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United States v. Dodson

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 29, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Donald Earl Dodson, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted December 18, 2015

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

         For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Cameron C. McCree, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Edward O. Walker, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Eastern District of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR.

         Donald Earl Dodson, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Monticello, AR.

         For Donald Earl Dodson, Defendant - Appellant: Justin Eisele, JUSTIN EISELE, Greenbelt, MD.

         Before MURPHY, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

Page 608

          KELLY, Circuit Judge.

         After a jury trial, Donald Dodson was convicted of aiding and abetting embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 666 and 2. At sentencing, Dodson objected to receiving a criminal history point for a previous uncounseled conviction. The district court[1] overruled the objection, but varied downward from the 18 to 24 month advisory Guidelines range and sentenced Dodson to 6 months' imprisonment and 2 years of supervised release. Dodson appeals, renewing his objection to his criminal history calculation and challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. Having jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and finding no error, we affirm.

         I. Background

         In August 2012 the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General began an investigation into the Star City, Arkansas Housing Authority (SCHA) after being informed of allegations of misappropriation of funds by Libby Dodson, Donald Dodson's ex-wife. At the beginning of the investigation, Libby Dodson was the Executive Director of SCHA and had exclusive signatory authority as the person responsible for payroll management and oversight,

Page 609

including printing checks and creating invoices.

         Libby Dodson admitted in an interview with investigators that she had been preparing fraudulent invoices and checks made payable to her mother, Elizabeth Roberts, and her brother-in-law, Jimmy Dodson, both of whom were occasionally employed at SCHA. Libby Dodson admitted that the checks made out to her mother were not in compensation for any work done. Libby Dodson deposited and cashed the checks made out to Roberts herself, using the money for personal use, such as to cover her monthly bills. Libby Dodson did so without Roberts's knowledge or ...


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