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United States v. Huston

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 7, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Troy Allen Huston, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Chad Arthur Anderson, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted October 25, 2013

Page 590

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (13-1355): James Lackner, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN; David J. MacLaughlin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

For Troy Allen Huston, Defendant - Appellant (13-1355): Glenn P. Bruder, MITCHELL & BRUDER, Bloomington, MN.

Troy Allen Huston, Defendant - Appellant (13-1355), Pro se, Chisago City, MN.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee, (13-1372): James Lackner, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN; David J. MacLaughlin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Chad Arthur Anderson, Defendant - Appellant (13-1372), Pro se, Duluth, MN.

For Chad Arthur Anderson, Defendant - Appellant (13-1372): Katherine M. Menendez, Assistant Federal Public Defender, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, Minneapolis, MN.

Before LOKEN, GRUENDER, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 591

LOKEN, Circuit Judge.

Charged with conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud by means of interstate wire communication in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 371 and 1343, Troy Allen Huston and Chad Arthur Anderson pleaded guilty. The district court[1] sentenced Huston to 57 months in prison, the bottom of his advisory guidelines range, and Anderson, whose range was higher, to the statutory maximum of 60 months. Huston and Anderson appeal their sentences. Each argues that the district court procedurally erred by imposing a two-level enhancement for use of sophisticated means, and that his sentence is substantively unreasonable. We consolidated the appeals and now affirm.

The plea agreements and Presentence Investigation Reports described the fraud conspiracy. Huston was a branch manager and Anderson a loan officer at Prestige Mortgage in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Huston, Anderson, and conspirator Robert Keelin recruited straw buyers to purchase homes in the Twin Cities area at inflated prices, using corrupt appraisals to secure mortgage loans. One entity controlled by the conspirators fraudulently invoiced title companies for property management services and distributed loan proceeds to the conspirators and kickbacks to the straw buyers without the knowledge or consent of the mortgage lenders. Another entity owned by Huston falsely received ...


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