Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Feaster: VA Theft is Felony not Misdemeanor

In U.S. v. Feaster, No. 14-13978 (Aug. 25, 2015), the Court rejected the defendant’s argument that her convictions for theft under 18 U.S.C. § 641 should have been misdemeanors, not felonies. The Court noted that under the statute, a punishment of less than one year only applies if the aggregate amount of all counts of conviction did not exceed $1,000. The fact that one count of conviction was for less than $1,000 does not entitled a defendant to have a conviction become a misdemeanor. The Court also rejected Feaster’s challenge to the “sophisticated means” sentence enhancement. The Court noted the totality of the scheme, including the two years for which the conduct was not detected. Feaster used her inside information and her position at the Veterans Administration to perpetrate the fraud. She prepared a fraudulent purchase order to obtain approval to use a government authorized Purchase Card. She obscured her personal purchases by using the Purchase Card. She made fictitious entries in the VA’s system to reconcile the original purchase order with the amount of money she had charged on the Purchase Card.