U.S. v. Jaynes, Nos. 95-6009

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore HENRY, Circuit Judge, McKAY, Senior Circuit Judge, and JENKINS; JENKINS
Citation75 F.3d 1493
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Larry Dwight JAYNES and April Marie Jaynes, Defendants-Appellants.
Docket Number95-6026,Nos. 95-6009
Decision Date05 February 1996

Page 1493

75 F.3d 1493
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Larry Dwight JAYNES and April Marie Jaynes, Defendants-Appellants.
Nos. 95-6009, 95-6026.
United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit.
Feb. 5, 1996.

Page 1497

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (D.C. No. CR-94-110-A).

John E. Green, First Assistant United States Attorney (Patrick M. Ryan, United States Attorney, with him on the briefs), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

June E. Tyhurst (Jerome T. Kearney, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant April Marie Jaynes.

Stanley S. Parsons, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on the brief, for Defendant-Appellant Larry Dwight Jaynes. *

Before HENRY, Circuit Judge, McKAY, Senior Circuit Judge, and JENKINS, Senior District Judge. **

JENKINS, Senior District Judge.

The defendants, April Marie Jaynes and Larry Dwight Jaynes, appeal their convictions on charges arising out of April Jaynes's alleged forgery of certain United States Treasury checks. Ms. Jaynes also appeals her sentence. We affirm.

I.

April Jaynes's grandfather, Harry C. Jones, was a guard at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He retired from federal employment in 1971, after about thirty years of service. Under the civil service retirement plan then in effect, he was to receive a monthly annuity. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Jones died, and his wife, Julia A. Jones, continued to receive the annuity checks until her death in September 1986. Apparently, the United States was not informed of Mrs. Jones's death because it continued to send her an annuity check every month, made payable to "Julia A. Jones." Patricia Lue Jones, Julia's daughter and April's mother, cashed the checks, signing Julia's name to them. Pat Jones died in April 1988. April Jaynes then began negotiating the checks. At first, April deposited the checks in her mother's account, but in February or March 1989 she started depositing them in her own account.

In August 1994, the United States filed a three-count indictment against April and her husband, Larry Jaynes. Count one charged the defendants with forging the name of Julia A. Jones on sixty-four United States Treasury checks totaling $21,415 and dated from May 2, 1988, through July 2, 1993, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 510(a)(1) and 2. Count two charged the defendants with unlawfully passing, uttering and publishing the same checks, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 510(a)(2) and 2. Count three charged the defendants with conspiring to forge, utter and publish the sixty-four Treasury checks, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 510(a)(1) and (2).

The case was tried to a jury over two days. At trial, the prosecution introduced ten original checks made out to Julia A. Jones, one dated July 1, 1992, and the rest covering the months from November 1992 through July 1993. They were each endorsed "Julia A. Jones," under which was Ms. Jaynes's signature and account number. Ms. Jaynes admitted writing both names and her account number on the back of the checks. Following Ms. Jaynes's signature on the back of the check dated December 1, 1992 (but not on the back of any of the other ten checks), were the letters "EXT." The government was not able to obtain original checks for the entire period covered by the indictment. It

Page 1498

offered copies of checks dated from January 2, 1987, through August 2, 1993, but many of the copies were illegible, and the trial court did not admit them into evidence. However, the court admitted without objection a list describing the checks.

With respect to the checks that were admitted, the district court, sua sponte, pointed out to the jury that the checks appeared to have a double endorsement--an endorsement by Mrs. Jones, who was dead, and an endorsement by Ms. Jaynes. The court told the jury that it could conclude from its examination of the checks (but did not have to conclude) that there were two different handwritings on the checks. Counsel for Ms. Jaynes moved for a mistrial on the grounds that the court had improperly commented on the evidence, effectively gutting Ms. Jaynes's good-faith defense, by suggesting a theory of deception that the prosecution had not claimed, namely, that Ms. Jaynes had signed her grandmother's name to the checks to make it appear that her grandmother had endorsed the checks. The court denied the motion.

At the close of the government's case, the defendants moved for a judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29, and they renewed that motion after the jury had retired but before it began its deliberations. The court denied the motion.

April Jaynes was convicted on all three counts of the indictment and sentenced to a prison term of thirteen months plus three years' supervised release on each count, the sentences to run concurrently. Larry Jaynes was acquitted on counts one and two but convicted on count three and was sentenced to six months in prison. Both defendants have appealed. Ms. Jaynes appeals both her conviction and her sentence; Mr. Jaynes appeals only his conviction. The appeals were consolidated. We shall address each in turn.

II.

APRIL JAYNES'S APPEAL

A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

April Jaynes claims that there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction for forgery, uttering and conspiracy.

In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we review the record de novo and consider all the evidence--both direct and circumstantial--and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from it in the light most favorable to the government. United States v. Hooks, 780 F.2d 1526, 1531 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1128, 106 S.Ct. 1657, 90 L.Ed.2d 199 (1986). We must determine whether a reasonable jury could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. See, e.g., United States v. Williamson, 53 F.3d 1500, 1514 (10th Cir.) (citations omitted), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 116 S.Ct. 218, 133 L.Ed.2d 149 (1995). Put another way, the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction if no reasonable juror could have reached the challenged verdict. Id. (citation omitted). The evidence necessary to support a verdict "need not conclusively exclude every other reasonable hypothesis and need not negate all possibilities except guilt." United States v. Parrish, 925 F.2d 1293, 1297 (10th Cir.1991) (citations omitted). It only has to "reasonably support the jury's finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. In reviewing a conviction for sufficiency of the evidence, we cannot weigh conflicting evidence or the credibility of witnesses since "that duty is exclusively delegated to the jury." United States v. Davis, 965 F.2d 804, 811 (10th Cir.1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 910, 113 S.Ct. 1255, 122 L.Ed.2d 653 (1993). We must "accept the jury's resolution of the evidence as long as it is within the bounds of reason." Grubbs v. Hannigan, 982 F.2d 1483 (10th Cir.1993) (citations omitted). In viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, "we necessarily resolve any conflicts in the evidence in favor of the government" and assume the jury "found that evidence credible." Williamson, 53 F.3d at 1516.

Ms. Jaynes argues that her conviction was not supported by the evidence because there was insufficient evidence of any intent to defraud. An intent to defraud is a necessary element of each count charged in the

Page 1499

indictment. 1 Ms. Jaynes claims that she lacked the requisite intent to defraud because her mother had told her and she believed that the checks were an inheritance from her grandfather and because she made no effort to hide her negotiation of the checks but openly signed her own name on the checks and deposited them into her own account. She claims the evidence showed only an honest mistake regarding her entitlement to the payments, not an intent to defraud the United States.

"An intent to defraud the United States may be shown by an act which the actor knows will interfere with the government's regular payment of funds to a lawful recipient." United States v. Price, 795 F.2d 61, 63 (10th Cir.1986). An intent to defraud can be inferred from circumstantial evidence. See id. Signing a check in a name other than one's real name tends to establish fraudulent intent. United States v. Crim, 527 F.2d 289, 294 (10th Cir.1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 905, 96 S.Ct. 1497, 47 L.Ed.2d 755 (1976).

Although Ms. Jaynes testified that she honestly thought she was entitled to the annuity checks and did not intend to defraud anyone, the jury was not required to believe her. See, e.g., United States v. Hager, 969 F.2d 883, 888 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 964, 113 S.Ct. 437, 121 L.Ed.2d 357 (1992). There was sufficient circumstantial evidence from which a reasonable jury could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Jaynes had the intent to defraud the United States. For example, Ms. Jaynes's husband and Jamie Anglin, Ms. Jaynes's sister, both stated that they knew it was wrong to cash the checks, and Ms. Anglin testified that she told her sister so. Ms. Jaynes herself told Mr. Kingry, the Secret Service agent investigating the case, that she thought it was wrong when she took and deposited the checks. In her written statement to the Secret Service, Ms. Jaynes stated that she did not think it was the correct thing to do and thought it was most likely unlawful but hoped that it wasn't. Yet, by her own admission, she did nothing to determine whether or not she was entitled to keep the annuity checks until 1992 or 1993, when she called the Treasury Department but gave up after being put on hold. Such willful ignorance in the face of an admitted suspicion that what she was doing was wrong is the equivalent of guilty knowledge, and the jury could reasonably infer that her ignorance "was motivated by sufficient guilty knowledge to constitute intent." See United...

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  • United States v. Leal, No. CR 16-3308 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 29, 2018
    ...continuing offense." United States v. Acosta-Gallardo, 656 F.3d 1109, 1122 (10th Cir. 2011) (quoting United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1505 (10th Cir. 1996) ). " ‘A conspirator is only liable for the acts of co-conspirators until the conspiracy accomplished its goals or that ......
  • U.S. v. Sunia, Criminal Action No. 07-225 (RBW).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • August 11, 2009
    ...Id. This Court finds no basis to depart from the well-reasoned analysis of Yashar. As the Tenth Circuit noted in United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493 (10th Cir.1996), "a continuing offense is not the same as a scheme or pattern of illegal conduct," id. at 1506. The purpose of the......
  • U.S. v. Hunt, No. 05-6023.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2006
    ...argument — essentially, that to avoid liability the instrument must be signed by an agent, as an agent — in United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1500-01 (10th Cir. 1996) (construing 18 U.S.C. § 510(a)), where the defendant endorsed a series of treasury checks payable to her deceased grand......
  • U.S. v. Anderson, No. 98-20030-01-JWL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • July 21, 1999
    ...the statute of limitations critical date in July 1993. See 18 U.S.C. § 3282 (5 year statute of limitations); United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1506 (10th Cir.1996); 18 U.S.C. § 2 (aiding and abetting 12. Although Mr. Eckard testified that the pressure to comply with the contract was ev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
50 cases
  • United States v. Leal, No. CR 16-3308 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 29, 2018
    ...continuing offense." United States v. Acosta-Gallardo, 656 F.3d 1109, 1122 (10th Cir. 2011) (quoting United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1505 (10th Cir. 1996) ). " ‘A conspirator is only liable for the acts of co-conspirators until the conspiracy accomplished its goals or that ......
  • U.S. v. Sunia, Criminal Action No. 07-225 (RBW).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • August 11, 2009
    ...Id. This Court finds no basis to depart from the well-reasoned analysis of Yashar. As the Tenth Circuit noted in United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493 (10th Cir.1996), "a continuing offense is not the same as a scheme or pattern of illegal conduct," id. at 1506. The purpose of the......
  • U.S. v. Hunt, No. 05-6023.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • August 9, 2006
    ...argument — essentially, that to avoid liability the instrument must be signed by an agent, as an agent — in United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1500-01 (10th Cir. 1996) (construing 18 U.S.C. § 510(a)), where the defendant endorsed a series of treasury checks payable to her deceased grand......
  • U.S. v. Anderson, No. 98-20030-01-JWL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • July 21, 1999
    ...the statute of limitations critical date in July 1993. See 18 U.S.C. § 3282 (5 year statute of limitations); United States v. Jaynes, 75 F.3d 1493, 1506 (10th Cir.1996); 18 U.S.C. § 2 (aiding and abetting 12. Although Mr. Eckard testified that the pressure to comply with the contract was ev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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