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United States v. Brown

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 3, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DOROTHY JUNE BROWN, JOAN WOODS CHALKER, MICHAEL A. SLADE, JR., COURTENEY L. KNIGHT

MEMORANDUM

R. BARCLAY SURRICK, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Defendant Dorothy June Brown's Motion to Suppress Evidence or in the Alternative Request for an Evidentiary Hearing (ECF No. 126). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

On January 22, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a sixty-seven count Superseding Indictment against Dorothy June Brown, Joan Woods Chalker, Michael A. Slade, Jr., Courteney L. Knight, and Anthony Smoot. (Superseding Indictment ("Indictment"), ECF No. 47.)[2] These charges arise out of an alleged scheme perpetrated by Brown to defraud three separate charter schools out of over $6.7 million.

The Indictment charges Brown with fifty-two counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (Counts 1-52), one count of conspiring to obstruct justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 53), ten counts of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 (Counts 54-59, 63, 65) and § 1512(c)(2) (Counts 61-62), and one count of witness tampering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3) (Count 67).

A. Factual Background

1. The Warrant, Search and Seizure

On May 6, 2010, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations ("FBI") and the United States Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General ("ED/OIG") executed a search of 124 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, the administrative offices of Brown's schools and other businesses. The search was conducted pursuant to a Search Warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge R. Felipe Restrepo on May 4, 2010. (Warrant, Def.'s Mot. Ex. B, ECF No. 127.) The Warrant application was supported by an Affidavit furnished by Kristy Smith, a Special Agent with the ED/OIG. (Warrant Attach. B.) The Warrant authorized the search and seizure of the following materials:

1. All records and documents pertaining to federal grants and other federal funding administered by any federal, state, or local agency, including the United States Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the School District of Philadelphia.
2. All records and documents that reflect the receipt, use, or transfer of money or other assets belonging to Agora Cyber Charter School, Main Line Academy, Ad Prima Charter School, Planet Abacus Charter School, Laboratory Charter School, The Cynwyd Group, Main Line Academic Services, Inc., Academic Quest, LLC, and Educational Services (collectively, "The BROWN ENTITIES, ") including books, receipts, ledgers, account statements, money drafts, money orders, letters of credit, cashier checks, passbooks, bank checks, accounts receivable journals, accounts payable journals, contracts, vendor files, tax records, credit card statements, travel itineraries, vehicle lease agreements, property lease agreements, insurance policies, and loan records.
3. All correspondence that pertains to the receipt, use, or transfer of money or other assets belonging to the BROWN ENTITIES, including electronic mail, board minutes, memoranda, notes, reports, summaries, offers, inquiries, bulletins, newsletters, charts, graphs, articles, announcements, books, and audio and video recordings.
4. All Rolodex files, appointment books, notes, calendars, diaries, and journals belonging to the BROWN ENTITIES, or their officers, employees, or contractors.
5. All records and documents concerning vehicles owned or leased by the BROWN ENTITIES, or any of their officers, employees, or contractors.
6. All personnel records and documents for officers, employees, and contractors of the BROWN ENTITIES, including student employees, including records and documents regarding payroll, benefits, and professional development, and statements of financial ...

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