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USA Letter John Campos Case

USA Letter John Campos Case

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Federal prosecutors' letter to a New York federal judge on why they entered into a plea bargain with John Campos, the former vice chairman of SunFirst Bank of St. George, Utah.
Federal prosecutors' letter to a New York federal judge on why they entered into a plea bargain with John Campos, the former vice chairman of SunFirst Bank of St. George, Utah.

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Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune on Apr 19, 2012
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DOCKET 
By
Hand
Honorable Lewis
A.
KaplanUnited States District CourtSouthern District
of
New York500 Pearl StreetNew York, New York 10007
Re: United States
v.
John Campos,
S7
10
Cr. 336 (LAK)
Dear Judge Kaplan:The Government respectfully submits this letter
in
support
of
its position that the Courtshould accept the guilty plea
of
defendant John Campos (the "defendant") to a bank gamblingmisdemeanor offense,
in
accordance with Rule
11
(c )(3)
of
the Federal Rules
of
CriminalProcedure. For the reasons described below, Campos's plea
is in
the interests
of
the Governmentand the defendant and otherwise constitutes a fair and just resolution
ofthe
matter pendingagainst him.BackgroundCampos appeared before the Court on March 30, 2012 and entered a plea
of
guilty toSuperseding Information S7
IOCr.
336 (the "Information") pursuant to a plea agreement (the"Plea Agreement") with the Government. As the Court found during the plea proceeding, thedefendant's plea was knowing and voluntary, and was supported by an independent basis
in
factconcerning each
of
the essential elements
of
the offense.
United States
v.
Campos,
Tr., Mar. 28,2012, at 18.
1
The Court engaged
in
a thorough allocution
of
the defendant, in accordance withall
of
the requirements
of
Rule
11
of
the Federal Rules
of
Criminal Procedure, and the defendantexpressly acknowledged that he had read and understood the Plea Agreement, which set forth,among other things, the maximum penalties at issue, the parties' view
of
the applicableGuidelines range, the fact that neither the U.S. Probation Office nor the Court would be bound
by
the parties' Guidelines calculations, and the fact that the sentence imposed upon the defendantwould be solely determined by the Court.The Court deferred acceptance
of
the plea and questioned the basis for allowing thedefendant to plead guilty to a single gambling count with a one year maximum sentence and theproposed dismissal
of
the felony counts originally charged. The Government explained that theThe transcript
is
attached to this letter for the Court's convenience.
DOCUMENTELECTRONICALLY
FILED
DOC#:
____
~~
__
~_
U.S. Department of
Justice
United States Attorney
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District
of
New York
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pri!
12,
2012
JUDGE KAPLAN'SCHAMBERS
e
SilviO
J.
Mollo
BUildingne
Saint Andrew's
Pla::a
ew
York, New
York
10007
Case 1:10-cr-00336-LAK Document 174 Filed 04/18/12 Page 1 of 5
 
Hon.
Lewis
A.
Kaplan
Page 2
April 12,2012misdemeanor charge resulted
in
a Guidelines range that
is
similar to the range that would applyhad the defendant pled guilty to the felony charges contained
in
the Indictment. (Tr. 18-22). TheCourt then directed the Government to provide a letter setting forth "the rationale for acceptance
of
the plea," noting that the Court would "leave the question
of
whether to accept the plea" untilthe date provisional1y set for sentencing, unless the Court came
to
a decision on the matterearlier. (Tr. 23). With this letter, the Government respectfully requests that the Court nowaccept the plea.Applicable LawFederal Rule
of
Criminal Procedure
I
1 c)(3)(A) provides that where a plea agreementprovides for the dismissal
of
other charges (as
is
the case here), "the court may accept theagreement, reject it, or defer a decision until the court has reviewed the presentence report." Therules further provide that, should
the
Court reject a plea agreement
of
this kind, the defendantmust be provided with an opportunity to withdraw his plea, although the defendant may elect
to
maintain his plea
of
guilty even without the benefits afforded by the rejected plea agreement.Fed.
R.
Crim.
P.
11(c)(5).While
we
have found no Second Circuit cases directly on point,
in
United States
v.
Severino,
800 F.2d 42, 46 (2d Cir. 1986), the Second Circuit,
in
a pre-GuideJines case, stated thata district court may reject a plea
if
it
"has reasonable grounds for believing that acceptance
of
theplea would be contrary
to
the sound administration
of
justice."
See also United States
v.
Torres-Echavarria,
129
F.3d 692, 696 (2d Cir. 1997) (holding that
Severino's
analysis remained goodlaw under the Guidelines). Other Circuits have held that the Government's decision to move todismiss charges
in
exchange for a plea to a lesser charge should be disturbed only where "theaction
of
the prosecuting attorney is such a departure from sound prosecutorial principle as tomark it an abuse
of
discretion."
United States
v.
Ammidown,
497 F.2d 615, 622 (D.C. Cir.
1974);
see also United States
v.
Barker,
681
F.2d 589, 591-92 (9th Cir. 1982) ("The decision tonegotiate a plea bargain and seek dismissal
ofthe
indictment
is
within the executive's undeniablediscretion to decide not
to
pursue a particular prosecution any further
....
We assume the judgealso has a supervisory duty
to
determine, from the standpoint
of
the public interest, afterconsidering the nature
of
the charges and the facts involved, whether reducing the plea
is
sounreasonable that the prosecutor
is
not properly carrying out his function.") (internal citationsand quotation marks omitted);
cf
United States Securities
&
Exchange Commission
v.
CitigroupGlobal Markets, Inc.,
---F.3d ----, 2012 WL 851807 (2d Cir. 2012) ("the scope
of
a court'sauthority to second-guess an agency's discretionary and policy-based decision to settle
is
at bestminimal. ").Discussion
In
this case, the Government's determination not to further prosecute the original chargespending against Campos,
in
return for a plea to a single violation
of
18
U.S.C. § 1306, advancesthe Government's interests and the defendant's interests, constitutes a fair and just resolution
of
the matter, and accords with the sound administration
of
justice. That
is
true for a number
of
reasons enumerated below
in
greater detail.
Case 1:10-cr-00336-LAK Document 174 Filed 04/18/12 Page 2 of 5
 
Hon.
Lewis
A.
KaplanPage
3April 12,2012First, the misdemeanor to which Campos pled,
18
V.S.C.
§
1306, is targeted directly athis particular offense conduct: causing a bank insured by the Federal Deposit InsuranceCorporation
to
process illegal gambling transactions. The stated Congressional purpose for thestatute was "To prohibit certain banks and savings
and
loan associations from fostering orparticipating
in
gambling activities." Pub. Law 90-203 (Dec.
15,
1967). That
is
what thedefendant principally did
in
this case: he used his role as Vice Chairman
of
and consultant toSunFirst Bank("SunFirst") to cause the bank to participate
in
illegal gambling activities.Second, the Guidelines range stipulated by the parties
in
the Plea Agreement
is
effectively the same as the range would have been had the defendant pled guilty to all five felonygambling charges against him
in
the original indictment,
S3
10
Cr. 336. Because the gamblingoffenses were "connected
by
a common criminal objective" andlor "constitut[ed] a commonscheme or plan," a plea to all five gambling counts would have been treated as a single group
of
closely related counts, pursuant to V.S.s.G.
§
3Dt.2(b). The base offense level for the felonygambling counts would have been
12
pursuant to V.S.S.G.
§
2E3.l -precisely the same as
it
is
for the single misdemeanor gambling offense. Thus, with a two-level reduction for acceptance
of
responsibility pursuant to V.S.S.G.
§
3El.1 (a), and an additional two-level reduction for aminor role pursuant to V.S.S.G.
§
3B 1.2(b), the adjusted offense level for either a felony ormisdemeanor gambling offense
is
the same: 8, which results
in
a Guidelines range
of
0-6 monthsimprisonment for a defendant with no criminal history.2Third, the Plea Agreement required the defendant to execute a consent order with theFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation that would bar him from "participating
in
any manner
in
the affairs
of
any depository institution." In other words, the defendant would be barred from thebanking industry for life. Had the defendant pled guilty to, or been convicted of, the felonygambling charges
in
the Indictment, the defendant
may
also have been subject to such a lifetime
ban,3
but obtaining such a ban would have required the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
to
bring a separate proceeding and potentially litigate the issue. Accordingly, securing a lifetimeban from banking
in
connection with the defendant's plea to the misdemeanor charge2 Even a plea to the originally charged money laundering offense would not havesharply altered the Guidelines range. While the Court observed that Campos had been accused
of
(and admitted to
in
connection with the plea) processing over $200 million
in
gamblingtransactions, the base offense level for laundering would not have been based on the dollar value
of
the transactions but on the base offense level for gambling
-level
]2 -because "the defendantcommitted the underlying offense." V.S.S.G.
§
2S
1.1
(a)(2). The base offense level
of
12
wouldbe increased by 2 levels because the conviction would have been under
18
V.S.C.
§
1956
(see
V.S.S.G.
§
2S1.1(b)(2» and possibly a further two levels for "sophisticated laundering"
(see
V.S.S.G.
§
2Sl.l(3»,
resulting in a total offense level
of
16.
With a two-level minor-rolereduction and a two-level reduction for acceptance
of
responsibility, the final offense level would
be
12,
which would have resulted
in
a Guidelines range
of
10-16 months, the low-end
of
whichfalls well within the one-year statutory maximum
in
18
V.S.C.
§
1306.
3
A felony conviction does not automatically trigger a lifetime ban from the bankingindustry, and whether such a ban
is
ultimately imposed depends on various factors under FDICregulations.
Case 1:10-cr-00336-LAK Document 174 Filed 04/18/12 Page 3 of 5

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