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United States v. Dokes

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 5, 2017

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Eugene Dokes Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: June 5, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis

          Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.

          LOKEN, Circuit Judge.

         Eugene Dokes pleaded guilty to theft of United States property for knowingly receiving four Social Security disability benefits to which he was not entitled in

         December 2012 and January 2013. See 18 U.S.C. § 641. At sentencing, the district court[1] adopted the Presentencing Investigation Report (PSR) finding that Dokes's ongoing theft of Social Security benefits resulted in actual loss to the government of more than $40, 000. This increased his total offense level by six levels. See U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(1)(D). Before making this finding, the court denied Dokes's motion for leave to file untimely objections to this PSR determination, concluding Dokes failed to show good cause for not timely objecting to the PSR. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32 (f)(1) (parties must object in writing within fourteen days after receiving PSR); 32(i)(1)(D) (court may for good cause allow party to make a new objection before sentence is imposed). The court sentenced Dokes to five years probation including six months home confinement and ordered him to pay $45, 835.60 in restitution to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Dokes appeals, arguing the district court erred in declining to consider his untimely objections. Concluding the court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm. See United States v. Almazan, 414 Fed.Appx. 902, 904 (8th Cir. 2011) (standard of review).

         SSA granted Dokes disability benefits in October 2006. In April 2010, responding to SSA's continuing disability review, Dokes reported he had not worked since his last medical decision, his condition had worsened, and he did not believe he could currently work. His wife later reported that Dokes had trouble concentrating, "did not engage in any social activities, had lost any interest in family and friends, and limited his hobbies and interests to playing video games and watching television." SSA determined Dokes was no longer disabled but then upheld his appeal in October 2010 and continued paying disability benefits.

         In March 2013, prompted by Dokes's report of self-employment income on his 2011 tax return, SSA initiated a criminal investigation into whether he had substantially understated his ability to work. The investigation revealed that Dokes:

-Maintained Missouri realtor and broker licenses between April 2005 and July 2014 and started an investment company in 2008 as a licensed broker.
-Earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2008, a master's degree in 2009, and a Ph.D. in organization and management in 2013.
-Registered six profit and nonprofit companies and three fictitious names related to political campaigns between January 2006 and March 2013.
-Campaigned for the Missouri House of Representatives after July 2010, served on the Missouri Advisory Board for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and served as Vice-Chair of a Republican county committee in July 2011.
-Earned $34, 568 from the St. Louis County Missouri Housing Authority between June 2011 and April 2012 and reported self-employment income on his 2012 joint tax return.

         SSA concluded Dokes was not disabled after July 2010 and received $45, 835.60 in overpayments between October 2010 and ...


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