United States v. Camick

Citation796 F.3d 1206,115 U.S.P.Q.2d 1832
Decision Date31 July 2015
Docket NumberNo. 14–3089.,14–3089.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Leslie Lyle CAMICK, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit

796 F.3d 1206
115 U.S.P.Q.2d 1832

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee
v.
Leslie Lyle CAMICK, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 14–3089.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

July 31, 2015.


796 F.3d 1209

Melody Brannon Evans, Federal Public Defender, Topeka, KS, (John K. Henderson, Jr., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Wichita, KS, with her on the briefs), for Defendant–Appellant.

Brent I. Anderson, Assistant United States Attorney (Barry R. Grissom, United States Attorney, with him on the brief), Wichita, KS, for Plaintiff–Appellee.

Before KELLY, TYMKOVICH, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

796 F.3d 1210

McHUGH, Circuit Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Leslie Lyle Camick was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud, material false statement to the U.S. Patent Office, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and obstruction of justice, all stemming from his unlawful use of his deceased brother's name and identity. Following his conviction and sentencing, Mr. Camick was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $15,186. On appeal, he argues the evidence was insufficient to convict him on each count. He also challenges the district court's restitution determination. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we reverse Mr. Camick's convictions for mail fraud, wire fraud, material false statement, and aggravated identity theft, as well as portions of the restitution award. But we affirm the conviction for obstruction of justice.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Mr. Camick's Identity Theft

Mr. Camick, a citizen of Canada, entered the United States in July 2000 using the identity of his deceased brother, Wayne Bradly Camick. He adopted his brother's identity to avoid paying back taxes and child support in Canada and to evade the legal consequence of the permanent revocation of his Canadian driver's license due to numerous driving-while-intoxicated offenses.

To implement his change of identity, Mr. Camick obtained a copy of his brother's birth certificate1 and a Canadian social insurance card (comparable to a U.S. social security card) in his brother's name. Mr. Camick used these documents when he entered the United States in 2000. Once in the United States, Mr. Camick obtained a Vermont driver's license bearing his photograph but the name and birth date of his brother. Mr. Camick thus assumed the identity of Wayne Bradly Camick throughout his time in the United States.

B. Mr. Camick and Ms. Wattley's Relationship

In 2004, Mr. Camick became professionally and romantically involved with Lyn Wattley.2 Mr. Camick and Ms. Wattley's business eventually took them to Winfield, Kansas, where they decided to buy a home. Only Ms. Wattley's money was used to purchase the home, but both her name and Wayne Camick's name were listed as the buyers on the real estate purchase contract. And both she and Mr. Camick signed the contract, with Mr. Camick's signature appearing as “WBC.” The deed to the property showed Ms. Wattley and Wayne Camick as the owners.

C. The Provisional Patent Application

In 2010, Mr. Camick and Ms. Wattley, along with machine welder Mark Nelson, began work on an idea Mr. Camick had for securing manhole covers. The three created prototypes and wrote technical descriptions of the invention in anticipation of obtaining a U.S. patent. A company Ms. Wattley owned, KaiTraxx LLC, paid the costs associated with the project.

In 2011, Mr. Camick and Ms. Wattley's relationship began to deteriorate. During

796 F.3d 1211

that time, Mr. Camick hired a patent lawyer and filed a provisional patent application for the locking manhole cover (the Provisional Patent Application or Application) without Ms. Wattley's knowledge. Mr. Camick filed the Application electronically under the name Wayne Camick. This Provisional Patent Application is the subject of the wire fraud, material false statement, and two of the aggravated identity theft counts against Mr. Camick.

D. The Allegedly Stolen Truck

In the summer of 2011, Mr. Camick drove to Arizona in a 2006 GMC truck that he had paid for but that was titled and insured in Ms. Wattley's name. Ms. Wattley became concerned about having her name on the truck's title and insurance because Mr. Camick had a history of drunk driving. She wanted Mr. Camick to return the truck's Kansas license plates and to transfer title to his name. When Mr. Camick proved uncooperative, Ms. Wattley explained the situation to the Winfield County Police Department, and the police department issued a stolen vehicle report. A few days later, Mr. Camick was arrested in New Mexico for theft of the truck. Ms. Wattley then traveled to New Mexico, recovered the truck, and transferred ownership of it to an associate of Mr. Camick. After title had been transferred, Ms. Wattley called the district attorney's office in Deming, New Mexico, and requested that the theft charges against Mr. Camick be dropped. The Deming district attorney's office subsequently dropped the New Mexico charges, but the Kansas warrant for the stolen vehicle remained outstanding.

E. The New Jersey Arrest and Discovery of Mr. Camick's True Identity

Toward the end of 2011, Mr. Camick's charade unraveled, beginning with his New Jersey arrest in October of that year.3 While booked in a New Jersey jail, Mr. Camick was interviewed by U.S. Immigration Officer Jackey He to ascertain his immigration status. Mr. Camick signed a sworn statement in which he attested that his true and correct name was “Camick, Wayne Bradly” and responded “no” to the question whether he had used any other names. Officer He noticed several discrepancies in Mr. Camick's responses and directed him to report to the U.S. Immigration Office upon release. Mr. Camick reported to the U.S. Immigration Office as directed and eventually admitted to Officer He that his real name is Leslie Lyle Camick. Mr. Camick then signed a second sworn statement admitting he had used his deceased brother's identity to enter the United States and had assumed that identity while he resided here. He also admitted to owing back taxes and child support in Canada and to having multiple Canadian traffic offenses. Mr. Camick was then placed under arrest, and Officer He instigated removal proceedings against him.

F. The Quiet Title Action

As a result of the arrest, Ms. Wattley discovered that the man she had known as Wayne Bradly Camick was really Leslie Lyle Camick. Ms. Wattley initiated a quiet title action to remove the name Wayne Camick from the title to the Kansas

796 F.3d 1212

home. She served Mr. Camick with the petition while he was in custody at the immigration detention center in New Jersey, but he failed to respond within thirty days, as required under Kansas law. The Kansas state court therefore filed a journal entry quieting title in the property against Wayne Camick and in favor of Ms. Wattley.

More than a month after the court filed the journal entry and after having been released from custody on bond, Mr. Camick submitted a response to the quiet title action with the Kansas state court. In his response, Mr. Camick claimed he was the owner of the subject property, he had purchased it, and he was detained by immigration officials and therefore was unable to timely answer the petition and otherwise denied all of the claims in the petition. Mr. Camick signed the response “Wayne Camick” and swore that “all statements contained therein are true and correct.”

The Kansas court thereafter sent Mr. Camick a letter explaining that his response did not comply with Kansas law and was untimely. The letter instructed Mr. Camick that if he wished to change anything in the case, he should speak with an attorney “to determine what rights, if any” he might have in the matter. Two months later, Mr. Camick mailed the Kansas court another letter (the Quiet Title Letter). In the Quiet Title Letter, Mr. Camick continued to identify himself as Wayne Camick and stated that he had been unable to file a timely response to the quiet title petition because he had been “wrongfully detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement” as a result of “a falsified Police report filed by Ms. Wattley.” Mr. Camick made no reference to his true identity. The Quiet Title Letter is the basis of the mail fraud charge and one aggravated identity theft charge.

G. Mr. Camick's Civil Rights Lawsuit

Mr. Camick was indicted in this case in March 2013 and released on bond after a bond review hearing. As a condition of bond, the district court ordered Mr. Camick to “avoid all contact, directly or indirectly, with any person who is or may be a victim or witness in the investigation or prosecution, including ... any...

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