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Stark v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

March 6, 2017

BRADLEY C. STARK, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          PAUL D. STICKNEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This cause of action was referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b), as implemented by an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The Findings, Conclusions and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge follow:

         I. Procedural Background

         Petitioner filed this petition to vacate, set-aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He challenges his conviction for seven counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. The district court sentenced him to 276 months in prison. On September 24, 2014, the Fifth Circuit affirmed and denied Petitioner's motion for rehearing. United States v. Stark, 582 Fed.Appx. 462 (5th Cir. 2014).

         On January 20, 2016, Petitioner filed the instant § 2255 petition. He argues:

1. He received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel;
2. The trial court erred when it admitted certain recorded phone calls into evidence;
3. The trial court erred when it failed to dismiss the wire-fraud convictions under the Double Jeopardy Clause;
4. The trial court erred in denying Petitioner's motion for acquittal;
5. The trial court committed sentencing errors;
6. The trial court's errors forced Petitioner to take the stand in his own defense;
7. The judgment and restitution order contains clerical errors and constitutes an unlawful delegation of Article III powers.[1]

         On April 11, 2016, Respondent filed its answer. On May 12,, 2016, Petitioner filed a reply. The Court now finds the petition should be denied.

         II. Factual Background

         The following factual background is taken from the PSR.

         In June 2000, Petitioner incorporated Sardaukar Holdings (“Sardaukar”) as an International Business Corporation in the British Virgin Islands. Petitioner created Sardaukar to invest and manage financial assets of clients. Between October 14, 2004, and July 3, 2005, Petitioner operated Sardaukar out of his residence in Riverside, California. Petitioner was the sole active officer of the company and directed all affairs of the company.

         Between March 2004 and July 2005, Petitioner and others began soliciting investors to invest in Sardaukar. While soliciting potential investors, Petitioner created brochures and pamphlets which contained materially false and fraudulent information to entice potential investors to send money to Sardaukar for investment. Besides mailing out brochures and pamphlets, Petitioner also solicited investors in person, on the telephone, and held investment seminars in hotels.

         In March 2004, during one of Petitioner's hotel seminars, he met unindicted coconspirator James Rumpf. While speaking with Rumpf, Petitioner learned that Rumpf intended to solicit others to invest in Sardaukar using the representations Petitioner had made to him. Based on Petitioner's misrepresentations, Rumpf agreed to invest funds with him in exchange for monthly fee payments equal to a percentage of invested ...


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