USA v. Schultz
Opinion Date: December 20, 2023
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
Between November 2020 and February 2021, Adam Joseph Schultz and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain vehicles using stolen login credentials from car dealerships. They purchased and paid for these vehicles with the dealerships' money and then used the purchase documents to pick up the vehicles. Schultz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was sentenced to 120 months in prison, which he appealed. This case was heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Schultz's appeal was based on two claims: first, that his April 2021 offense of being stopped while driving a stolen vehicle should have been classified as relevant conduct rather than criminal history, and second, he should have received a reduction for a partially completed offense under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. He argued that the April 2021 offense shared similarities with the offense he was convicted for and that the partially completed offense reduction should apply because he intended a larger offense for which he was not charged.
The court rejected both of Schultz's arguments. The court reasoned that the April 2021 offense was not similar enough to the offense of conviction to be classified as relevant conduct, and that the partially completed offense reduction did not apply because Schultz had completed all elements of the charged crime. The court affirmed Schultz's sentence, but remanded the case to the district court to clarify a discrepancy between the oral pronouncement and written judgment regarding whether the sentence would run concurrently or consecutively with any sentences imposed in his state cases.
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