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United States v. Alquza

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

September 20, 2017



          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant, Nasser Kamal Alquza's, pro se “Motion to declare the United States of America in violation of the Forfeiture Order; and Motion in Objection to the Forfeiture of Specific Assets based on Honeycutt” (Doc. 638) and the Government's Response in Opposition (Doc. 641). Defendant, who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to launder millions in cigarette trafficking proceeds, challenges final forfeiture of substitute properties to partially satisfy a money judgment calculated based on the proceeds of Defendant's crimes and amount that he laundered. In support of his Motion, Defendant cites Honeycutt v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1626 (2017)-a case on calculation of forfeiture money judgments in drug conspiracies. Since the forfeiture is final pursuant to the clear language of Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.2 and there is not a legal basis for Defendant's untimely collateral attack and challenge, this Court DENIES his Motion. In support of denying the Motion, the Court FINDS AS FOLLOWS:


         On February 4, 2013, a Jury returned verdicts of guilt (Doc. 273) against Defendant for his role in a cigarette trafficking and money laundering conspiracy charged in a Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. 245). The Jury returned verdicts of guilt on the Count One charge of conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property, the Count Seven charge of money laundering conspiracy, and the Count Nine charge of concealment money laundering. Essentially, Defendant was convicted for his role as a professional and highly paid money launderer who received and laundered millions in crime proceeds in exchange for $275, 000. See Opinion (Doc. 579) at Page 4.

         On February 10, 2014, following briefing and a hearing (Docs. 285, 432, 509), this Court entered a Preliminary Order (nunc pro tunc) (Doc. 446) for, among other items, the following:

(1) an $8, 400, 000 forfeiture money judgment based on a calculation of the “value of property that was proceeds of or involved in defendant's [Count One and Count Seven conspiracy] crimes, as reasonably foreseeable to the defendant [ . . . ]”; and
(2) the following three real properties that constitute 21 U.S.C. § 853(p) substitute property: 1609 Oakhurst Dr., Mt. Pleasant, SC (“the Oakhurst Drive Property”); 337 Whitfield Dr., Lexington, KY (“the Whitfield Property”); and 1479 Boardwalk, Lexington, KY (“the Boardwalk Property”).

Preliminary Order (Doc. 446) at Pages 1-3. This Preliminary Order was incorporated into the sentence. Judgment in a Criminal Case (Doc. 482) at Page 5. Ancillary proceedings ensued. Then, in a First Final Order and Judgment Confirming Forfeiture (Doc. 574), this Court adjudicated third party petitions and finally forfeited the three real properties.

         On appeal, Defendant challenged evidentiary rulings and calculation of the sentence. Opinion at Doc. 579. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction but remanded for a recalculation of Sentencing Guidelines loss based on an expanded inquiry into the intended victim or victims of the offenses. Id.

         At resentencing on March 30, 2016, on stipulation of the parties, the Court calculated the Sentencing Guidelines loss as around $6, 000, 000 and less than $7, 000, 000, and resentenced Defendant to 87 months imprisonment. Transcript of Resentencing (Doc. 626) at Pages 6-7. 12. The Court again ordered forfeiture, this time of a $6, 000, 000 forfeiture money judgment consistent with the Guidelines calculation stipulation and of items identified in the Government's Notice Regarding Forfeiture at Sentencing (Doc. 605). Transcript (Doc. 626) at Page 36; Amended Judgment (Doc. 611) at Page 5. The Notice listed, among other items, final orders referencing the three real properties. Upon oral pronouncement of forfeiture at resentencing, Defendant did not object. Transcript (Doc. 626) at Pages 36-37.

         Defendant did not appeal the resentence or Amended Judgment, or any orders of forfeiture, and the time for doing so pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 4(b) has long since expired. Defendant did later file a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (WDNC Case 3:16cv610; Doc. 1). On February 7, 2017, this Court denied (WDNC Case 3:16cv610; Doc. 11) that Motion and declined to issue a certificate of appealability.

         Now, a year-and-a half after resentencing, Defendant invites this Court to reopen orders that finally adjudicated not only his rights, but also third party rights, to three real properties. Based on the following analysis, this Court declines Defendant's untimely invitation.


         A. The ...

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