June 29, 2012 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v Wynn

Wynn served a san engineer on a county airport expansion project. He failed to obtain a permit from the Department of Health and Environmental Control. He photocopied a DHEC stamp from another project and used it to create a false permit. He mailed and emailed copies of this false permit to the county and DHEC. He was convicted of mail and wire fraud. Part of his sentence was a requirement to reimburse the county for the fees paid during the period of the fraud. The panel affirmed. It held that the jury instructions properly informed the jury that to convict they must find Wynn acted with specific intent to defraud and that an explanatory add on did not change the elements of the crime. It further held that covering up the lack of a permit in order to continue to receive fees satisfied the government’s burden. It also held the evidence demonstrated actual reliance by the county thus satisfying the materiality element. It held that the email of the false permit to lull regulators to allow the continued construction demonstrated a scheme to defraud and thus the wire fraud conviction was upheld. As to the reimbursement, the panel held it was reasonable given the fraud and the need to stop construction for six months to obtain a valid permit.

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