US v. Ivan Hrcka

Filing 920100622

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-4919 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. IVAN HRCKA, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., Chief District Judge. (3:08-cr-00225-RJC-DCK-1) Submitted: June 3, 2010 Decided: June 22, 2010 Before WILKINSON, KING, and GREGORY, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Claire J. Rauscher, Executive Director, Matthew R. Segal, Assistant Federal Defender, FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, INC., Asheville, North Carolina, for Appellant. Edward R. Ryan, United States Attorney, Mark A. Jones, Assistant United States Attorney, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Ivan Hrcka was convicted of one count of knowingly possessing a passport with a false entry stamp, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1546(a) presenting (2006) a (Count with One), a and one entry count stamp of in knowingly passport false support of an immigration application, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1546(a) (Count Two). Hrcka claims the evidence was insufficient to support Count One because his possession was not knowing and the evidence supporting Count Two was insufficient because the false entry stamp was not material. claims and affirm. When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the We reject both evidence, this court considers whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, was sufficient for any rational trier of fact to have found the essential Glasser v. elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80 (1942); United States v. Stewart, 256 F.3d 231, 250 (4th Cir. 2001). If substantial evidence Glasser, 315 exists to support a verdict, it must be sustained. U.S. at 80. This court does not review the credibility of witnesses and assumes the factfinder resolved all contradictions in the testimony in favor of the Government. Sun, 278 F.3d 302, 313 (4th Cir. 2002). United States v. "[A]n appellate court's reversal of a conviction on grounds of insufficient evidence 2 should be confined to cases where the prosecution's failure is clear." United States v. Jones, 735 F.2d 785, 791 (4th Cir. 1984) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). 18 U.S.C. 1546 criminalizes the fraudulent use of visas, permits and other documents. the statute criminalizes with . . knowingly to With respect to Count Two, subscribing a material as true in "any any such false statement . respect or fact application knowingly present[ing] any application, affidavit, or other document containing any such false statement." 18 U.S.C. 1546 (emphasis added). A falsehood is material if it has a natural tendency to influence the decisions of the decision maker. Kungys v. United States, 485 U.S. 759, 772 (1988); see also United States v. Wu, 419 F.3d 142, 144 (2d Cir. 2005). clear error. We review a finding of materiality for See United States v. Garcia-Ochoa, __ F.3d __, No. 09-4620(L), slip op. at 7 (4th Cir. June 11, 2010). We find Hrcka's false entry stamp on his passport was clearly material as it was capable of influencing immigration officials seeking. and bringing Hrcka closer to the relief he was See Wu, 419 F.3d at 144-46; see also Garcia-Ochoa, No. 09-4620(L), slip op. at 11 ("[F]alse reporting of information deemed important by the legislature and executive cannot lightly be deemed unimportant by the courts."). As was held in United States v. Sebaggala, 256 F.3d 59, 65 (1st Cir. 2001), "if a 3 statement could have provoked governmental action, it is material regardless of whether the agency actually relied upon it." Similarly, this court has stated that "a finding of materiality is not dependant upon whether the fact finder was actually influenced by a defendant's false statements." States v. Sarihifard, 155 F.3d 301, 307 (4th Cir. United 1998). Because the false entry stamp was material, we find there was sufficient evidence supporting Count Two. We likewise find, with respect to Count One, sufficient evidence supporting the finding that Hrcka knowingly possessed an improperly altered document. Accordingly, we affirm the convictions and sentence. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 4

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