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United States of America v. Drew Yim and Svetlana Angel Yim

January 19, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DREW YIM AND SVETLANA ANGEL YIM, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marsha J. Pechman United States District Judge

ORDER ON MOTIONS TO SEVER

This matter comes before the Court on Svetlana Angel Yim's Motion to Sever in which Drew Yim has joined (Dkt. Nos. 365, 376), and Drew Yim's Motion to Sever in which Svetlana Angel Yim has joined (Dkt. Nos. 362, 363, 384). The Court has reviewed the motions, the responses (Dkt. Nos. 409, 410), the replies (Dkt. No. 422), and all related papers, and the Court held oral argument on both motions on January 10, 2012. The Court makes the following rulings: (1) the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Svetlana Angel Yim's motion to sever counts; (2) the Court RESERVES RULING on Svetlana Angel Yim's motion to sever trials; and (3) the Court RESERVES RULING on Drew Yim's motion.

Background

The government has charged Drew Yim and Svetlana Yim, among others, with running a large-scale drug trafficking operation based in Washington. (Second Superseding Indictment ("SSI") at 1-2.) Members of the drug trafficking organization allegedly sold and distributed cocaine, MDMA, marijuana and methamphetamine, and engaged in both money laundering and wire fraud. Drew and Svetlana have been married throughout the relevant time period and are still married. Both are indicted on charges of drug conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Svetlana alone is charged with health care fraud. Both are accused of using money derived from drug trafficking to obtain loans to purchase homes, which is the basis for the money laundering conspiracy charge and wire fraud charges. The government contends that both made false representations about their income, employers, and occupations in obtaining the mortgage loans. Svetlana alone is charged with committing health care fraud by providing false information about both her and her husband's income and employment status.

Analysis

A. Svetlana Yim: Improper Joinder

Svetlana Yim argues that the conspiracy and fraud counts are misjoined. The Court finds

only that the health care fraud count is improperly joined to the other fraud and conspiracy counts.

An indictment may charge a defendant with separate counts if they "are of the same or similar character, or are based on the same act or transaction, or are connected with or constitute parts of a common scheme or plan." Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(a). To satisfy joinder, at least one of these three conditions must be met., although only the "same or similar character" and "common scheme or plan" elements are relevant to Svetlana Yim's motion. United States v. Jawara, 462 F.3d 1173, 1180 (9th Cir. 2006). The Court starts with the proposition that "Rule 8 has been broadly construed in favor of initial joinder." Id. (citation and quotation omitted). "Because Rule 8 is concerned with the propriety of joining offenses in the indictment, the validity of the joinder is determined solely by the allegations in the indictment." United States v. ...


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