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United States v. Camick

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 7, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Leslie Lyle Camick, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. THOMAS MARTEN, District Judge.

Fleeing Canada to avoid child support obligations and legal difficulties arising from drunken driving charges, Leslie Lyle Camick fled to the United States, where for years he posed as Wayne B. Camick, his brother who died in infancy. In the guise of Wayne Camick, Leslie Lyle Camick entered into a business and personal relationship with Lyn Wattley, who funded a joint business enterprise. The relationship ended acrimoniously, Wattley sued for title to the company's assets, and reported that Leslie Lyle Camick had taken a company truck. When he was arrested and questioned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the deception began to unravel.

However, in an attempt to stave off defeat in the state litigation over the former couple's assets, Leslie Lyle Camick submitted pleadings which were materially false under the circumstances. He had earlier submitted patent applications under the false Wayne B. Camick identity. The government charged Leslie Lyle Camick with mail fraud, wire fraud, and making a false statement based on these communications. After the Indictment, Leslie Lyle Camick filed a pro se federal civil rights action, Camick v. Wattley, Case No. 13-2361-JAR (D.Kan.), alleging a conspiracy among Wattley and numerous individuals, including the local Winfield, Kansas police officer who received Wattley's stolen vehicle report. The government then filed a superseding indictment, alleging obstruction of justice. Following a trial, the defendant was convicted on all counts.

The matter is now before the court on the defendant's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal (Dkt. 113). Taken in combination with his subsequent pleadings (Dkt. 114, 116 118), the defendant Leslie Lyle Camick in part repeats many of the arguments advanced in his prior motions. (Dkt. 33, 87), and the court incorporates herein its earlier Orders and rulings denying defendants's motions (Dkt. 46, 101). For the reasons explained below, the court denies the defendant's present motion.

In reviewing a motion for acquittal under Fed.R.Cr.P. 29,

the Court cannot weigh the evidence or consider the credibility of witnesses. Rather, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government and determine whether the record contains sufficient evidence from which a jury might properly find defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury may base its verdict on both direct and circumstantial evidence, together with all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. Acquittal is proper only if the evidence implicating defendant is nonexistent or is so meager that no reasonable jury could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

United States v. Fuller, 11-20059-KHV, 2012 WL 1673914, *1 (D. Kan. May 14, 2012) (citations omitted).

Mail Fraud

With respect to Count 1, Leslie Lyle Camick argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the conviction. He claims that there is no evidence of fraudulent intent, and stresses that he "never said he was not Leslie Lyle Camick." (Dkt. 113, at 7). Counsel for the defendant thus repeats the argument advanced at trial: "by whatever name he was called, he had an interest in the real estate which he sought to defend." Id. He further argues that his letter to the Kansas state court asking for more time to defend his interest in the property was true in substance - he had indeed been incarcerated in New Jersey. Anything beyond that, such as supplying his true name, was not, in the defendant's view, really material. ( Id. at 8-9).

Further, the issue in Count 1 is not whether Leslie Lyle Camick had a valid property interest in the subject matter of the state litigation. The issue is whether he could legally continue his charade as "Wayne Camick" by using that false name in his letter to the Kansas state court. In his letter, the defendant pled for more time to defend the action, asserting that his former girlfriend had falsely reported him for stealing a company truck and that he was being held in custody. His request for an extension of time relied on the equitable nature of his position. Full disclosure of the true situation would have seriously undermined any equitable argument he might make. At that point, Camick's true identity was material precisely because, if revealed, it likely would have fatally undermined his request for leniency.

According to the defendant, "the evidence was that he volunteered [his true identity] to the ICE officer in New Jersey shortly before sending the documents to the Court." (Dkt. 113, at 7). But this is untrue, if the term "volunteered" is to understood in its proper sense. The evidence at trial showed that, when he was initially detained, Camick tried to brazen out his charade, first telling ICE officers that he was Wayne Camick. Only when this lie failed did he tell them he was Leslie Lyle Camick.

The defendant stresses that all the prior pleadings in the state action had been in the name of Wayne Camick, and that he was simply continuing this usage. The defendant's brief also quotes the letter as informing the court: "I am named on the Title as Wayne Camick.' Id. at 6. Taken by itself, the quotation marks around the name might be taken as an indication that the defendant was beginning to back away from his imposture, or as a signal of a potential ambiguity. But the suggestion is not grounded in fact. The cited passage occurs in a preamble, in which the defendant explains:

As the Joint Owner of 1202 9th Ave. East, Winfield Kansas, I am named on Title as Wayne Camick', Grantee, Lot 14 and the West half of Lot 15, Block 21, Central Park Addition to the City of Winfield, Cowley County Kansas, as registered with Cowley County Registrar of Deeds, Book 817, p.710 recorded June 20, 2008 as notarized by Robin Barbour of Barbour Title.

The defendant then proceeds to present the argument that his claim should be excused from judgment in the state court action as he was unable to respond, asserting he had been "wrongfully detained" by ICE. He then signed the letter - without any quotation marks - as "Wayne Camick, 2534 Sawmill Rd. E.H.T. N.J. 08234." (Exh. 4-E). This was in keeping with Leslie Lyle Camick's earlier Response to Petition in the state court case, in which he presented himself without any qualification as "Wayne Camick, " and further stating that he "swears that all the statements contained therein are true and correct." (Exh. 4-D).

The defendant's position is effectively summarized in his contention that "[c]onsidering the evidence on Count 1, it is also clear that Wayne Camick and Leslie Lyle Camick are one in [sic] the same person." Id. at 6.

Again, this is simply untrue. As a simple matter of fact, the defendant is not Wayne Camick. He is Leslie Lyle Camick.[1]

And a rational fact finder could determine that Lyle Camick engaged in a scheme to defraud by persuading the state court that he had been detained through no fault of his own. The truth - that he had used a false name to enter and remain in the United States - would have fatally undermined his assertion that he was wrongfully held by ICE. A jury reasonably found the defendant acted with fraudulent intent in his mailed letter, one in which he sought to maintain his fictional ...


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