Appellant Michael Giamo (“Giamo”) challenges the District Court’s sentence,
arguing that the District Court erred by denying his motion for a downward departure and
by failing to appropriately consider several of the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
For the reasons set forth below, we will affirm the sentence.
We write primarily for the benefit of the parties and recount only the essential
After a jury trial, Giamo was convicted of participating in an arson-for-hire
scheme, as well as mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The conviction arose from
Giamo’s participation in a conspiracy to burn down his automotive repair business and
file a false insurance claim. While Giamo traveled to Brazil to establish an alibi,
Giamo’s co-conspirator, Isael Kniestedt (“Kniestedt”), executed the arson plan, burning
down Giamo’s business in return for a share of the insurance money. Kniestedt, after
being confronted, began cooperating with investigators, which led to Giamo’s arrest.
At Giamo’s sentencing, the District Court calculated his Sentencing Guidelines
range to be 198 to 217 months. The Government requested a sentence of 217 months.
Defense counsel moved for a downward departure to the mandatory minimum of 180
months based on U.S.S.G. § 5H1.3, citing Giamo’s mental instability and the abuse he
suffered as a child. Relying on the same facts, defense counsel also sought a downward
variance. The District Court denied the motion for a downward departure, but granted, in