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United States v. Ryan

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 25, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
MATTHEW JOHN RYAN, Defendant-Appellant

Submitted October 23, 2015

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.

On appeal from an October 12, 2011 judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Norman A. Mordue, Judge) sentencing defendant-appellant Matthew John Ryan principally to a term of imprisonment of 121 months, Ryan challenges the District Court's calculation of the number of victims of his crime and the substantive reasonableness of his sentence. We conclude that there was no error, as the District Court properly counted each married couple jointly holding investments as two individual " victims" within the meaning of that term as used in Section 2B1.1(b)(2) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, and the sentence was not substantively unreasonable under the circumstances. We therefore AFFIRM; but the cause is REMANDED to the District Court for the sole purpose of making ministerial corrections to the first page of the amended judgment by deleting the reference to 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and changing " 78(j)(b); (ff)" to " 78j(b); 78ff."

Ransom Reynolds, Steven D. Clymer, Assistant United States Attorneys, for Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse, NY, for Appellee.

David J. Taffany, Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, PLLC, Latham, NY, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before: KEARSE, WALKER, and CABRANES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 692

José A. Cabranes, Circuit Judge

Defendant-appellant Matthew John Ryan (" Ryan" ) has appealed from an October 12, 2011 judgment of the District Court sentencing him principally to a term of imprisonment of 121 months following his February 22, 2011 guilty plea to one count of securities fraud in violation of 15 U.S.C. § § 78j(b) and 78ff, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5, and 18 U.S.C. § 2. The District Court incorporated that punishment into an amended judgment, dated March 3, 2015, and entered May 1, 2015 (the " May 1, 2015 amended judgment" ), from which Ryan has not filed a second notice of appeal. Because we held his original appeal in abeyance pending completion of the restitution proceedings that resulted in the amended judgment,[1] and because the amended judgment supersedes the original judgment, we treat Ryan's appeal as a

Page 693

challenge to so much of the amended judgment as sentenced him to 121 months' imprisonment.[2]

Ryan raises two arguments on appeal. First, he argues that the District Court erred in determining that his offense involved 50 or more victims. Second, he argues that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts, the procedural history of the case, and the issues on appeal.

We begin with Ryan's first argument. " [A] trial judge in the federal judicial system generally has wide discretion in determining what sentence to impose." United States v. Tucker, 404 U.S. 443, 446, 92 S.Ct. 589, 30 L.Ed.2d 592 (1972); see also United States v. Corsey, 723 F.3d 366, 374 (2d Cir. 2013) (noting that district courts enjoy " broad discretion" in sentencing " because they are [ ] better positioned institutionally to determine the appropriate sentence in a particular case" ). " [B]efore making that determination, a judge may appropriately conduct an inquiry broad in scope, largely unlimited either as to the kind of information he may consider, or the source from which it may come." Tucker, 404 U.S. at 446; accord Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151, 2163 n.6, 186 L.Ed.2d 314 (2013) (same); U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 6A1.3(a) (U.S. Sentencing Comm'n 2010) (" 2010 Guidelines" ) (" In resolving any dispute concerning a factor important to the sentencing determination, the court may consider relevant information without regard to its admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable at trial, provided that the information has sufficient indicia of reliability to support its probable accuracy." ). Additionally, at sentencing, " the district court may make credibility determinations which this Court will not disturb unless clearly erroneous." United States v. McLean, 287 F.3d 127, 133 (2d Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also United States v. Guang, 511 F.3d 110, 123 (2d Cir. 2007) (" We give strong deference to findings based on credibility determinations." ).

At the time of Ryan's sentencing, Section 2B1.1(b)(2)(B) of the United States Sentencing Guidelines (the " Guidelines" ) provided that, " [i]f the [defendant's] offense . . . involved 50 or more victims, [the offense level should be] increase[d] by 4 levels." 2010 Guidelines § 2B1.1(b)(2)(B); see also United States v. Lacey, 699 F.3d 710, 714 (2d Cir. 2012); United States v. Gonzalez, 647 F.3d 41, 61 (2d Cir. 2011).[3] The ...


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