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United States of America v. Barrett Byron Staton

June 14, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
BARRETT BYRON STATON



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Surrick, J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Barrett Byron Staton's Motion for Return of Property. (ECF No. 108.) For the following reasons, the Motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History and Factual Background

The factual background of this action is set forth in the Court's June 5, 2012 Memorandum and Order granting the Government's Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence Regarding Defendant Barrett Byron Staton's Bank Records and Income Tax Returns (ECF Nos. 116, 117) and the Court's June 8, 2012 Memorandum and Order denying Defendant Barrett Byron Staton's Motion to Compel Disclosure of Grand Jury Minutes and Testimony and Motion to Dismiss Indictment (ECF Nos. 120, 121). Those Memoranda and Orders describe in detail the fraudulent scheme in which the Government alleges that Defendant was involved.

Essentially, Defendant, with co-defendants Matthew Staton and William Haken, Jr. (collectively, "Defendants"), would use various office copier brokerage businesses ("Businesses") to entice small businesses and non-profit organizations ("Customers") into executing new office copier leases by making attractive promises. Defendants did not fulfill these promises. They were supposed to use the payments received from the financing companies as a result of the new leases for the Customers' benefit (e.g., to pay off their office copier leases). However, the payments were instead used for personal expenses. When Defendants became overwhelmed with complaints from the Customers, they would shut down the Business, only to reopen it under a different company name, and at times, under a nominee owner. Defendant Barrett Byron Staton also used the Businesses to obtain financing for personal purchases that included luxury vehicles. On April 11, 2012, co-defendant Haken entered a plea of guilty. (See ECF No. 83 (Minute Entry).)

Defendants Barrett Byron Staton and Matthew Staton have filed several pretrial discovery motions. (See ECF Nos. 87, 89, 92, 93, 95.)*fn1 On May 30, 2012, Defendant Barrett Byron Staton filed the instant Motion for Return of Property. (Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 108.)*fn2

B. Relevant Facts Concerning the Seized Evidence

The federal investigation into Barrett Byron Staton and Matthew Staton commenced in March 2004, after the owner of a printing business located in Virginia made a formal complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). (Gov't's Resp. 2, ECF No. 122.) The Pennsylvania state police also contacted the FBI about similar complaints involving Barrett Byron Staton (hereinafter, "Defendant") and one of the Businesses involved, Access Business Solutions, Inc. ("ABS"). (Id.) A multi-year investigation spanning multiple states ensued. Over the course of the investigation, two search warrants were executed against Defendant. (Id.)

1. 2004 Search Warrant

On May 18, 2004, agents of the FBI and officers of the Plymouth Township Police Department and New Hanover Township Police Department executed a search warrant at the home of Defendant, located at 415 Windy Hill Road, Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. (Def.'s Mot. ¶ 1.) A computer was removed from Defendant's home. (Id. at ¶ 2.)

On May 19, 2004, a search warrant was executed at a self-storage unit, located at 415 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, Pennsylvania. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Compact discs ("CDs") belonging to ABS and "various other documents" were seized. (Id.)

On May 21, 2004, pursuant to a request by an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Delaware, the computer, the CDs and the "various other documents" that had been seized on May 18 and May 19, respectively, were released to the custody of the FBI. (Id. at ΒΆ 4.) These items have ...


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