US v. Stephen Field


UNPUBLISHED AUTHORED OPINION filed. Originating case number: 2:12-cr-00105-RAJ-DEM-3 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [999596742].. [13-4711, 13-4818, 13-4863]

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Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 1 of 10 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 13-4711 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff – Appellee, v. STEPHEN G. FIELDS, Defendant – Appellant. No. 13-4818 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff – Appellee, v. TROY BRANDON WOODARD, Defendant – Appellant. No. 13-4863 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff – Appellee, v. Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 2 of 10 EDWARD J. WOODARD, Defendant – Appellant. Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Norfolk. Raymond A. Jackson, District Judge. (2:12-cr-00105-RAJ-DEM-3; 2:12-cr-00105-RAJ-DEM-4; 2:12cr-00105-RAJ-DEM-1) Argued: May 13, 2015 Decided: June 5, 2015 Before MOTZ, SHEDD, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished opinion. Judge Shedd wrote the opinion, in which Judge Motz and Judge Diaz joined. ARGUED: Eugene Victor Gorokhov, BURNHAM & GOROKHOV, PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Andrew Michael Sacks, SACKS & SACKS, Norfolk, Virginia; James Brian Donnelly, J. BRIAN DONNELLY, P.C., Virginia Beach, Virginia, for Appellants. Katherine Lee Martin, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Ziran Zhang, BURNHAM & GOROKHOV, PLLC, Washington, D.C., for Appellant Stephen G. Fields. Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, Melissa E. O'Boyle, Uzo E. Asonye, Assistant United States Attorneys, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Norfolk, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. 2 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 3 of 10 SHEDD, Circuit Judge: In this appeal, Stephen G. Fields, Edward J. Woodard, and Troy Brandon Woodard raise a host of evidentiary and procedural challenges to their convictions following a ten week jury trial for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. challenges his sentence. Troy Brandon Woodard also For the reasons that follow, we affirm the convictions and sentence. I. The Bank of the Commonwealth (“the Bank”) was a community bank with branches throughout southeastern Virginia and coastal North Carolina. its longtime Fields was Officer. Appellant Edward Woodard (“Woodard”) served as Chief its Executive Executive Appellant Troy Officer, Vice and President Brandon Appellant and Woodard Stephen Commercial Loan (“Brandon”) was Woodard’s son and a Vice President of the Bank’s wholly-owned mortgage loan subsidiary. The Bank failed in 2008, and the FDIC, serving as the Bank’s receiver, sustained approximately $333 million in losses. On December 20, 2012, a federal grand jury returned a 26count indictment charging Woodard, Fields, Brandon, and two additional defendants, who are not parties to this appeal, with a massive bank fraud conspiracy and various financial crimes arising therefrom. The indictment alleged that the objectives 3 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 4 of 10 of the conspiracy were to hide the true financial condition of the Bank and to benefit the conspirators at the Bank’s expense. The trial began on March 19, 2013 and lasted approximately ten weeks. The government called 48 witnesses and entered over 600 exhibits into evidence. The defendants called 44 witnesses and entered over 400 exhibits. All five defendants testified on their own behalf. After deliberating for four days, guilty verdict against the Appellants. the jury returned a Woodard was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1349; making a false entry in a bank record under 18 U.S.C. § 1005; four counts of unlawful participation in a loan under 18 U.S.C. § 1005; two counts of making a false statement to a financial institution under 18 U.S.C. § 1014; two counts of misapplication of bank funds under 18 U.S.C. § 656; and bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Fields was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1349; two counts of making a false entry in a bank record under 18 U.S.C. § 1005; making a false statement to a financial institution under 18 U.S.C. § 1014; and two counts of misapplication of bank funds under 18 U.S.C. § 656. Brandon was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1349 and three counts of unlawful participation in a loan under 18 U.S.C. § 1005. 4 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 5 of 10 The district court sentenced Woodard to a 276 month term of imprisonment, Fields to a 204 month term of imprisonment, and Brandon to a 96 month term of imprisonment. ordered restitution payments. All three The court also defendants timely appealed their convictions to this Court. On appeal, Fields challenges the district court’s time limitation of his direct testimony, its exclusion of certain defense evidence as hearsay, its limitation of the scope of cross-examination of two prosecution witnesses, its decision to allow another prosecution witness to testify as a lay witness rather than as an expert, and its exclusion of certain defense evidence as irrelevant. the evidence against Woodard challenges the sufficiency of him, certain evidence regarding federal Troubled Asset district court’s effect of the of national finances and operations. district the Relief exclusion 2008 the Bank’s court’s failure exclusion to Program (TARP) certain evidence financial crisis apply funds, of for and the regarding the on the Bank’s Brandon challenges the sufficiency of the evidence against him as well, his sentence enhancement based on the court’s calculation of the amount of loss that he caused the Bank, and his sentence enhancement for abusing a position of trust. 5 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 6 of 10 II. We first committed direct examine reversible limit testimony. the error We duration discretion. Fields’ by review of a claim that limiting a the the district witness’s district duration court’s testimony court of decision for abuse his to of United States v. Midgett, 488 F.3d 288, 297 (4th Cir. 2007) (citing United States v. Turner, 198 F.3d 425, 429 (4th Cir. 1999)). Federal Rule of Evidence 611(a) provides that “[t]he court should exercise reasonable control over the mode ... of examining witnesses and presenting evidence so as to (1) make those procedures effective for determining the truth [and] (2) avoid wasting time... .” “It is well settled ... that a trial court possesses broad discretion to control the mode of interrogation of witnesses,” including the time placed on the interrogation of that witness. at 299-300. “A restrictions’ district on a court defendant’s thus may ability limitations Midgett, 488 F.3d impose to ‘reasonable present relevant evidence” so long as those restrictions are not “‘arbitrary or disproportionate to the purposes they are designed to serve.’” United States v. Woods, 710 F.3d 195, 200 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 308 (1998) and Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44, 55-56 (1987)). Here, Fields’ the direct court notified examination began 6 Fields’ that counsel the court well before intended to Appeal: 13-4711 “move Doc: 205 it Filed: 06/05/2015 along” through each Pg: 7 of 10 defendant’s case. J.A. 6489. Fields’ counsel began his direct examination in the afternoon, and upon adjourning for the evening, the court indicated that counsel would be expected to finish the following morning. Once counsel that failed to finish the direct examination within timeframe, the court alerted him that he would be expected to finish that adjournment additional afternoon. that time day for Ultimately, until the 6:40pm direct to the allow examination. court delayed Fields’ counsel Throughout the examination, the court warned counsel repeatedly that he was straying into irrelevant or marginally relevant lines of questioning. Fields’ counsel took four days to present his case, despite his initial estimate that the case would take two to three days. Fields’ direct examination lasted seven and one-half hours and was the longest direct examination of any witness in the case. In response to counsel’s objection that he had had insufficient time to address each challenged transaction during direct examination, the court noted that Fields was charged with fewer counts than two of his codefendants, both of whom had testified for a shorter amount of time. Finally, although the court emphasized the wide latitude that Fields’ counsel had to inquire into transactions on redirect that he had not addressed during 7 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 8 of 10 the direct examination, Fields’ counsel declined to make use of the entire time allotted for redirect. In light of the court’s repeated warnings and extensions of time during greater relative Fields’ amount to of his direct time testimony, that Fields codefendants, we and had to conclude in light present that of his the the case district court did not abuse its discretion in limiting the duration of Fields’ direct testimony. III. We next examine Woodard’s and Brandon’s claims that the evidence supporting their convictions for conspiracy to commit bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1349 is insufficient. 1 court may set aside the jury’s verdict on “A reviewing the ground of insufficient evidence only if no rational trier of fact could have agreed with the jury.” Cavazos v. Smith, 132 S.Ct. 2, 4 (2011) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979)). “The jury, not the reviewing court, weighs the credibility of the evidence and resolves any conflicts in the evidence presented, and if the interpretations, evidence supports the decides jury 1 different, which reasonable interpretation to The elements of conspiracy to commit bank fraud are, in relevant part, conspiring to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution. 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 1349. 8 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 believe.” Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 9 of 10 United States v. Murphy, 35 F.3d 143, 148 (4th Cir. 1994) (internal citations omitted). The government presented abundant evidence in support of Woodard’s charge testimony of Woodard’s conviction. Bank, of conspiracy Eric testified Menden at to alone Menden, trial is a that commit bank fraud. sufficient longtime Woodard had to The support borrower from the informed him that Woodard’s son Brandon was having difficulty making payments on one of Brandon’s properties. Menden testified that Woodard asked Menden to give Brandon money to make these payments, that Menden did Brandon so, from and the that Bank. Menden This obtained money, the money Menden to believe this testimony – as, gave testified, delivered to Brandon in cash in a brown paper bag. chose he indeed, was If the jury drawing all inferences in the light most favorable to the government, we must assume sufficient to it did – sustain commit bank fraud. then this Woodard’s testimony conviction alone for would be conspiracy to We therefore affirm his conviction on this count. There is also sufficient evidence against Brandon on the conspiracy general charge. contractor To who take one remodeled example, the Kevin Bank’s Glenn, Suffolk the branch, testified that Brandon was present when his father, Woodard, instructed Glenn to “wrap ... up” certain costs of the remodel 9 Appeal: 13-4711 Doc: 205 Filed: 06/05/2015 Pg: 10 of 10 of Brandon’s personal residence into the invoices that the Bank was paying for the remodel of its Suffolk branch. J.A. 6634. Glenn testified that he inflated those invoices as instructed, and that the Bank paid them. jury, is sufficient to This evidence, if believed by the support conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Brandon’s conviction for We therefore affirm Brandon’s conviction on this count. 2 IV. Based on the foregoing, Appellants’ convictions and Brandon’s sentence are hereby AFFIRMED. 2 We have reviewed the record as to all of Appellants’ challenges and find no reversible error in any of them. 10

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