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United States v. Long

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 22, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
GARETH DAVID LONG, Defendant.

          DANIEL BOGDEN United States Attorney JOHN W. BURKE EHREN P. REYNOLDS Trial Attorneys Consumer Protection Branch United States Department of Justice

          UNITED STATES' MOTION FOR ALTERNATIVE VICTIM NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES

          PEGGY A. LEEN United States Magistrate Judge

         COMES NOW THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, by and through its counsel of record, Department of Justice Trial Attorneys John W. Burke and Ehren P. Reynolds, and respectfully moves this Court for an order authorizing it to comply with the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 2004, 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a) (the “Act”), by using reasonable alternative measures for notifying hundreds of thousands of potential victims in the above captioned case charging numerous counts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. Specifically, the United States seeks an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3771(d)(2) authorizing compliance with the Act by publishing information about the case on the Department of Justice's publicly accessible website.

         Discussion

         The Act provides certain rights to victims in federal criminal proceedings. 18 U.S.C. § 3771. Among the rights provided by the Act are a victim's right to “reasonable, accurate, and timely notice” of public court proceedings, and a right “to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.” See 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a). The Act further provides that agencies of the United States “shall make their best efforts to see that crime victims are notified of, and accorded, the rights described in subsection (a).” Id. § 3771(c)(1). The Act defines a crime victim as “a person directly and proximately harmed” as a result of the commission of a federal offense. Id. § 3771(e). Importantly, the Act recognizes that for crimes involving numerous victims, the Court has discretion to adopt procedures that will not unduly interfere with the criminal proceedings. Thus, 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2) provides:

[i]n a case where the court finds that the number of crime victims makes it impracticable to accord all of the crime victims the rights described in subsection (a), the court shall fashion a reasonable procedure to give effect to this chapter that does not unduly complicate or prolong the proceedings.

         In this case, the defendant is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for a scheme involving the creation and deposit of hundreds of thousands of unauthorized remotely-created checks drawn on the accounts of unwitting victims throughout the country. The indictment identifies, by initials, 13 victim account holders in connection with specific wire fraud and aggravated identity theft counts. Those victims are receiving notice through the government's victim notification system. During the course of the wire fraud scheme alleged in the indictment, defendant created and deposited more than 750, 000 checks, each in the amount of $30. The government has identified more than 375, 000 potential victims whose accounts were debited one or more times.

         The United States submits that this case fits within the “multiple crime victims” exception to the Crime Victims' Rights Act and believes it would be “impracticable” under Section 3771(d)(2) to identify, locate, and provide personal notification by mail to more than 375, 000 potential victims. Notice by website postings is a reasonable procedure that will give effect to the Act and will not unduly complicate or prolong the public court proceedings. The U.S. Attorney's Office public website will provide a statement about victims' rights, regularly updated information about the case, and the name and contact telephone numbers of the Victim Witness Coordinator.

         The rights enumerated in the Act may only be asserted by crime victims, their counsel, and government counsel. As a result, the defendant's position on this notice is not required for the Court to make a determination of whether this procedure is reasonable. See 18 U.S.C. § 3771 (d)(1).

         Accordingly, the United States respectfully requests that this Court issue an order authorizing it to comply with the Act by posting information relevant to victims in this case on the U.S. Attorney's Office public website. .

         ORDER AUTHORIZING ALTERNATIVE VICTIM NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES

         This matter comes before the Court on the United States' Motion for Alternative Victim Notification Procedures. The Court finds that (1) the number of potential victims in this case makes it impracticable to provide all the rights provided under 18 U.S.C. 3771(a); (2) the “multiple crime victims” provision of the Act applies to this case; and (3) the means of notifying potential victims as set forth in the United States Motion for Alternative Victim Notification Procedures constitutes a “reasonable procedure” to give effect to and ensure compliance with the notice provisions of the Act.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3771(d)(2), that the United States is authorized to comply with 18 U.S.C. 3771(a) by posting information relevant to victims in this ...


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