departures, the court " would vary and impose the very same sentence . . . based on all the statutory factors under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)."
In addition to the original sixteen counts Beltramea was charged with, the second superseding indictment also listed various properties owned by Beltramea--or by a legal entity established by Beltramea--for which the government was seeking forfeiture, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C), 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c) and 18 U.S.C. ...