United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JOINDER; DENYING MOTION TO
SUPPRESS AND MOTION TO PRECLUDE EVIDENCE DKT. NO. 65
H. KOH United States District Judge.
Laurence Miles (“Miles”) and Munsif Shirazi
(“Shirazi”) are charged with wire fraud,
conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering. Before
the Court are Miles's motion to suppress and motion to
preclude evidence, ECF No. 65 (“Mot.”), and
Shirazi's motion for joinder in Miles's motion to
preclude evidence, ECF No. 66. The Court finds this matter
suitable for decision without oral argument and hereby
VACATES the motion hearing set for March 29, 2017, at 9:15
a.m. Having considered the parties' briefing, the
relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court hereby
GRANTS Shirazi's motion for joinder, DENIES Miles's
motion to suppress, and DENIES Miles's and Shirazi's
motion to preclude evidence.
December 3, 2015, Miles was indicted, along with
co-defendants Shirazi, Robert Stephens
(“Stephens”), Rayan Lakshmanan
(“Lakshmanan”), and Shirley Molina
(“Shirley” or “Molina”)
(collectively, “Defendants”), on charges of (1)
conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1349; (2) wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1343; and (3) money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1957(a). ECF No. 1 (“Indictment”). The
Indictment charges Defendants with participating in a
“scheme to defraud whereby [Defendants] solicited
investors to provide money for medical care for
‘Shirley, ' who [Defendants] claimed was very ill
and due to inherit a large estate.” Id. at
¶¶ 10-13. Defendants promised investors a share of
Molina's estate once the assets were released from a
secret probate proceeding. Id. at ¶¶
10-14. However, Defendants knew “there was no estate to
be settled, ” and “Molina was not extremely ill
and was not the heiress to a large estate.”
Id. ¶ 14. This scheme began “in at least
2009” and continued “through November
2015.” Id. at ¶ 10. According to the
Indictment, Miles “held himself out as the executor and
trustee of [Molina's] estate.” Id. at
¶ 2. Shirazi was Miles's “assistant.”
Id. ¶ 3.
December 15, 2015, Shirazi entered a plea of not guilty. ECF
No. 11. On December 18, 2015, Miles entered a plea of not
guilty. ECF No. 14.
filed a motion to sever on February 22, 2017, which requested
that the Court sever Miles's trial from Molina's
trial. ECF No. 63. Shirazi and Lakshmanan joined in
Miles's motion. ECF Nos. 60, 64. On February 22, 2017,
Molina also filed a motion to sever, which requested that the
Court sever Molina's trial from that of her
co-defendants. ECF No. 62.
on March 8, 2017, Molina pled guilty. ECF No. 69. On March
15, 2017, Lakshmanan pled guilty. ECF No. 75. Accordingly,
Defendants' motions to sever are DENIED as moot.
February 22, 2017, Miles filed a motion to suppress and a
motion to preclude evidence. See Mot. Shirazi filed
a motion to join in Miles's motion to preclude. ECF No.
60. On March 15, 2017, the government filed an opposition to
Miles's motions. ECF No. 77 (“Opp.”).
moves to suppress the fruits of the government's search
of Miles's email account,
“firstname.lastname@example.org” (the “milestrust
email account”). See Mot. at 1. Miles and
Shirazi also move to preclude the government from introducing
any evidence of Miles's and Shirazi's arrests in 2007
by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Id. at
11. The Court first considers the motion to suppress, and
then the Court considers the motion to preclude.
Motion to Suppress
moves to suppress the fruits of the government's search
of the milestrust email account. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation (“FBI”) searched the milestrust
email account pursuant to a search warrant that was issued by
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins. See Opp.,
Ex. A (“Aff.”). The government's application
for the search warrant was supported by the affidavit of FBI
Agent Janet Palmore (“Agent Palmore”).
Id. Miles contends that suppression is warranted
because Agent Palmore's affidavit does not establish
probable cause to search the milestrust email account. Mot.
at 2. Moreover, Miles argues that the government's search
of the milestrust email account exceeded the scope of the
search protocol established in the search warrant.
Id. at 6.
Court first discusses Agent Palmore's affidavit and the
legal standard applicable to the Court's review of a
Magistrate Judge's issuance of a search warrant. The
Court then considers the merits of Miles's motion to
Agent Palmore's Affidavit
Palmore submitted an affidavit “in support of a request
for a search warrant for” nine specific email accounts
of Defendants. Aff. ¶ 1. Agent Palmore's
investigation into Defendants, which began in August 2014,
revealed “that Stephens and his co-conspirators [were]
soliciting funding from investors” for a woman named
“Shirley, ” who Defendants represented was
“a terminally ill elderly woman.” Id.
¶ 7. Defendants represented that “Shirley”
was the “heir to a one-billion dollar estate being held
up in probate court by the Federal Reserve Bank.”
Id. “In exchange for contributions towards
Shirley's medical expenses, investors” were told
that they would receive large returns “when
Shirley's trust fund [wa]s disbursed.” Id.
source, David Montellato (“Montellato”), informed
Agent Palmore “that from October 8, 2009 through
February 5, 2013, ” Montellato transferred
approximately $200, 000 to Stephens and Miles for
Shirley's medical expenses. Id. ¶ 8.
Montellato informed Agent Palmore that “Stephens was
the primary person who solicited [Montellato] to invest,
” and Miles was “the Trustee over the probate
matter.” Id. Stephens acted as the
“conduit between all investors and Miles.”
Id. Stephens represented to Montellato that
“Miles deal[t] directly with Shirley” and other
individuals involved in the “secret” probate
matter, including a San Francisco probate judge and
“officials from the Federal Reserve Bank.”
Id. Agent ...