United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Flowers Conti Chief United States District Judge
6, 2017, defendant Lacey E. Tilley (“Tilley” or
“defendant”) filed a pro se Notice, which set
forth several objections to a writ of garnishment (Misc. No.
07-367, ECF No. 3). The government filed a response on June
28, 2017 (Misc. No. 07-367, ECF No. 4). Tilley's
objections to garnishment will be overruled because, as more
fully explained below, the government's garnishment
efforts are appropriate.
and Procedural Background
April 15, 2011, Tilley pleaded guilty to one count of mail
fraud. The court sentenced him to 110 months of
incarceration, three years of supervised release and ordered
him to pay restitution in the amount of $468, 517.47. To
date, Tilley has not made any restitution payments, but
because other jointly and severally liable defendants have
made some payments, Tilley's outstanding restitution
balance is currently $439, 138.30.
government discovered that Tilley had a vested interest in a
profit sharing plan and an employee pension plan administered
by Penn Window and Office Cleaning Company, a victim of
Tilley's fraud. On May 9, 2017, the government filed an
application for a writ of garnishment directed to Steve Gaber
as trustee for Penn Window and Office Cleaning Company Profit
Sharing Plan and Employees' Pension Plan
(“Garnishee”) (Misc. No. 07-367, ECF No. 1). On
May 11, 2017, the court accepted the government's
application and issued a writ of garnishment. The government
subsequently served the writ on the Garnishee and served
Tilley with instructions for objecting to the Garnishee's
answer and obtaining a hearing on the objections. Tilley
received a copy of the writ of garnishment with instructions
on May 16, 2017. On May 31, 2017, the Garnishee filed an
answer confirming that about $15, 580.00 was being held for
Tilley in a pension plan and profit sharing plan (Misc. No.
07-367, ECF No. 2).
6, 2017, Tilley filed a Notice to the court, raising
objections to the writ of garnishment (Misc. No. 07-367, ECF
No. 3). Tilley objects that the writ impermissibly altered or
increased his sentence. Id. He also questions the
validity of the new civil action against him. Id.
Tilley contends that he has a right to be appointed counsel,
and he “asserts his right to be present in the
courtroom.” Id. Tilley requests that the court
“not schedule any proceedings” before July 14,
2017, because he is being transferred to a halfway house in
Akron, Ohio. Finally, Tilley requests that the case be
transferred to the Northern District of Ohio. Id.
18 U.S.C. § 3664(m)(1)(A), the Government may enforce a
restitution order in the manner provided by subchapter B of
Chapter 229, or 18 U.S.C. § 3613.” United
States v. Shusterman, 331 F. App'x 994, 996 (3d Cir.
2009). Sections 3613(a) and (f) provide that the United
States may enforce a restitution order “in accordance
with the practices and procedures for the enforcement of a
civil judgment under Federal law or State law.” In this
case, the government complied with the federal law procedures
for subjecting a defendant to a writ of garnishment set forth
in 28 U.S.C. § 3205, which allows the government to
“apply for a writ of garnishment, and the court may
issue the writ and a disposition order.”
Shusterman, 331 F. App'x at 996. Thus,
“the District Court ha[s] jurisdiction to issue the
garnishment order.” Id.
respect to Tilley's request to transfer venue,
“venue is proper and judicial resources are conserved
where the garnishment proceedings are before the same court
which tried the underlying crime.” United States v.
O'Rourke, No. 2:10-CR-00235, 2011 WL 3035394, at *3
(D.N.J. July 25, 2011). Although Tilley will be transferred
to a halfway house in Ohio, the case is more efficiently
heard in this court because it is the sentencing court and a
hearing will not be ordered. In United States v.
Castanon, No. 10-237, 2012 WL 1432554 (D.N.J. April 24,
2012) (rejecting challenge to writ of garnishment), the court
denied a similar request to transfer venue to the district
where the defendant was incarcerated and explained:
“there is no inconvenience because a hearing is not
necessary.” Id. at *3.
Enforcement of Sentence
argues that the writ of garnishment alters or enhances his
sentence. This contention shows a clear misunderstanding of
his plea agreement and sentence, especially with respect to
his outstanding restitution. As previously stated, §
3613 allows the government to utilize civil means “for
the enforcement of an order of restitution.” 18 U.S.C.
§ 3613(a) and (f). The writ of garnishment is a lawful
remedy to collect Tilley's outstanding restitution
imposed by the sentencing court and is not an alteration or
increase in his past sentence.
addition, Tilley's plea agreement explicitly states,
“[t]his agreement does not preclude the government from
pursuing any civil or administrative remedies against Lacey
Tilley or his property.” (Crim. No. 07-290, ECF No.
46). Tilley signed the agreement on July 22, 2009,
acknowledging that he read and discussed the agreement and
all its provisions with his lawyer. Id. The court
found Tilley competent and accepted his plea of guilty
pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement as knowing and
voluntary. (Plea Hearing Tr., ECF No. 89). In sum, the
government's garnishment efforts are appropriate.
Right to ...