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Mouawad v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

July 6, 2015

ADEL FRANCIS MOUAWAD, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal No. 13-0217-CG-C

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

WILLIAM E. CASSADY, Magistrate Judge.

This cause is before the Court on petitioner Adel Francis Mouawad's motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 41) and the testimony of one of Mouawad's retained attorneys, Richard R. Williams, Esquire, during the June 29, 2015 evidentiary hearing conducted in this matter ( see Docs. 48 & 52). This action has been referred to the undersigned for entry of a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Following consideration of all relevant pleadings in this case, and the evidentiary hearing testimony, it is recommended that Mouawad's § 2255 motion be GRANTED and that he be resentenced.

PERTINENT FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On September 25, 2013, Mouawad was charged in a two-count indictment with laundering money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(3)(B), [1] and failing to file a "Report of Cash Payments Over $10, 000 Received in a Trade or Business[, ]'" in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5331.[2] (Doc. 1, at 1-2.) These charges arose as the result of an undercover "sting" operation conducted by agents with the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). Indeed, almost ten months prior to the indictment and approximately five months prior to the actual money laundering and failure to report, that is, on December 12, 2012, the following conversation was surreptitiously recorded by an undercover agent:

Mouawad: Okay, man. Tell me what you have in mind.
UCA: Basically, here's the deal. These guys are making a shitload of money. More than they thought. We opened up a line in Chicago, and they're moving a lot of kilos up there. They're making a lot of money. They get kilos really cheap down here?
Mouawad: What?
UCA: They get kilos, coke-
Mouawad: I don't deal with this.
UCA: I don't deal with it either. What I'm dealing with is the money that's coming from it. That's how I get paid. So what I need to do is find a way to get this going to where you're taking my money like Mike told you and I just gotta make it look cool.
Mouawad: So how much money you wanna spend?
UCA: Oh, in the beginning, I'm thinkin' 40, 50, to see how it works out.
Mouawad: 40, 50.
UCA: And then go from there.
Mouawad: So, uh, what you want, you want me invest, I mean in what [U/I]. Pawn shop is good business. You don't like pawn shop?
UCA: You own a pawn shop?
Mouawad: What?
UCA: Do you own a pawn shop?
Mouawad: I can open one.
UCA: You can open one? I know Pawn ...

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