from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:16-cr-20418-UU-3
WILLIAM PRYOR and MARTIN, Circuit Judges, and HALL, [*] District Judge.
MARTIN, Circuit Judge.
Maitre appeals her conviction and sentence after a jury found
her guilty of charges related to access device fraud and
identity theft. After careful consideration, and with the
benefit of oral argument, we affirm the District Court in all
superseding indictment charged Ms. Maitre, Willie Smith,
Daryl Pugh, and two others with conspiracy to possess 15 or
more unauthorized access devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1029(a)(3) and (b)(2) (Count 1). Ms. Maitre was also
charged with possession of 15 or more unauthorized access
devices on November 12, 2014, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1029(a)(3) (Count 2); possession of 15 or more
unauthorized access devices on January 7, 2015, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(3) (Count 4); and two counts of
aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1028A(a)(1) (Counts 8, 9). Ms. Maitre denied these charges
and went to trial.
trial the government introduced evidence that in September
2014 Miami police began investigating a string of
early-morning burglaries of parked cars. Police got a tip
that the burglars lived at 11804 Northwest 1st Avenue, so
officers began watching the house. On November 12 the police
saw a dark gray Infiniti parked outside the house. The
Infiniti's appearance and license plate matched that of a
car seen fleeing the scene of a vehicle burglary the day
before. Later that day the police tried to conduct a traffic
stop of a different car that briefly visited the house. The
driver fled, then crashed the car. When the officers got to
the scene, the driver was gone. In the car they found
identification documents ("IDs") and credit cards
spilled on the floor, as well as a magazine loaded with
ammunition for a handgun.
officers decided to go back to the 11804 Northwest 1st Avenue
house and talk to the residents. Nearly four hours after
officers first knocked on the door, they got a phone call
passing along a message from Ms. Maitre that the residents
were "willing to surrender if they were going to be
okay." Ms. Maitre then came outside, along with Mr.
Smith and two others. The officers told Ms. Maitre about
their investigation and asked why she took so long to answer
the door. She said she had been asleep and had not known the
officers were there. She confirmed she lived at the house and
consented to a search.
the master bedroom shared by Ms. Maitre and her boyfriend Mr.
Smith, the police found three purses containing smaller
handbags or wallets. One of these also had a
"bundle" of IDs and credit cards
inside. The smaller wallets had more IDs inside
them. In the attic crawl space was a backpack holding many ID
bundles. In the living room, officers found a first-aid
medical pack containing a military ID inside a drawer in the
TV stand. Ms. Maitre said she didn't know where the pack
came from, but she put it in the TV stand's drawer
because she didn't have another place to put it. In all,
the officers seized IDs and credit cards belonging to over
350 different people that day.
also found 59 to 69 purses; a backpack containing 28 pairs of
sunglasses and prescription glasses; a bag holding 18
cellphones; and a shoebox with 10 car keys. Ms. Maitre said
she collected purses and Mr. Smith would buy them from flea
markets or garage sales for her. She said sometimes they
still held the previous owners' belongings, including
IDs, but she didn't seem to think this was out of the
police didn't arrest Ms. Maitre that day, although they
confiscated the IDs and most of the personal items they
found. The officers explained that the search showed the
burglars' conduct went beyond just car burglaries and
involved identity theft, which needed more investigation.
They continued watching Ms. Maitre and the house. A few times
officers tried to follow Ms. Maitre when she left the house,
but she engaged in "heat runs, " making it
difficult for the officers to follow her without risking
their safety or revealing their presence.
on January 7, 2015, Lisa Cheuvront, Natalie Persaud, Natasha
Solivan, and Linda Joseph reported their cars had been
burglarized, all early in the morning. A witness to one of
these burglaries saw a black Chrysler 200 and got its license
plate number, CAV-T48. Detective Adam Shahan had seen a
similar car outside Ms. Maitre's house and drove there
immediately, arriving at about 8 AM. The black Chrysler
pulled up a few minutes later. Mr. Smith was driving and Mr.
Pugh was in the passenger seat. Detective Shahan saw Mr.
Smith open the trunk and hand a black satchel or bag to Mr.
Pugh, who took it inside the house. Mr. Smith stayed outside
and changed the license plate on the car.
that day, Ms. Maitre drove the Chrysler twice. The second
time, she had Mr. Smith, Mr. Pugh, and another person as her
passengers, and Detective Shahan followed her. He saw her
driving "very erratically"- speeding, making a
sudden U-turn-and eventually pull into a Dollar Store parking
lot, next to the store's dumpster. Mr. Pugh got out and
tossed a bag into the dumpster. Police conducted a stop,
arrested everyone, and searched the car. Officers found
"center punches," which are tools used to break car
windows, and Ms. Persaud's phone in plain view. In the
store's dumpster, they found Ms. Persaud's purse and
the CAV-T48 license plate.
police then got a search warrant for Ms. Maitre's house.
During this January 7, 2015 search, they found Ms.
Cheuvront's and Ms. Solivan's purses on the living
room couch; stacks of credit cards and bank deposit slips in
the living room bookshelf; cards and receipts in the dining
area; and an ATM card in the bathroom cabinet. In Ms. Maitre
and Mr. Smith's bedroom, officers found a garbage bag
holding several purses; a dresser drawer containing money,
credit cards, and gift cards; a purse filled with prepaid
debit cards; another purse full of chargers and cell phone
accessories; and a suitcase full of chargers, cell phones,
and tablets. Inside a "shoe-shaped chair" in the
bedroom, they found a black bag and a stolen, loaded gun.
Ammunition in Ms. Maitre's underwear drawer matched the
gun. The black bag from the chair had several bundles of IDs,
among them Ms. Cheuvront's driver's license and Ms.
Persaud's credit card. The police also found Ms.
Joseph's iPad in a trash can outside the house.
her trial, Ms. Maitre called two witnesses in her defense.
Sayire Crosdale testified that she and Ms. Maitre had been
friends for about 25 years and that she left her purse at Ms.
Maitre's house many times. The second witness was Mr.
Smith, who pled guilty to some of the charges against him. He
testified that he "took full responsibility" for
the crimes and Ms. Maitre had no part in them. He said he hid
his illegal activity from her, including putting the stolen
property in places where she wouldn't look. He gave
purses or pocketbooks to Ms. Maitre as gifts, but didn't
tell her where they came from. He claimed the gun and
ammunition, and said it was originally in his underwear
drawer, not hers. On cross-examination, he confirmed that
many of the items were in plain view or in locations to which
Ms. Maitre had access. He also said he didn't have a job,
he just helped an uncle at his car wash sometimes or helped a
different uncle in a wheelchair. He said Ms. Maitre ...