United States of America v. Price
OPINION and ORDER Denying Defendant's Objection to Garnishment. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No. 17-cv-51116
Honorable Linda V. Parker
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S OBJECTION TO
On April 11, 2017, Defendant Tony Price (“Defendant”) pled guilty to one
count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and
1349. (United States v. Price, 16-cr-20602, ECF No. 48.) Defendant was
sentenced to one-day time served and twelve months of supervised release. (Price,
16-cr-20602, ECF No. 48; ECF No. 60.) As part of his Plea Agreement and
judgment, Defendant is required to pay $1,279,898.94 in restitution, which is joint
and several. (Price, 16-cr-20602, ECF No 48 at Pg ID 149; ECF No. 60 at Pg ID
On August 14, 2017, the Government filed an application for writ of
continuing garnishment. (ECF No. 1.) The request was submitted to the Michigan
Department of Treasury to recover Defendant’s future state income tax returns.
(Id.; ECF No. 6.) On September 12, 2017, Defendant filed a request for a hearing
on the garnishment, and the Government filed a response on October 3, 2017.
(ECF No. 4; ECF No. 6.) This Court held a hearing on Defendant’s objection on
October 11, 2017. Although Defendant received notice of the hearing, Defendant
failed to appear. (ECF No. 5.)
Applicable Law & Analysis
The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (“MVRA”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663A3664, requires sentencing courts to order criminal defendants to pay restitution to
their victims. “The MVRA, pursuant to § 3664(m)(1)(A)(I), ‘provides the
Government authority to enforce victim restitution orders in the same manner that
it recovers fines and by all other available means.’” United States v. Jendo, No.
13-50226, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112610, at *3 (E.D. Mich. July 22, 2013). 28
U.S.C. § 3205(a) provides the Government with authority to enforce restitution
orders through garnishments. Under these circumstances, a judgment debtor can
object to a garnishment proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 3202(d). Within
twenty days1 of receiving the notice described in section 3202(b), the judgment
debtor may request a hearing to quash the garnishment. However, the garnishment
hearing is limited to (1) valid claim exemptions, (2) postjudgment statutory
compliance for issuing the garnishment, and (3) judgments entered by default. Id.
The Government contends that Defendant’s request was outside of the twenty day time period. (ECF No. 6 at Pg
Defendant has failed to articulate any statutory basis for relief from the
garnishment and restitution order. Defendant’s objection is based on his belief that
the restitution should be paid by the “owner” because he did not “benefit
financially in any way.” (ECF No. 4.) He also references “several other
employees” who were involved in the food stamp fraud and are not being forced to
pay restitution. However, the Court has already recognized that Defendant’s
involvement in the food stamp fraud was minimal. (ECF No. 54.) Also, according
to the Government, the “several other employees” Defendant references were not
indicted. The conduct of individuals not indicted are not relevant to the Court.
Notably, Defendant agreed to the payment of restitution in the amount of
$1,279,898.94 when he pled guilty on April 11, 2017. (ECF No. 48 at Pg ID 149.)
Defendant has a monthly payment arrangement in place and has made one
fifty dollar payment. However, the Government seeks Defendant’s future state
income tax refunds because the current payment arrangement is insufficient to
meet Defendant’s repayment obligations. Because income taxes from employment
are not exempt from garnishment, the Government may seek additional means to
enforce the restitution order. See United States v. Henderson, 2014 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 118618 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 26, 2014). Furthermore, “[o]ther courts have
made clear that the government may seek a writ of garnishment requiring
payments on a schedule that exceeds that previously ordered by the Court.” United
States v. Miller, 588 F. Supp. 2d 789, 796 (W.D. Mich. 2007); United States v.
Ekong, 518 F. 3d 285, 286 (5th Cir. 2007) (rejecting defendant’s argument that
“there was no justification for requiring immediate payment because the criminal
judgment specified that restitution be paid in installments.”); United States v.
Schwartz, No. 09-cr-67, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43110, at *12-13 (S.D. Ohio Jan.
14, 2011) (rejecting defendant’s objection to restitution order). Moreover,
restitution orders are final and may only be modified in limited circumstances—
none of which apply in this case. See 18 U.S.C. § 3664(o).
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s Objection (ECF No. 4) is DENIED
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: October 25, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of
record and/or pro se parties on this date, October 25, 2017, by electronic and/or
U.S. First Class mail.
s/ R. Loury
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