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Yin v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 19, 2018

JOHN YIN, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on pro se Petitioner John Yin's motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence By a Person in Federal Custody. Dkt.[1]#1.For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Mr. Yin's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         From 2009 to mid-2015, Mr. Yin sold modified Point of Sale (POS) devices to local retail stores and restaurants. Crim. Dkt. #7 at 5. These modified POS devices allowed businesses to underreport sales to state and federal tax authorities and avoid paying taxes on those unreported sales. Id. at 7. The Government charged Mr. Yin with Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Defraud the Government on November 29, 2016. Crim. Dkt. #1. Mr. Yin entered into a plea agreement on December 2, 2016. Crim. Dkt. #7. In that agreement, Mr. Yin pled guilty to Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Defraud the Government in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 371. Id. at 2. Mr. Yin also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $3, 445, 589.00 to the Washington State Department of Revenue and the United States Treasury. Id. at 4. This amount approximated the amount of unpaid and unreported taxes attributed to the use of modified POS devices supplied by Mr. Yin. Crim. Dkt. #7 at 7. The plea agreement included a provision that Mr. Yin would receive credit towards his restitution debt for "any amounts already paid." Id. at 4.

         On April 14, 2017, the Court sentenced Mr. Yin to eighteen months of imprisonment and ordered him to pay restitution in accordance with his plea agreement. Crim. Dkt. #23. During the sentencing hearing, the Government clarified the plea agreement's restitution section that granted Mr. Yin credit for "amounts already paid." The Government stated that Mr. Yin would receive restitution credit for any payments of unpaid taxes made by businesses that used modified POS devices supplied by Mr. Yin. Crim. Dkt. #25 at 14. The Government also agreed to assist Mr. Yin and his counsel, Mr. Davis, in tracking these payments for purposes of calculating Mr. Yin's remaining restitution debt. Id. at 16.

         Following sentencing, Mr. Yin failed to begin paying restitution. On June 21, 2017, the court issued a Writ of Continuing Garnishment to Mr. Yin and T. Rowe Price, the holder of Mr. Yin's retirement accounts. Garnish. Dkt. #3. On August 7, 2017, having received no restitution payment from Mr. Yin, the Government moved to have the court enter a garnishment order directing T. Rowe Price to transfer eligible funds from Mr. Yin's retirement account to the court as payment towards his restitution debt. Garnish. Dkt. #7 at 2-3.

         Mr. Yin's attorney challenged the Government's motion on August 17, 2017, asserting that the garnishment writ was improperly served and that Mr. Yin's retirement funds were protected from the proposed garnishment order. Garnish. Dkt. #9 Ex. 1. Mr. Yin also simultaneously attempted to challenge the Government's motion pro se. Garnish. Dkt. # 11. As a part of his challenge to the garnishment motion, Mr. Yin made a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Garnish. Dkt. #14 at 4. Mr. Yin claimed that Mr. Davis was ineffective in negotiating his plea agreement because the agreement did not include a clear and precise method to account for the credit he was to receive for any tax payments made by businesses that used his modified POS devices. Id.

         The court ordered Mr. Yin's pro se filings stricken because he was still represented by Mr. Davis at the time of his response to the garnishment motion. Garnish. Dkt. #17. Mr. Davis then moved to withdraw from representing Mr. Yin because of Mr. Yin's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Garnish. Dkt. #18. The court granted Mr. Davis's motion on October 5, 2017. Garnish. Dkt. #21.

         On October 19, 2017, Mr. Yin filed this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus asking for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, claiming a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel. Dkt. #1.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a), a federal prisoner may file a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his or her sentence "upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack . . . .''

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c), there is no right to appeal from a final order in a proceeding under § 2255 unless a circuit judge issues a certificate of appealability. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(B).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Restitution Claims ...


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