United States v. Anthony

Decision Date31 October 2019
Docket NumberNo. 18-6047,18-6047
Citation942 F.3d 955
Parties UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. Curtis A. ANTHONY, Defendant - Appellant, The Human Trafficking Institute, Amicus Curiae.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit

Dean Sanderford, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.

K. McKenzie Anderson, Assistant United States Attorney, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before MATHESON, EBEL, and PHILLIPS, Circuit Judges.

PHILLIPS, Circuit Judge.

A jury convicted Curtis A. Anthony of child-sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit child-sex trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1), (b)(2), (c) and 1594(c). The district court sentenced Anthony to the statutory mandatory-minimum 10 years’ imprisonment and ordered that he pay restitution to the two child victims—R.W. and M.M—in the amount of $327,013.50 and $308,233.50, respectively. On appeal, Anthony contends that these amounts exceed actual losses resulting from his two offenses of conviction. He raises two issues with the restitution order: (i) that it impermissibly compensates harms that R.W. suffered from an earlier, unrelated sex-trafficking criminal enterprise run by a different wrongdoer; and (ii) that, for his conspiracy count, it compensates R.W.’s and M.M.’s harms beyond a smaller conspiracy proved at trial (a subset of the broad, charged conspiracy). We agree with Anthony on both issues, but we disagree that he has established plain error on the second issue. Thus, exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a), we affirm the district court’s restitution order as covering the broad, charged conspiracy, but we vacate the order and remand for a recalculation of losses to ensure that no restitution is awarded for harms that R.W. suffered during the earlier sex-trafficking offense.


In May and June 2014, when R.W. was 14 years old, a pimp named William Johnson prostituted her in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area. William pleaded guilty in 2015 to a federal charge of sex trafficking a minor, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison, and was ordered to pay R.W. $900,000 in restitution. See Amended Judgment, United States v. Johnson , No. CR 14-0341-F (W.D. Okla. Jan. 13, 2016), ECF No. 83. In a victim-impact statement prepared for that case, R.W. reported that William had taken her virginity, had "beat the mess out of" her, and had "brainwashed" her "into practically being a slave." ROA vol. 2 at 70. R.W. described the psychological effects of this abuse, including her not "know[ing] how to act around people [her] age" and feeling "no worth whatsoever." Id. at 71. R.W. also reported numerous symptoms of psychological trauma such as nightmares, fear for her safety, fear of being alone, fear of adults and strangers, anxiety, depression, anger, crying spells, and feelings of helplessness.

On October 8, 2014, after law-enforcement officers rescued R.W., and she had returned home, she received Facebook messages from another pimp, Maurice M. Johnson (no relation to William) and one of his adult prostitutes, Chelsee A. Griffin, offering to pick her up to "make money." Id. vol. 3 at 345. After midnight on October 9, Maurice picked up R.W., photographed her, and had a longtime associate, Tonya Gay Gum, post the photos on websites advertising escort services. For a share of the escort revenue, Gum operated a "call center" with over twenty publicly listed phone numbers—all of which forwarded to two personal cell phones—through which she fielded requests for sexual services and arranged for escorts to meet with customers. Id. at 38–39. After using these services to traffic R.W. for about two weeks, Maurice had her recruit her friend, 15-year-old M.M., to work as a prostitute. M.M. did so for about a week before law enforcement halted the operation. In their time with Maurice, R.W. and M.M. together brought in about $40,000 from prostitution.

On the evening of October 24, 2014, Anthony called one of Gum’s escort lines. Anthony stated only that he was "looking for company" at his office. See id. at 254–55. Gum sent R.W. to the office, but when she arrived, Anthony couldn’t locate his wallet, so he and R.W. drove to an ATM to withdraw cash for the transaction. But Anthony was unable to make a withdrawal without his wallet, so R.W. left with Maurice, who had followed them to the ATM along with M.M., Griffin, and two others. Minutes later, while the group was heading back, Anthony called again and asked for R.W. to return because he had located his wallet and now had cash. Maurice turned around and drove R.W. back to Anthony’s office, this time sending M.M. in with her. Anthony paid the girls to strip naked, touched their bodies, and stated that he wanted to finish "the date with M.M." Id. at 443. So R.W. gave M.M. a condom and waited outside while M.M. and Anthony had sex for money.

On October 27, 2014, law-enforcement officers, while running an undercover-sting operation, located and rescued R.W. and M.M. Maurice had kept the girls in a hotel room where he forced them into commercial sex transactions. He and Gum split the proceeds. Maurice used psychological manipulation, threats of force, and physical abuse to control the girls. As R.W. later testified, Maurice had treated her "[l]ike a slave, basically." Id. at 446. Griffin also testified that Maurice was a violent and dangerous man.

On June 16, 2015, a federal grand jury sitting in the Western District of Oklahoma indicted Anthony on child-sex-trafficking charges. On January 6, 2016, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Anthony with: (i) child-sex trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1), (b)(2), and (c) ; and (ii) conspiracy to commit child-sex trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c).1 The superseding indictment named as coconspirators Anthony and two other adult customers—Trung N. Duong and William M. Baker, both of whom pleaded guilty—who had paid R.W. for sexual services. None of the three men knew each other. Gum—who had pleaded guilty to the original indictment—was named as an unindicted coconspirator. Maurice was prosecuted in a separate action. See United States v. Johnson , No. 14-CR-0342-C-1 (W.D. Okla. Aug. 6, 2019).

The superseding indictment alleged a conspiracy spanning the time that R.W. had spent with Maurice—from October 8 to 27, 2014. The conspiracy’s charged objective was "to operate and perpetuate a prostitution enterprise that recruited, enticed, provided, obtained, and maintained minors."2 ROA vol. 1 at 65. The enterprise allegedly benefited Maurice and Gum financially and benefited Duong, Baker, and Anthony by enabling them to complete commercial sex transactions.3 With R.W.’s and M.M.’s prostitution earnings, Gum funded her escort business, and Maurice recruited and controlled his prostitutes. The superseding indictment alleged as specific "acts in furtherance of the conspiracy" (i) Maurice’s recruitment of R.W. (but not M.M.); (ii) Maurice’s making R.W. available to Gum as a prostitute; and (iii) Gum’s arranging the commercial sex transactions for Duong, Baker, and Anthony. See id. at 67–70.

In mid-June 2017, Anthony went to trial. Both R.W. and M.M. testified as government witnesses, as did Maurice, Gum, and Duong. Gum testified that, in October 2014, she fielded over 10,000 calls on her escort phone lines scheduling commercial sex appointments. She testified about sending R.W. on four calls during the alleged conspiracy: once to Baker, twice to Duong, and once to Anthony. Maurice, meanwhile, testified that he would meet Gum five to six times on a normal workday to give her proceeds from completed appointments.4

After the close of the government’s case-in-chief, Anthony orally moved for a general judgment of acquittal under Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The district court reserved decision until after the close of all the evidence, at which point it denied the motion for the substantive trafficking count. The next day, the court denied the motion for the conspiracy count. Anthony did not renew his Rule 29 motion at the end of trial.

On June 19, 2017, the jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts. On September 18, 2017, the government moved for restitution awards totaling $530,000 for R.W. and $510,000 for M.M., including $300,000 each for a lifetime of psychological treatment, $200,000 each for a lifetime of lost income, and $30,000 for R.W. and $10,000 for M.M. for Maurice and Gum’s ill-gotten gains. The government requested that the district court hold the coconspirators jointly and severally liable for the full amounts. See 18 U.S.C. § 3664(h).

The government submitted victim-impact statements to support its request for restitution. For R.W., it submitted her statement from William’s case and a statement about psychological trauma resulting from the instant conspiracy. In the latter statement, R.W. expressed that she "look[s] at men very different" and is "scared that all men are like this." ROA vol. 2 at 67. She further reported experiencing the same symptoms of psychological trauma that she had reported in William’s case. For M.M., the government submitted a declaration from M.M.’s guardian ad litem attesting that M.M.’s encounter with Anthony "made her feel less than human, humiliated and ashamed." Id. at 108. She also attested that M.M. now experiences trouble concentrating and sleeping, nightmares, and feelings of shame, sadness, and anger.

On October 24, 2017, the district court sentenced Anthony to the statutory mandatory-minimum term of ten years’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years’ supervised release. At the hearing, the court stated that, though it was "not entering an order of restitution at this time," it intended to order "joint and several" restitution among the coconspirators. Id. vol. 3A at 56. Anthony waived his right to attend any future restitution hearing.

On December 11, 2017, in a one-page...

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16 cases
  • United States v. Anthony
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • February 8, 2022
    ...appeal in part, vacated the restitution order, and remanded for a recalculation of the restitution amount. See United States v. Anthony , 942 F.3d 955 (10th Cir. 2019).On June 8, 2020, while the remanded restitution proceedings were pending, Anthony filed another motion under § 2255 to vaca......
  • United States v. Maynard
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • December 31, 2020
    ...result, we have held that a district court need not calculate restitution under the MVRA "with exact precision." United States v. Anthony , 942 F.3d 955, 970 (10th Cir. 2020) (quotation marks omitted). We are therefore not convinced that the district court "plainly" erred by failing to prec......
  • United States v. Benally
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • December 13, 2021
    ...MVRA, 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(2), and we have held that the MVRA and the VWPA employ "the same causation standard." United States v. Anthony , 942 F.3d 955, 964 n.6 (10th Cir. 2019). Consequently, the district court would have, in determining whether J.G. qualified as a "victim" of the offense ......
  • United States v. Anthony
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • February 8, 2022
    ...appeal in part, vacated the restitution order, and remanded for 3 a recalculation of the restitution amount. See United States v. Anthony, 942 F.3d 955 (10th Cir. 2019). On June 8, 2020, while the remanded restitution proceedings were pending, Anthony filed another motion under § 2255 to va......
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1 books & journal articles
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    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...court failed to consider conduct beyond count of conviction in setting restitution for defendant’s wire fraud scheme); U.S. v. Anthony, 942 F.3d 955, 974 (10th Cir. 2019) (restitution invalid because court used indictment for broader conspiracy when government only proved defendant was guil......

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