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Denson v. United States

United States District Court, District of Maine

August 25, 2014

TODD DENSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

TODD DENSON TERMINATED: TODD DENSON NEALE A. DUFFETT CLOUTIER, CONLEY & DUFFETT, P.A. VIRGINIA G. VILLA

Plaintiff USA represented by DONALD E. CLARK MARGARET D. MCGAUGHEY JAMES L. MCCARTHY OFFICE OF THE U.S. ATTORNEY JONATHAN R. CHAPMAN RENEE M. BUNKER

Defendant (1) TODD DENSON represented by TODD DENSON PRO SE NEALE A. DUFFETT CLOUTIER, CONLEY & DUFFETT, P.A. VIRGINIA G. VILLA FEDERAL DEFENDER'S OFFICE

Plaintiff USA represented by MARGARET D. MCGAUGHEY U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE JAMES L. MCCARTHY JONATHAN R. CHAPMAN RENEE M. BUNKER

RECOMMENDED DECISION ON 28 U.S.C. § 2255 MOTION

John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

Petitioner Todd Denson was twice convicted of wire fraud. United States v. Denson, 689 F.3d 21, 22-23 (1st Cir. 2012). His first conviction, in 2007, was based on his guilty plea. His second conviction, in 2011, followed a 2010 jury trial. In the pending motion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Petitioner seeks to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence that followed the second conviction. (Motion, ECF No. 106.)[1]

Through his motion, Petitioner claims ineffective assistance of counsel at his 2010 trial, alleging that: (1) counsel failed to file a motion in limine to exclude evidence of the prior conviction and the prior bad acts upon which the 2007 conviction was based; (2) counsel failed to secure witnesses to testify and authenticate documentary evidence; (3) counsel failed to obtain and offer certain documentary evidence; and (4) counsel failed to provide him with access to discovery.[2] The recommendation is that the Court deny the requested relief and dismiss the motion.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

Petitioner was indicted in 2006 and pled guilty in 2007 to seven counts of mail and wire fraud that occurred at various times from August 2005 to the date of the indictment in October 2006. As explained by the First Circuit in its opinion on Petitioner’s appeal of his 2011 conviction and the concurrent revocation of his supervised release, the conduct that led to the 2007 conviction started when

persons in Africa emailed Denson saying that he (Denson) had inherited the rights to an overseas company worth $9-plus million. They also said that there was a pile of cash in a Barclays Bank account in London just waiting there for him. All he had to do was send over a few thousand dollars to take care of taxes, wire-transfer fees, and the like, and he would be a very rich man.

Denson, 689 F.3d at 22. Petitioner subsequently initiated contact with the local United States Secret Service office, during which contact an agent told Petitioner the proposal was a scam and that he could be criminally liable if he solicited money from other people to send abroad. Id. at 22-23. Nevertheless, Petitioner solicited money from others, deceiving them by representing that they were investing in his window-washing patent or other business. Id. at 23. Petitioner again initiated contact with the Secret Service, admitted that he had deceived people, and stated that he now realized that it was a scam and that he was done with it. Id. A week later, agents confronted him with proof that he had tried to convince an undercover agent to invest $30, 000 in an overseas construction venture. Id.

Petitioner pled guilty to the seven counts of mail and wire fraud. The Court sentenced him to eighteen months of imprisonment on each of the counts, to be served concurrently, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $54, 861.98 in restitution. (Docket No. 2:06-cr-00081-GZS: Indictment, ECF No. 19 at 1-2; Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 (Rule 11) Tr., ECF No. 57 at 19-20; Judgment, ECF No. 45 at 2, 3, 5.) Petitioner did not appeal from the 2007 judgment or sentence.

Petitioner was serving the supervised release portion of his 2007 sentence when he

returned to his old ways, hustling a bunch of people out of thousands of dollars by saying (among other lies) that he had made a killing in the overseas stock markets or had millions sitting in a Scottish bank but that he needed their money-which he ...

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