Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mathauda: Defendant who never heard about prior order not willfully blind to it

In U.S. v. Mathauda, No. 11-13558 (Jan. 21, 2014), the Court reversed the imposition of a two-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(9)(C) for a violation of a prior court. After being convicted of multiple counts of fraud, Mathauda’s sentence was enhanced based on his violation of a violation of a court order in a civil case brought by the FTC, in which his attorney had allowed a default judgment to be entered. The Court rejected the government’s contention that Mathauda was “willfully blind” to the prior court order. The Court pointed out that no final order was served on Mathauda, and he never heard anything about it until his sentence was enhanced in the federal fraud case.