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. Tilley

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 14, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
LACEY E. TILLEY, Defendant, STEVE GABER, TRUSTEE FOR PENN WINDOW AND OFFICE CLEANING CO. PROFIT SHARING and PENN WINDOW AND OFFICE CLEANING CO. EMPLOYEES' PENSION PLAN, and its successors and assigns, Garnishee. CRIM. No. 07-290

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Joy Flowers Conti Chief United States District Judge

         On June 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.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On 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.

         The 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).

         On June 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.

         Legal Analysis

         A. Jurisdiction

         “[U]nder 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.

         With 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.”[1] Id. at *3.

         B. Enforcement of Sentence

         Tilley 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.

         In 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.

         C. Right to ...


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.