By Chad M. Zimlich
Today, in United States v. Manrich, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a judgment sentencing former Baltimore Police Department (“BPD”) Officer Kelvin Manrich to a forty-one-month prison sentence after previously vacating the original sentence and remanding the case back to the district court. United States v. Manrich, 529 F. App’x 322 (4th Cir. 2013) (No. 12-4624). Manrich returned to the Fourth Circuit questioning the calculation of loss (meaning the amount of monetary loss caused by his criminal conspiracy) used in his sentencing.
Manrich had entered a “straight up guilty plea” to a criminal conspiracy involving Hernan Moreno and Edwin Mejia, joint owners of the Majestic Auto Repair Shop, and seventeen additional BPD officers. When responding to the scene of a vehicular accident, Manrich would encourage the owner of the vehicle to have Majestic tow and/or repair the damaged vehicle. Moreno and Mejia would then pay Manrich, or one of the other BPD officers, a kickback of $250 to $300 for directing the victim to Majestic. Majestic would then repair the damage, and would also add damage in order to submit a higher insurance claim.
Manrich’s offense level, the numerical distinctions within the criminal sentencing guidelines, was eventually set at 24 due to the “foreseeable loss” amount costing between $70,000 and $120,000. Though Manrich questioned this determination on appeal, FBI Agent Robert Guynn had prepared data from witness testimony, plea agreements, and stipulated statements of facts by Manrich’s co-conspirators that substantiated the claim. The insurance companies had paid $63,971.95 in claims submitted into evidence, $48,966.96 of which was for fraudulent damage. Added to this were the kickbacks Manrich received (with his co-conspirators) totaling at least $37,000.
Though Manrich also questioned the reliability of the chart due to the co-conspirator’s testimony, this was resolved by the testimony of Agent Guynn. Additionally, the questions of foreseeability in this circumstance had already been answered in the previous appeal. As this was the only remaining issue, the Fourth Circuit affirmed.