Argued: January 25, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland, at Greenbelt. Paul W. Grimm, District Judge.
Christian Gesch, GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP, Washington,
D.C., for Appellant.
I. Pearce, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C., for Appellee.
Wyda, Federal Public Defender, Baltimore, Maryland, Meghan S.
Skelton, Appellate Attorney, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland; Mark A. Perry, GIBSON, DUNN
& CRUTCHER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.
R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, Sung-Hee Suh, Deputy
Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C.; Rod J. Rosenstein,
United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, Sujit Raman,
Chief of Appeals, Thomas P. Windom, Assistant United States
Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt,
Maryland, for Appellee.
DUNCAN and KEENAN, Circuit Judges, and DAVIS, Senior Circuit
Affirmed published opinion. Judge Duncan wrote the opinion,
in which Judge Keenan and Senior Judge Davis joined.
DUNCAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Saundra Lucille White ("White") appeals her
convictions for mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and
aggravated identity theft. White contends that she should
have received a hearing under Franks v. Delaware,
438 U.S. 154 (1978), to challenge the veracity of the
affidavit supporting a search warrant authorizing a search of
her residence. White also appeals the reasonableness of her
sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
December 26, 2009, Christal Millner suffered a severe stroke
leaving her unable to walk, talk, or drive for the remainder
of her life. Pamela Hiler, Millner's cousin, took
responsibility for Millner's care. In March 2010,
hospital staff advised Hiler to seek guardianship of Millner
in order to make health care and other decisions on
Millner's behalf. Hiler, a counselor, reached out to
White for assistance. White and Hiler had attended the same
church for many years and Hiler recalled that White was an
attorney. White graduated from Texas Southern University
School of Law in 1983 and obtained a Master of Law in
Taxation from Georgetown University in 1989. Hiler retained
White on March 24, 2010 and received temporary and then
permanent guardianship over Millner.
of the guardianship process, Hiler and White inventoried
Millner's assets. These included Millner's
condominium in Silver Spring, Maryland, a 1993 Volvo, and
three Bank of America accounts totaling over $130, 000.
Millner also had access to her deceased mother's assets,
including bank accounts totaling $352, 000, approximately
$400, 000 in savings bonds, and a house. Hiler set about
trying to organize Millner's personal affairs and gave
White a key to Millner's condo.
immediately after Hiler retained White, White began a scheme
to defraud Hiler and Millner. In April 2010, White
impersonated Millner to apply for a duplicate license in
Millner's name at a Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
("MVA") location. White used Millner's birth
certificate and forged Millner's signature on the
application. Because White did not look like the prior
photographs of Millner in the MVA database, the MVA
confiscated the license. Undeterred, White obtained a
counterfeit university identification with White's
picture and Millner's name.
2010, White created a Maryland entity called Intel Realty
Financial Services ("IRFS"). White opened a bank
account for IRFS at Wachovia Bank, listing Millner as
IRFS's CEO, owner, and president. The registered address
of the bank account was a P.O. Box that White had previously
opened. Using the fake university identification and
Millner's vehicle registration, White then rented another
P.O. Box in Millner's name from UPS. White authorized
Millner and IRFS to receive mail from the UPS box.
thereafter, Millner received the first of many tax deficiency
notices. Because Millner was bedridden in a medical facility,
Hiler routinely went to Millner's condo to retrieve the
mail. In June 2010, Hiler opened a letter addressed to
Millner and Millner's mother purportedly from the
"IRS, Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue
Service." J.A. 1163. The letter referred to an
"Offer Compromised Agreement" between Millner and
the IRS and requested remittance of $158, 500 to IRFS. J.A.
1165. It warned that the office would "file an immediate
lien on any and all of" Millner's assets unless the
agency received "full and complete payment" by June
19, 2010. J.A. 1165. Hiler asked White, her attorney, to call
the number on the notice to ascertain whether it was
legitimate and to confirm that Millner actually owed the
money. After assuring Hiler that she had looked into the
matter and Millner did owe the money, White told Hiler to
send the checks on Millner's behalf. Hiler purchased
cashier's checks drawn on Millner's account and sent
them to IRFS. From June 2010 until early 2013, Millner
continued to receive similar tax notices and Hiler continued
to send IRFS money from Millner's accounts. Even after
Millner died in January 2011, the tax notices continued.
end of 2012, the IRFS payments had depleted Millner's
assets. Hiler then received a notice addressed to her stating
that she, as Millner's personal representative, was
responsible for paying the taxes. In addition, Hiler received
a voicemail from an unidentified caller purporting to be
"an official collector for" the IRS and the
"State of Maryland Department of
Revenue." J.A. 2354. The caller instructed Hiler or
her attorney to contact the office that day and left a return
number. When Hiler consulted White as to these notices, White
confirmed that Hiler was responsible for paying the taxes and
advised that she borrow money to do so. Having sent IRFS
approximately $800, 000 at this point, Hiler became
suspicious. She consulted another attorney, Craig Ellis, who
told Hiler that the notices were "absolutely crazy"
because an estate representative generally is not liable for
the debts of the estate. J.A. 1360. Ellis, now also
suspicious, did a quick internet search of White. He found
out that, unbeknown to Hiler, White had been disbarred in
Washington, D.C. and Maryland since 2011 and was not
currently licensed to practice law.
contacted the Fraud Section of the Anne Arundel County,
Maryland Police Department, which sparked a state and federal
investigation of White's conduct. Law enforcement learned
that after Hiler wrote checks to IRFS, White deposited the
checks into the IRFS bank account. White then forged
Millner's names on checks out of the IRFS account to