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United States v. Campbell

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

September 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
MAURICE WILLIAM CAMPBELL, JR., a.k.a. Bill Campbell, a.k.a. Sir William, Defendant - Appellant

Page 1292

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. D.C. Docket No. 2:10-cr-00186-AKK-JEO-1.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Ramona Albin, Davis A. Barlow, Michael B. Billingsley, Tamarra Matthews Johnson, George A. Martin Jr., Jennifer Smith Murnahan, Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney's Office, Birmingham, AL.

For Maurice William Campbell, Jr., Defendant - Appellant: Linda S. Sheffield, Linda S. Sheffield Attorney at Law, Atlanta, GA; Glory R. McLaughlin, Redden Mills Clark & Shaw, LLP, Birmingham, AL.

Before ED CARNES, Chief Judge, TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge, and MARRA,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 1293

TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge:

In this case, Maurice William Campbell, Jr., and several co-conspirators, created, and successfully executed, a scheme to defraud the State of Alabama to the tune of several million dollars. The scheme was ultimately uncovered, and the co-conspirators were separately indicted by a Northern District of Alabama grand jury. Campbell was charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and conspiring to commit those offenses.

Campbell pled not guilty and stood trial. Several of his co-conspirators, having pled guilty, testified for the prosecution. The jury believed whet they had to say and found Campbell guilty as charged. At sentencing, the District Court departed downward from the sentence range the Sentencing Guidelines prescribed, 262 to 327 months' confinement, and imposed prison sentences totaling 188 months. The court also ordered him to pay $5.9 million to the State of Alabama in the form of restitution.[1]

Campbell appeals his convictions and sentences. He appeals his convictions on the ground that the Government failed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.[2] He appeals his sentences on the ground that they are procedurally and substantively

Page 1294

unreasonable. See Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 51, 128 S.Ct. 586, 597, 169 L.Ed.2d 445 (2007). We find no merit in Campbell's challenges to his convictions, and therefore affirm them, because the evidence of guilt, which we set out in considerable detail infra, was overwhelming. We also affirm his sentences, finding no procedural or substantive error.

I.

Campbell's convictions arose from his conduct as the State Director of the Alabama Small Business Development Consortium (the " ASBDC" ). The ASBDC was an affiliation of small business development centers housed within Alabama public universities. These development centers provided workforce training, business education, and other assistance to Alabama businesses. The ASBDC's central office obtained funding from various sources and distributed that money to the member development centers. The central office also put on educational seminars, published educational material, and generally promoted the work being done by its members.

Campbell was hired as the State Director of the ASBDC in 2003. At the time, the ASBDC had been zeroed out of the state budget, and so Campbell set to lobbying members of the Alabama Legislature and the Governor's Office on the ASBDC's behalf. His efforts proved fruitful; over the course of his tenure, Campbell secured approximately $7.3 million from the State. But, thanks to Campbell's efforts, the ASBDC did not receive that money directly; instead, state funds were routed through a private nonprofit corporation, the Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce (the " Institute" ).

Campbell incorporated the Institute in February 2005--after he secured the promise of state funding for the ASBDC--as a 501(c)(3) corporation with the stated purpose of " enhanc[ing] economic development, increas[ing] employment and reduc[ing] business failure in Alabama through business education and workforce training." Campbell then asked Alabama officials that the Institute be designated to receive the state money on the ASBDC's behalf. He told the Governor's Office that the Institute was just a conduit for the ASBDC and that channeling the funds through the Institute would make it easier to obtain matching federal money and would allow him to keep the ASBDC's various funding sources separate. He did not explain the requested change to the Legislature; the then-Chairman of the House Education Appropriations Committee testified at Campbell's trial that he assumed the Institute and the ASBDC were the same thing. Trusting Campbell, the Alabama officials agreed to designate the Institute as the entity that would receive state funds on behalf of the ASBDC.

The Institute leased separate office space from the ASBDC's central office, was located in a different city, hired its own employees, and held its own accounts. Most importantly, because the Institute was a private nonprofit rather than a state entity, its accounts were not subject to audit by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. Between 2005 and 2010, Campbell and several co-conspirators took advantage of this fact.

From the beginning, Campbell treated the Institute's money as his own. He used the money to pay for, among other things, meals, clothing, cars, and vacations. He hired two employees for the Institute, gave them Institute debit cards, and told them that they could spend the money however they wanted. And he gave debit cards to the ASBDC's director of public relations and an Institute board member with similar instructions. Campbell's co-conspirators--who pled guilty to various offenses

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committed during the execution of the scheme and testified against him at trial--confirmed that, with Campbell's permission, they all used Institute funds to pay for vacations, shopping trips, jewelry, meals, groceries, gas, and other personal expenses. Perhaps the most salacious example of the self-indulgence is the money Campbell spent entertaining a group of young women he called the " Little Sisters." The Little Sisters were a group of college-age girls with whom Campbell liked to spend time. He ostensibly hired the girls to work various events hosted by the ASBDC, sometimes paying them up to $100 for an hour of passing out pamphlets or a few minutes spent setting up a display board. He also paid the girls to attend meals and non-ASBDC events with him, bought their meals and drinks, took them on shopping trips and beach vacations, and gave them gifts, including bracelets engraved with " Lil Sis" and " Sir William" (his nickname)--all paid for with Institute funds.

In 2008 Campbell started funneling money from the Institute's accounts into outside accounts controlled by him or his co-conspirators. The vehicle for these transfers was a lease for " office space" in a retirement home. Campbell was the executive director of the retirement home, and at his direction the Institute paid $5,000 and then $6,000 per month for a bedroom in a residential apartment. The Institute's rent checks were deposited in an account in the retirement facility's name, which was controlled by Campbell. From there the " rent" money went to other accounts controlled by either Campbell or his co-conspirators. Some of this money was eventually " paid" back to Campbell as part of his compensation as director of the retirement facility.

Despite all this graft, some Institute money made its way into the hands of the ASBDC-member development centers. Of the $7.3 million received by the Institute, approximately $1.4 million was distributed to the development centers--around 20 percent. The Government did not present the District Court with an exact accounting of how all of the remaining $5.9 million was spent, and that failure lies at the heart of this appeal.

II.

The Institute's loose spending was eventually detected, and after a federal investigation, a grand jury for the Northern District of Alabama returned a one-count indictment in May 2010, charging Campbell with aiding and abetting mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 18 U.S.C. § 2. In March 2011, the grand jury returned a ninety-six count superseding indictment, which charged Campbell with three counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Counts 1, 59, and 60); one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 2); fifty-six counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Counts 3-58); thirty-one counts of aiding and abetting money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Counts 61-91); and five counts of aiding and abetting engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Counts 92-96).

During an eight-day trial, the Government presented testimony by Alabama officials, Campbell's co-conspirators, some of the Little Sisters, and an IRS agent who examined the Institute's accounts. The Government also submitted into evidence receipts from purchases made with Institute

Page 1296

funds, bank records for each of the Institute's accounts, and some of the Institute's business records. Campbell did not call any defense witnesses after the Government rested its case in chief. On November 17, 2011, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all ninety-six counts.

The presentence investigation report (" PSI" ) calculated Campbell's sentence range as follows: The base offense level for Campbell's crimes was 7. See U.S.S.G. § § 2S1.1(a)(1); 2B1.1(a)(1) (2011).[3] This base level was increased by 32 based on the following special offense characteristics: a 20-level increase because the loss amount was more than $7 million but less than $20 million, id. § 2B1.1(b)(1)(K); a 2-level increase because Campbell was acting on behalf of a charitable organization, id. § 2B1.1(b)(9)(A); a 2-level increase because Campbell was convicted of money laundering under 18 U.S.C. § 1956, id. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(B); a 2-level increase because the offense involved sophisticated money laundering, id. § 2S1.1(b)(3); a 2-level increase because Campbell abused a position of public or private trust in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or concealment of the offense, id. § 3B1.3; and a 4-level increase because Campbell was an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that ...


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