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United States v. Collins

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 12, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff -- Appellee
v.
FRENCHITT SU-DELL COLLINS; ALLEN MURRAY ROBISON, Defendants -- Appellants

Page 257

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 258

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Amanda R. Burch, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock, TX; Stephen P. Fahey, Esq., James Wesley Hendrix, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Errin Blythe Martin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas, Dallas, TX.

For FRENCHITT SU-DELL COLLINS, Defendant - Appellant: Okey Nwanolue Claren Akpom, Esq., Attorney, Akpom Firm, P.C., Arlington, TX.

For ALLEN MURRAY ROBISON, Defendant - Appellant: G. Luke Ashley, Thompson & Knight, L.L.P., Dallas, TX.

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, and JONES and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 259

EDITH H. JONES, Circuit Judge:

Frenchitt Su-Dell Collins and Allen Murray Robison conspired together and with others to defraud insurance companies of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Appellants and their confederates filed false claims for automobile accidents that had never happened, using postal boxes registered to assumed names. Following their convictions by a jury, defendants appeal on various grounds, the only novel one of which involves the " concurrent sentence doctrine." For the following reasons, we AFFIRM the convictions and Collins's sentence.

I.

Frenchitt Collins branded himself as " Big Brother." He and his associates, including his half-brother Allen Robison, recruited people to file automobile accident and injury insurance claims when in fact no accident had occurred. They advertised on television and elsewhere, used heavy machinery to damage recruits' automobiles, and created sham chiropractic clinics to " provide treatment." The nerve center of the scheme was in Collins's house, where his wife and mistress, among others, provided administrative support. Collins coached recruits through claims-adjustment meetings with insurers, and sometimes even used their identities directly. Robison enlisted his sometimes girlfriend Natasha Robinson to lease a post office box, instructing her to authorize a fake clinic to access the box.

A grand jury indicted Collins on nine counts: conspiracy to commit mail fraud and health care fraud, and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1349 and 2 (Count One); three counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1341 and 2 (Counts Two-Four); four counts of aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1028A and 2 (Counts Five-Eight); and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k) (Count Nine).[1] Robison was charged in Counts One, Two, and Nine only. Shortly thereafter, four defendants were arrested. Collins was placed in pretrial detention and Robison was released on conditions.

Taking advantage of his relative freedom, Robison attempted to induce several witnesses to sign affidavits that the witnesses later testified were riddled with falsehoods. Robison ignored the magistrate

Page 260

judge's first warning and his pretrial release was revoked. Federal investigators subpoenaed jailhouse calls between Collins and Robison in which the two appear to discuss their efforts at obtaining favorable trial testimony, ...


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