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United States v. Shaw

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

April 19, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LESLIE SHAW, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER CLARIFYING CONDITIONS OF RELEASE

          TOM SCHANZLE-HASKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Leslie Shaw's Motion to Clarify Conditions of Release (d/e 13) (Motion) and Memorandum in Support (d/e 14).

         Background

         Defendant Leslie Shaw is charged in a one-Count indictment with conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property from specified unlawful activity. Specifically, the indictment charges that between January 2012 and April 2012, the Defendant received nine bank checks from a bank located in the Central District of Illinois made out to the Defendant. The indictment alleges that the Defendant was aware that the checks were derived from some form of unlawful activity and the sender of the checks had been instructed to send the checks to the Defendant by Defendant's co-conspirators. The indictment states the checks sent to the Defendant total $147, 000. The indictment further alleges that the Defendant deposited each of the nine checks into a Wells Fargo savings or checking account in her own name, kept a portion of the proceeds from these checks for her own use, and either transported via airplane or wired additional funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica.

         The indictment charges that this conduct violated 18 U.S.C. §1956(h) which states that anyone who conspires to commit the offense of laundering monetary instruments shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

         Defendant appeared before this Court on March 7, 2017 for an initial appearance and arraignment. Defendant entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment and was released on a $10, 000 recognizance bond. The Defendant was released subject to various conditions of release. One of those conditions put at issue by the Defendant's Motion to Clarify Conditions of Release (d/e 13) (Motion) is as follows:

(7)(t) The Defendant must not maintain, or obtain employment, at any place where you will be involved in the management or handling of cash, credit, or any other financial instrument, without disclosing information to your employer regarding your federal charge and allowing the U.S. Probation Office to verify your job duties and that such disclosure has been made to your employer. (Condition (7)(t))

Counsel for the Defendant has filed the instant Motion and a Memorandum in Support (d/e 14) (Memorandum).

         The Defendant is currently employed at Stewart Title Guaranty Company in Texas. The nature of the job duties of the Defendant is disputed. The Defendant attaches to her Memorandum a job description for an “Escrow Processor I” and a declaration concerning her job duties. The contents of these documents will be discussed herein.

         Defendant asks the Court to enter an order clarifying the meaning of the condition stated above with regard to “(a) the circumstances under which a Defendant must disclose her charges to an employer, (b) whether the Probation Office is authorized to verify such disclosure by directly contacting the employer and (c) if the Probation Office is so authorized, when such authorization comes into force”.

         Analysis

         In Defendant's Memorandum, Defendant indicates that the U.S. Probation Officer “feels that she previously” indicated she held the position of “Escrow Agent” and, after calling Stewart Title, but not disclosing Ms. Shaw's name, the Probation Officer reached the conclusion that “Escrow Agents” and “Assistant Escrow Agents” do handle financial instruments. Defendant asserts that her job title is “Escrow Processor I” and that she does not “handle” cash, credit, or other financial instruments. (d/e 14, pg 5)

         Defendant asserts that condition (7)(t) only authorizes the Probation Office to verify the Defendant has made the disclosures and does not authorize the Probation Office to make a disclosure of Defendant's charges when contacting her employer to verify whether she actually made such disclosures. For the reasons stated below, the Court disagrees with the assertion of the Defendant.

         The Defendant asserts that she is not an “Escrow Agent”, but is, in fact, an “Escrow Processor I”. To support her assertion, she attaches a job description for “Escrow Processor I” which states the job roles of the job title of “Escrow Processor I”. (d/e 14-1, pg 2) Defendant also attaches to her Memorandum a “Declaration of Leslie Vaughn”.[1] The declaration submitted by the Defendant states that her job duties “include” a verbatim recitation of the job duties set forth in the job description of “Escrow Processor I” attached to the Memorandum. This recitation does not indicate the actual job duties of the Defendant. Defendant only states that the job duties set forth in the job description are “included” in her job duties. The declaration also makes a ...


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