United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S LETTER MOTION FOR
RETURN OF RESTITUTION PAYMENT (DKT. NO. 30)
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Clevert sentenced the defendant in 1999, but because Judge
Clevert has retired since then, the clerk's office
assigned the defendant's case to this court. On March 13,
2018, the defendant wrote a letter to Chief Judge Griesbach,
asking Judge Griesbach to return to him a $2, 500 tax refund
that the United States Department of the Treasury had
intercepted. Dkt. No. 30. The government responded, dkt. no.
31, and the defendant replied, dkt. no. 32. The court denies
the defendant's motion.
defendant's letter states that he does not owe
restitution payments. First, he asserts that when probation
was interviewing him in preparing his presentence
investigation report, he “was told” that he would
receive either a prison sentence or an order to pay
restitution. Dkt. No. 30 at 1. Second, he says that Judge
Clevert “reneged on that promise, ” and both
imposed a sentence of incarceration and ordered him to pay
restitution. Id. Third, he says that, while he was
on probation, he made $100 monthly payments Judge Clevert had
ordered. Id. He says that when his probation ended,
he told his probation officer that he was done making
payments; he claims that the probation officer
“shrugged his shoulders and said that it was no longer
his concern and that [the defendant] could do that.”
Id. Fourth, he denies that he signed a letter at the
conclusion of his probation, agreeing to continue making
payments. Id. at 1-2. He claims that the form in his
file contains a forgery of his signature. Id. at 2.
He alleges that Judge Griesbach fraudulently confiscated his
tax refund. Id.
government responded by letter, informing the court that the
defendant owed $1, 610, 980.68 in outstanding restitution.
Dkt. No. 31 at 2. Counsel for the government indicates that
the government has sent “repeated letters” to the
defendant, explaining that he still owes restitution, and
that, despite these letters, the defendant “persists in
his misunderstanding and in his refusal to provide this
office with information regarding his financial
situation.” Id. at 1. The government makes
clear that it “will continue to enforce collection of
this outstanding restitution obligation, including use of the
Treasury Offset program and any other available collection
remedies under the Federal Debt Collection Procedures
Act.” Id. at 2.
September 15, 1999, Judge Clevert sentenced the defendant to
serve twenty-seven (27) months imprisonment, followed by
three years of supervised release. Dkt. No. 24. The judgment
also ordered the defendant to make a total restitution
payment of $856, 572.69, plus interest. Id.
According to the government's letter, the defendant
started serving his supervised release term on May 11, 2001.
Dkt. No. 31 at 1. Three years later, on April 16, 2004, Judge
Clevert entered an order, stating that Judge Clevert
“ORDERED that the term of supervised release discharge
on schedule on 5/10/04 with restitution
owing.” Dkt. No. 29 (emphasis added).
Mandatory Victims Restitution Act requires a court to order
restitution to any victim for offenses against property,
including fraud. 18 U.S.C. §3663A(c)(1)(A)(ii). A
government agency can constitute a victim under the MVRA.
United States v. Leahy, 464 F.3d 773, 793 (7th Cir.
2006) (citing United States v. Sapoznik, 161 F.3d
1117, 1121 (7th Cir. 1998)). The court has no idea whether,
before sentencing, anyone told the defendant that he'd
either get a prison sentence or restitution, but not
both. The court doubts that, because the law is clear that
federal judges are mandated by law to impose restitution in
cases where the offense caused a monetary loss to a victim.
Regardless of what anyone did, or didn't, tell the
defendant, or what the defendant may have believed, the law
required Judge Clevert to impose restitution.
Clevert did impose restitution, as the law required him to
do, and the docket shows that the defendant did not appeal
the judgment. That means that there is a valid order for the
defendant to pay restitution. He has not paid the full
is no law or statute that says that a defendant stops owing
restitution, or has the right to stop paying it, once his
supervised release term expires. Whatever the defendant's
probation officer may, or may not, have told him, the
defendant's restitution obligation remained after his
supervised release terminated, and Judge Clevert confirmed
that through his order of April 16, 2004. The defendant never
has been released from his restitution obligation. It appears
from the defendant's letter than he unilaterally decided
to stop making restitution payments at the conclusion of his
supervised release. The law does not give him that ability.
Restitution is as much a part of his sentence as the
incarceration component or the supervised release component.
defendant currently owes restitution of $1, 610, 980.68. The
government has indicated that it will continue to use the
Federal Treasury Offset Program to enforce the
defendant's restitution obligation. Under 31 U.S.C.
§3720a, subsections (a) and (c), the court finds that
the government acted within its rights by intercepting the
defendant's $2, 500 tax refund.
court ORDERS that the defendant's motion
for return of restitution ...