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UNITED STATES v. REGUER

May 4, 1995

United States of America against Gabriel Reguer etc., Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIFTON

 SIFTON, District Judge

 This case involves a prosecution for wire fraud and conspiracy relating to the sale of counterfeit Passover Haggadahs. As part of a plea agreement, defendant pled to a new information charging violations of 31 U.S.C. § 5313 and § 5322, and the prior indictment was dismissed. On motion by the defendant, this Court vacated the defendant's plea in January 1995. The government now moves to reinstate the indictment dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement. *fn1" For the reasons set forth below, the government's motion is granted.

 BACKGROUND

 The original indictment in this case was filed in March of 1988, and the government filed a superseding indictment on May 23, 1988. This indictment charged Reguer and co-defendant Raphael Podde with three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, all in relation to the sale of counterfeit Guadalaxara Haggadahs, which are rare versions of a Jewish text read during Passover celebrations.

 Trial began an June 2, 1988. After the jury was selected and the government made its opening statement, the defendant Podde decided to enter a plea of guilty to the entire indictment. At his plea allocution, Podde informed the Court that he had convinced Reguer to sell "certain books [by] giving him a wrong representation." Reguer was offered the opportunity to plead guilty to different, lesser charges. Reguer pleaded to a new information charging him with violating 31 U.S.C. § 5313 and § 5322 by causing The First National Savings Bank to fail to file a currency transaction report. At the time the court received his plea, Reguer maintained that he was merely acting for his brother-in-law and did know that he was dealing in counterfeits. Reguer admitted that he "structured" his transactions to avoid the reporting requirements but contended that he was never aware that it was a crime to do so. The Court accepted his plea. Reguer was sentenced to three years of probation and a fine of $ 150,000. Reguer was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

 Subsequent to the Supreme Court's holding in Ratzlaf v. United States that a defendant is not guilty of structuring under 31 U.S.C. § 5313(a)(3) unless he knew that his conduct was illegal, Reguer moved this Court to vacate his plea and expunge his record, arguing that Ratzlaf should apply to his conviction. In a Memorandum and Order dated January 5, 1995, this court granted Reguer's request, vacated his conviction and plea of guilty, and directed the parties to appear to fix a new trial date.

 The government has now moved to reinstate the May 23, 1988 superseding indictment against Reguer. Through counsel, Reguer opposes this motion, arguing (1) that trial under either the indictment to which he pled or the May 23, 1988 indictment is barred by reasons of double jeopardy and (2) that trial under the May 23, 1988 indictment is time barred.

 DISCUSSION

 As a general matter where a defendant successfully moves to vacate his plea, courts permit a retrial on charges dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement:

 
When [the defendant] was successful in revoking his part of the bargain by having his plea of guilty set aside, it is hardly surprising, and scarcely suggestive of vindictiveness, that the district attorney in turn withdrew his consent to the reduced charge. Indeed, all that happened was that the prosecution was forced to proceed on the original charge which the grand jury had returned in the first instance.

 Williams v. McMann, 436 F.2d 103, 106 (2d Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 402 U.S. 914, 28 L. Ed. 2d 656, 91 S. Ct. 1396 (1971).

 Reguer challenges the government's right to reinstate the superseding indictment on double jeopardy grounds. It is well established that, where a plea was entered before trial had begun, no jeopardy attaches to counts of an indictment that are dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement. See Fransaw v. Lynaugh, 810 F.2d 518, 525 (5th Cir.) (discussing cases), cert. denied, 483 U.S. 1008, 97 L. Ed. 2d 742, 107 S. Ct. 3237 (1987); see also Williams v. McMann, 436 F.2d 103 (2d Cir. 1970) (affirming conviction on reinstated indictment without discussing double jeopardy).

 When the defendant's plea to lesser charges is taken after trial begins, however, as a matter of course jeopardy attaches to the entire indictment. Fransaw, 810 F.2d at 525. Nevertheless, acknowledging that jeopardy has attached only begins this court's inquiry into whether the defendant has been placed in double jeopardy. Id. ...


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