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United States v. Poimboeuf

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

April 22, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROBERT C POIMBOEUF 01 DONNA G POIMBOEUF 02

          HICKS JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          MARK L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Robert and Donna Poimboeuf (collectively “Defendants”) were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with filing a false tax return. Doc. 1. The grand jury later returned a superseding indictment charging Defendants with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and four counts of making false statements on income tax returns. Doc. 29. Before the court are several discovery motions filed by the parties. The motions are granted in part and denied in part as explained below.

         Motion for Production of Documents (Doc. 45)

         Defendants[1] ask that the Government be compelled to produce all documents relating to (1) AdvanceMed's audit of D&G, (2) the investigation conducted by Christopher Knighton, and (3) the grand jury investigation. Defendants argue that the AdvanceMed audit will indicate that Defendants could not reliably determine D&G's income and receipt information using 1099 forms submitted to D&G by third parties. They claim that the prior investigation may have gathered information about the correctness of the third-party gross receipt information. If the information gathered during the audit differs from the information provided to Defendants by third-party payers, this information would be material to whether Defendants knowingly submitted false tax returns.

         In its response (Doc. 55), the Government states that, to determine the accuracy of the amount of gross receipts and income Defendants received from third-party payers, the Government looked at the bank statements of D&G holdings. All of the bank statements have been turned over to Defendants in discovery, and Defendants have access to the information in their records. Furthermore, the Government states that it is not relying on any of the allegations of misconduct documented in the prior investigation.

         The court agrees with the Government. Defendants are not charged with improper billing practices. The gravamen of the pending charges are that Defendants knowingly and willfully understated the gross receipts of their business, D&G. The court will not require the Government to produce its investigative file on charges that were not indicted. The court fully expects that the Government will comply with discovery obligations and produce any Brady materials in its possession that pertain to this case.

         Defendants also argue that information concerning the timeline and reasons for the post-payment audit and resulting grand jury investigation is material to the impeachment of government investigators. Defendants contend that the prosecutor was “determined to find any charges that could justify the time and resources they had spent investigating now nonviable Medicare charges.” Doc. 45, p. 5. They assert that this conclusion is supported by the fact that the IRS Special agent leading the investigation was married to an investigator in the U.S. Attorney's Office.

         This argument borders on the absurd. The grand jury investigation into tax charges began over a year before the Medicare Appeals Council's decision, so the Appeals Council's decision could not be the cause of the investigation into new charges. Furthermore, it is well settled that the reasons a defendant is charged with a crime are irrelevant so long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused has committed an offense. United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 464 (1996). The information sought is not a proper subject of discovery on the showing made. Accordingly, this request is also denied.

         Motion for Impeaching Information (Doc. 46)

         Defendants seek entry of an order for the Government to make an inquiry with respect to any Government witness and disclose several categories of documents, such as rap sheets, prior bad acts, consideration or promises given to witnesses, personnel files, and other information. Doc. 46.

         In this division, the Government routinely exceeds its discovery obligations, not just under Rule 16, but also under Brady, Giglio, and the Jencks Act. Indeed, as reflected in the Government's response, it has already invited defense counsel to its office to view Jencks material. But much of the information itemized in Defendants' motion goes beyond any obligation of the Government. For example, the Government has no obligation to obtain personnel files of non-government employees or to use NCIC to vet every potential witness. However, the court expects that the Government will produce any relevant criminal history information that it has in its possession.

         Motion for Disclosure and Inspection of ...


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