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United States v. Bibian

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 16, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RAMIN BIBIAN, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STRIKE OR REFORM PLEA AGREEMENT STIPULATION

RICHARD SEEBORG, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 18, 2012, Ramin Bibian pled guilty to one count of a transfer of false identification documents in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028. As part of that plea agreement, Bibian and the government entered a stipulation that, among other things, indicated a specific range of criminal earnings. Elsewhere in the document, the amount of criminal earnings was stated at a single amount at the high end of the previously-stated range, for the purpose of forfeiture. Having not yet been sentenced, Bibian now moves either to strike or to reform the later reference to criminal earnings subject to forfeiture. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is denied.

II. BACKGROUND

In August 2012, Bibian was charged by indictment with three counts of a transfer of false identification documents (18 U.S.C. § 1028) as well as a forfeiture allegation (18 U.S.C. §§ 982(a)(2)(B) and 1028(b)(5)). Bibian pled guilty to a single count of the transfer of false identification documents on December 18, 2012.

As part of that plea agreement, Bibian and the government entered into a stipulation that, among other things, addressed the amount of money earned by Bibian as a result of his criminal activity. Paragraph two of the filed stipulation provides in relevant part:

I earned more than $1, 000, 00 [sic] from the sale of "international driver's licenses, " false state driver's licenses, and false state identification documents and I understand that the government will argue that I earned $1.9 million from such sales."

The parties agree that the first sentence contains a typo; the correct range of stipulated criminal earning is between $1 million and $1.9 million.

While paragraph two provides a range of criminal earnings, the stipulation regarding forfeiture in paragraph eleven states a specific dollar amount:

I admit that I earned $1, 900, 000 as the result of my criminal activity, discussed above, and the amount I earned is proceeds from the crime to which I am pleading guilty. I consent to a forfeiture money judgment of $1, 900, 000 (the "Forfeiture Money Judgment"), as stipulated or ordered in a preliminary order of forfeiture.

At the time he entered his plea, Bibian was assisted by his retained counsel, David Kettel. According to Kettel,

The most vigorously negotiated provisions of that plea agreement were the factual basis in paragraph two and the forfeiture admission in paragraph eleven, both addressing the amount of money allegedly earned by Mr. Bibian as a result of his criminal activity. During the course of the negotiations on these provisions, the parties sometimes proposed a specific dollar amount as being earned by Mr. Bibian and at other times proposed a range of dollar amounts.

(Declaration of David Kettel in Support of Defendant's Motion, ¶ 2.) In fact, the final stipulation filed with the court includes an interlineation as to the upper range of Bibian's criminal earnings, with the original amount of "$2, 210, 642.39" crossed out and replaced with $1.9 million." (Plea Agr., ¶ 2.)

During his plea colloquy, Bibian affirmed that he had had an opportunity to review the plea agreement and to discuss it with his counsel. (Tr. 5.) The record also reflects that he took time to read the agreement in court. (Tr. 2. ("Defendant examines document.").) He also ...


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