Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cobb: Affirming 324-month sentence for fraudulent tax return filings

In U.S. v. Cobb, No. 15-12817 (Nov. 30, 2016), the Court affirmed the 324-month sentence of a defendant convicted of mail and wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and firearm possession, in a scheme involving using stolen identities to file hundreds of fraudulent tax returns. The Court rejected Cobb’s challenge to the $2.5 million loss amount to support an 18-level sentence enhancement, and the determination that the offense involved more than 250 victims, finding that the government presented sufficient evidence to support these calculations. The Court also rejected the challenge to the $1.8 million restitution award, finding that this was the amount of money the Internal Revenue Service paid out. The Court found that Cobb waived a challenge to the sentence enhancement for use of an unauthorized access device, and a challenge to the finding that a prior serious drug offense qualified him for an enhanced sentence, finding that he withdrew his objections to these enhancements at the sentencing hearing.