Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. McLaughlin

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 27, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN

          RULING ON DEFENDANT'S OUTSTANDING MOTIONS

          MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D. JUDGE

         Defendant Raymond McLaughlin was indicted on two counts: (1) corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a); and (2) willfully and knowingly making and using a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and entry in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States government in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. (ECF No. 7 at 1-3.) In particular, the indictment alleges that the defendant mailed “similar packages of materials to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in Austin, Texas and to the United States Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) in Washington, D.C.” containing “a No. of documents” that “falsely claimed that [the defendant] had paid approximately $332, 204” to a Connecticut state judge and to the “Judiciary Courts of the State of Connecticut.” (ECF No. 7 at 2.) The indictment also alleges that the defendant knew that the information in these forms was false and that he “stated and declared under the penalties of perjury that he had examined the submissions [on these forms] and that they were true, correct, and complete . . . .” (ECF No. 7 at 3.) I dismissed Count One of the indictment upon the Government's and the defendant's motions in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Marinello v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1101 (2018). (ECF No. 129.) Now before me are the defendant's seven pending motions to dismiss the indictment (ECF Nos. 115, 120, 124, 132, 135, 136, 145) and one pending motion to have a default entered against the Government (ECF No. 117). For the following reasons, the defendant's motions are hereby DENIED.

         I. Discussion

         a. Motions Predicated Upon Lack of Jurisdiction

         The defendant has filed four motions challenging the indictment on the basis that the Court lacks jurisdiction over him. (See ECF Nos. 115, 117, 132, 135.[1]) Two of the defendant's motions in this vein aver that various defects in his birth certificate deprive the Court of subject matter and personal jurisdiction. (See ECF No. 132 (averring that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the defendant because he “was born without Registration and has no legal existence”); ECF No. 135 (oral motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction due to an error on the defendant's birth certificate)). Another such motion avers that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the defendant's case because the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut (“United States Attorney”), the Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) prosecuting this case, and the foreperson of the grand jury lacked the capacity to sign the indictment on behalf of the United States of America. (See ECF No. 115 (averring that the Court “lacks authority” over the indictment because the United States Attorney, AUSA prosecuting the case, and the “other signer” of the indictment “are not agents for [the] United States of America in this matter”).) A fourth motion contends that the “United States of America lacks standing and cannot rightfully invoke the jurisdiction of the court.” (See ECF No. 120.)

         The defendant's contention that the court lacks jurisdiction is a nonstarter. Federal law provides the “district courts of the United States” with “original jurisdiction . . . of all offenses against the laws of the United States.” 18 U.S.C. § 3231. “[I]f an indictment or information alleges the violation of a crime set out in Title 18 or in one of the other statutes defining federal crimes, that is the end of the jurisdictional inquiry.” United States v. Fahnbulleh, 752 F.3d 470, 476 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting United States v. George, 676 F.3d 249, 259 (1st Cir. 2012)). Thus, the fact that the defendant was charged with a federal crime under Title 18-specifically under 18 U.S.C. § 1001-confers subject matter jurisdiction upon this Court. The defendant's motion averring that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over him is similarly meritless. “It is well settled that a district court has personal jurisdiction over any party who appears before it, ” United States v. Lussier, 929 F.2d 25, 27 (1st Cir.1991), as the defendant has done repeatedly in this case. Thus, the Court possesses personal jurisdiction over the defendant by virtue of his presence before it in response to the indictment. See United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (concluding “district court had personal jurisdiction over [defendant] by virtue of [defendant's] having been brought before it on a federal indictment charging a violation of federal law”).

         As such, the defendant's motions are denied.

         b. Motion for Default Predicated Upon Lack of Agency

         The defendant has also moved for a default to be entered against the United States on the basis that the United States Attorney and the AUSA prosecuting this case lack the authority to represent it. (See ECF No. 117 (moving for a “default” to be entered against the United States of America due to the fact that the United States Attorney and the AUSA prosecuting this case “are not [its] agents”).) This argument is meritless. The United States Attorney is empowered by statute to prosecute all offenses against the United States and may proceed against any person upon presentation of charges to a grand jury. See 28 U.S.C. § 547 (“Except as otherwise provided by law, each United States attorney, within his district, shall . . . prosecute for all offenses against the United States . . . .”); U.S. Const. amend. V (“No personal shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury . . . .”). Thus, this motion is also denied.

         c. Motions to Dismiss in Light of Dismissal of Count One

         The defendant moves to dismiss the remaining count of the indictment on the basis that it fails to charge him with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. (See ECF No. 136 at 1.)[2] In particular, the defendant contends that the Court's dismissal of count one precludes the Government from establishing that he made a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). (Id.). Under 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a), a person commits a federal crime if he or she, “in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States knowingly and willfully” “makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.” In order to establish “materiality, ” the Government must prove that a “statement [has] a natural tendency to influence, or [be] capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it was addressed.” United States v. Gaudin, 515 U.S. 506, 509 (1995) (internal quotation marks omitted). The defendant contends that, in dismissing Count One of the indictment in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Marinello (see ECF No. 129), the Court effectively concluded that the defendant's statements to the IRS at issue in this case were not material for the purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. (ECF No. 136 at 2.)

         Marinello concerned the scope of a portion of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a) otherwise known as the “Omnibus Clause.” Marinello, 198 S.Ct. at 1104. The Omnibus Clause prohibits “corruptly or by force or threats of force (including any threatening letter or communication) obstruct[ing] or imped[ing], or endeavor[ing] to obstruct or impede, the due administration of [the Internal Revenue Code].” 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a). The Marinello Court held that “to secure a conviction under the Omnibus Clause, the government must show (among other things) that there is a ‘nexus' between the defendant's conduct and a particular administrative proceeding, such as an investigation, an audit, or other targeted administrative action. That nexus requires a relationship in time, causation, or logic with the [administrative] proceeding.” Id. at 1109 (internal citations omitted). The Marinello Court noted that “administrative proceeding[s]” did not include “routine, day-to-day work carried out in the ordinary course by the IRS, such as the review of tax returns.” Id. at 1109-10. Count One of the indictment failed to allege such a nexus because it did not contend that the defendant mailed his material to obstruct an ongoing IRS administrative proceeding or that he was aware of any such proceeding. (See ECF No. 7 at 2 (alleging that the defendant violated the Omnibus Clause by “mailing and causing to be mailed, similar packages of materials to the Internal Revenue Service in Austin, Texas and to the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C” enclosing a No. of documents containing information that the defendant “knew to be false.”).)

         This reasoning does not apply to Count Two of the indictment. The fact that the defendant's submissions to the IRS did not have a nexus to an ongoing administrative proceeding does not reflect upon the capability of those statements to influence the IRS and the Treasury. Further, the Supreme Court noted in Gaudin that the question of materiality under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, a “mixed question of law and fact, has typically been resolved by juries . . ., involving as it does delicate assessments of the inferences a reasonable [decisionmaker] would draw from a given set of facts and the significance of those inferences to him . . . .” Gaudin, 515 U.S. at 512 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). For these reasons, the question of whether the defendant's submissions were capable of influencing the IRS and the Treasury must be left to the jury. Indeed, an indictment survives a motion to dismiss as long as it alleges the elements of the charged offense and contains enough detail to enable the defendant to plead double jeopardy in a future prosecution based on the same elements. United States v. Alfonso, 143 F.3d 772, 776 (2d Cir. 1998). This indictment expressly alleges materiality, as well as the other elements of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and contains adequate factual detail. That is sufficient to place the government's allegations before a jury. The defendant remains free, of course, to challenge the Government's proof of materiality before the jury. I therefore deny the defendant's motion.

         d. Motions to Dismiss Count Two Based Upon ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.