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United States v. Bradley

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

October 25, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ELEDRIA BRADLEY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MONTI L. BELOT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This case comes before the court on defendant’s renewed motion for judgment of acquittal. (Doc. 28). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for decision. (Docs. 29, 30, 31). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted on Count 1 of an indictment charging wire fraud and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.

I. Analysis

Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(a), a defendant may move for judgment of acquittal at the end of the government's case-in-chief. Defendant did so in this case and the court reserved its decision pursuant to Rule 29(b). Defendant now renews her motion after the verdict and asserts that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction. In determining the sufficiency of the evidence, the court must view all evidence, together with the reasonable inferences to be drawn, in the light most favorable to the government. United States v. Swanson, 360 F.3d 1155, 1162 (10th Cir. 2004).

Facts

In 2002, defendant lived in Chandler, Arizona, with her parents. After graduating from high school in 2002, defendant moved to her grandparents’ home in Wichita, Kansas. In 2004, defendant enlisted in the Kansas Air National Guard. On November 14, 2008, defendant married Gary Bradley in Wichita. On February 4, 2009, defendant was issued Title 32 orders to report for annual training on April 6. At some point in February 2009, defendant and her husband visited defendant’s father in Arizona. Defendant returned to Wichita and did not leave any items with her father. On February 18, defendant was issued Title 10 orders[1], calling her to duty with the United States Air Force on April 10, 2009. The orders listed defendant’s duty station as McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita.

At the time the orders were issued, defendant’s home of record (HOR) was Wichita, Kansas. On April 9, 2009, defendant accessed her virtual record on a computer using the Virtual Military Personnel Flight (VMPF) system. The VMPF is a web site where a member may perform human resources functions. While accessing the VMPF, Defendant changed her address from Wichita, Kansas, to her father’s address in Chandler, Arizona. The change was transmitted to a server in San Antonio, Texas.[2] Defendant did not move any items to Arizona on this date. Defendant did not inform her father that she was moving to his home in Arizona.

When defendant was called to duty, under either Title 10 or 32 orders, she received a salary and a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The BAH is dependent on the location of the member’s HOR. The BAH for Wichita is less than the BAH for Arizona. In addition to BAH, a member is paid a lodging and per diem benefit if the member lives outside the commuting distance to the duty station.

In early April, was also issued orders to be deployed overseas. Gary Bradley then gave a sixty-day notice of intent to vacate to the apartment manager. On April 10, 2009, defendant’s orders became effective and defendant was sent to El Paso, Texas, for training. As a result of the change of HOR, defendant received higher pay due to an increase in her BAH. At this time, however, defendant did not receive the additional lodging and per diem benefit because defendant was provided lodging at the training base. The training was to prepare defendant and her unit to be deployed to Saudi Arabia. Defendant, however, was not deployed to Saudi Arabia due to an injury she suffered while training in Texas. Defendant returned to Wichita on April 30 and was placed under medical orders, meaning defendant could not be released from her post at McConnell until she was cleared by a medical review board.

Defendant’s travel voucher shows that defendant “stayed with family” from April 30 until May 21, 2009. (Exh. 17). Defendant received a per diem in the amount of $13.80 each day but did not receive additional lodging expenses. On May 22, defendant began receiving lodging and per diem in the amount of $129 a day. (Exh. 18). At the end of May, defendant’s father came to Wichita to assist defendant and her husband move items from the apartment to a storage unit. The storage unit contained furniture, military uniforms, and defendant’s medical records.

Defendant was stationed at McConnell until she was medically discharged from the military on April 23, 2011. During those two years, defendant received per diem and lodging expenses of approximately $54, 000.

On January 30, 2013, defendant was interviewed by Agent Dodge at the leasing office of her apartment complex in Wichita, Kansas. Defendant agreed to the interview with Dodge and there is no evidence that the statements made during the interview were involuntary. The interview consisted of questions regarding defendant’s HOR and travel vouchers. Initially, defendant claimed that her HOR should be Virginia because she had left some property there with an ex-boyfriend. Defendant also stated that her HOR was in Chandler, Arizona because she was planning to move there and she had taken a load of property to Arizona to leave at a friend’s house. Upon further questioning, defendant admitted that she changed her HOR to Arizona in order to receive additional BAH and that she in fact had been living in Wichita at the time of the change of HOR.

Elements of Section 1343

The jury instructions on count 1 ...


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