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[U] Commonwealth v. Krueger

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

October 4, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
PAUL S. KRUEGER Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
PAUL S. KRUEGER Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order Entered March 7, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No.: CP-46-CR-0004515-2008

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., [*] WECHT, J., and COLVILLE, J.[**]

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

Paul Krueger ("Appellant") appeals from two separate orders entered on March 7, 2012. One order denied Appellant's petition for return of property. The other denied Appellant's post-conviction petition for habeas corpus.[1] We affirm.

On May 20, 2008, Appellant was arrested in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After being extradited to Pennsylvania, Appellant was charged with thirteen counts of theft by unlawful taking, thirteen counts of theft by deception, thirteen counts of deceptive or fraudulent business practices, and thirteen counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.[2] The charges arose from Appellant's deceptive behavior on the Internet website www.millionairematch.com. The trial court summarized Appellant's basic scheme as follows:

[B]etween October 2007 and April 2008, [Appellant] engaged in conduct with various individuals over the Internet, through millionairematch.com and those individuals, in some cases, referenced [Appellant] to other individuals, who forwarded money to [Appellant] to be used for investment purposes, which [Appellant] kept for his own personal benefit. Trial Court Opinion ("T.C.O."), 6/1/2012, at 1 (some grammatical modifications made for clarity). The amount of money that Appellant obtained through this scheme exceeded $100, 000. Id.

On October 24, 2008, Appellant pleaded guilty to one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. As per a plea agreement with the Commonwealth, Appellant was sentenced to three to seven years' imprisonment, and ordered to pay restitution to the thirteen individuals known to have sent money to Appellant as a result of his fraudulent scheme.[3] Appellant did not file a direct appeal.

On December 14, 2011, Appellant filed a pro se petition for return of property. Therein, Appellant sought return of the computer that was seized from him, which the Commonwealth had alleged was used to aid in perpetrating Appellant's scheme. In a subsequent amendment, Appellant requested that the software and music files that were stored on the computer be returned to him as well. On January 11, 2012, while the petition for return of property was pending, Appellant filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus, in which Appellant raised multiple claims related to the validity of his guilty plea and sentence.

On March 7, 2012, the trial court held a hearing on the petitions. The trial court notified Appellant that the claims raised within the petition for habeas corpus were not cognizable at that time either because they were subject to the time limit set forth in the Post-Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S. § 9545(b), or because the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the requested relief. The trial court then proceeded with the hearing on the petition for return of property. On that date, the trial court issued two orders denying Appellant's petitions.

On April 3, 2012, Appellant filed two separate notices of appeal from the March 7, 2012 orders. The trial court did not direct Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Nonetheless, on June 1, 2012, the trial court issued a memorandum opinion.

In his brief, Appellant raises the following issues for our review:

1. Was the arrest of the Appellant in the State of New Jersey by Pennsylvania police officers unlawful?
A. Did the Pennsylvania police officers have jurisdiction to make an arrest in the state of New Jersey without any involvement by New Jersey law enforcement whatsoever?
2. Did Pennsylvania have any contact with the criminal charges against the Appellant and thus did Pennsylvania have jurisdiction to hear the criminal charges against the Appellant?
3. Was the Appellant the focus of a warrantless arrest?
4. Was the Appellant's counsel ineffective?
A. Did Appellant's counsel fail to recognize the jurisdiction[al] issues?
B. Did the Appellant's counsel give proper advice regarding Preliminary Hearing/Prima Facie case?
C. Did the Appellant's counsel give wrong advice regarding potential sentence if Appellant didn't take [the] plea?
D. Did the Appellant's counsel fail to move for change of venue on Pre-Trial publicity?

5. Were there errors by the Trial Court in the Appellant's criminal case?

A. Did the Court fail to appoint counsel when Appellant requested it at ...

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