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United States v. Golding

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 24, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DEVON N. GOLDING, REUBEN F. GOODWIN, PHILLIP L. JONES, DWIGHT McTIZIC, NICOLE McTIZIC, KAZIM A. MEO, and REHAN RANA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          AUDREY G. FLEISSIGQ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the pretrial motions of Defendants Devon N. Golding, Reuben F. Goodwin, Phillip L. Jones, Dwight McTizic (“D. McTizic”), Nicole McTizic (“N. McTizic”), Kazim A. Meo (“K. Meo”), and Rehan Rana. As set forth more fully in the Order and Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 350), Defendants are charged in thirty-one counts with two conspiracies, four health care fraud schemes and related substantive offenses alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2016 with respect to specimen-testing by three different medical laboratories: Allegiance Medical Services, LTD (“Allegiance”), AMS Medical Laboratory, Inc. (“AMS”), and Western Slope Laboratory, LLC (“Western Slope”).

         Defendants Rana and Golding moved to dismiss the indictment, (ECF Nos. 139 and 199, respectively), and Defendant Rana moved, in the alternative, for a bill of particulars (ECF No. 140). Defendants Rana, Golding, D. McTizic, K. Meo and Jones moved for early disclosure or production of Jencks Act materials. (ECF Nos. 142, 200, 264, 267, and 301, respectively). Defendants Rana, Golding, and K. Meo moved to compel production of statements of non-cooperating witnesses. (ECF Nos. 142, 200, and 267, respectively). Defendants Rana, Goodwin, Golding, N. McTizic, D. McTizic, K. Meo, and Jones moved to sever, variously, counts and individual Defendants. (ECF No. 141, 186, 198, 257, 263, 266, and 299). All pretrial motions were referred to United States Magistrate Patricia L. Cohen under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).

         The Magistrate Judge held a hearing on Defendants' motions on April 11, 2018, at which all Defendants appeared with counsel, except two Defendants who waived their appearances and appeared only through counsel, and Defendant Jones, who appeared pro se, with standby counsel. At the hearing, counsel presented argument, and the Magistrate Judge ordered further briefing on one issue.

         With respect to the trial, various Defendants moved to sever the trial on Counts 1-6 (involving Golding, Rana and K. Meo, and alleging conduct occurring between 2009 and late 2012 related to specimen-testing by Allegiance) from Counts 7-24 (involving Goodwin, Jones, and the McTizics, and alleging conduct between 2012 to 2016 related to specimen-testing by AMS). Defendants further requested severance of their trials on Counts 25-31, which involved conduct of Anthony Camillo[1] and AMS with respect to the alleged health care schemes related to specimen-testing by Western Slope. The United States consented to these severance requests, agreeing to a trial of Defendants Golding, Rana, and K. Meo on Counts 1-6; a separate trial of Defendants Goodwin, Jones, the McTizics, and AMS on Counts 7-24; and a separate trial of AMS on counts 25-31.

         Various Defendants also moved for further severance based on allegations of improper joinder or to avoid prejudice under Rule 14(a), Fed. R. Crim. P., including (i) arguments that they should not be tried on any count in which they are not named; (ii) arguments that they had no knowledge of or interaction with some of the Defendants also named in their severed trial; (iii) arguments that even if severed, joint trials of Counts 1-6 or 7-24 would raise Bruton[2] issues, expose them to mutually antagonistic defenses, require defense attorneys to comment on a co-defendant's failure to testify, and result in “spillover” that the jury would be unable to compartmentalize.

         Judge Cohen issued an Order and Report and Recommendation, ordering that Defendant Rana's motion for a bill of particulars be denied and that Defendants' motions for early disclosure of Jencks Act materials (ECF No. 264 and 301) and for early production of Jencks Act materials and to compel production of Jencks Act materials and to compel production of statements of non-cooperating witnesses be denied (ECF Nos. 142, 200, and 267). Judge Cohen further recommended that the motions to dismiss of Defendants Rana and Golding be denied; and that Defendants' motions to sever be granted in part and denied in part, ordering separate trials of Counts 1-6, 7-24, and 25-31, consistent with the consent of the United States, but otherwise denying the various motions for further severance or separate trials. (ECF No. 350).

         Defendant D. McTizic filed Objections to the R&R, however he thereafter withdrew his objection on July 17, 2018 (ECF No. 384). Defendant Rana filed an objection (ECF No. 360) to the recommendation denying his motion to dismiss the indictment (ECF No. 139) and to the order denying his alternative motion for bill of particulars (ECF No. 140). The United States filed a response to Defendant Rana's objections. No. Defendants filed any objections to the Magistrate Judge's recommendations with respect to severance or to the Magistrate Judge's orders denying early production of Jencks Act Materials or to compel production of statements of non-cooperating witnesses. Nor did Defendant Golding file an objection to the recommendation that his motion to dismiss the indictment be denied.

         When a party objects to a report and recommendation in a criminal case, the court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the record or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” United States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)).

         The Court conducted a de novo review of Defendants' motions to dismiss and of Defendant Rana's alternative motion for bill of particulars, as well as the various motions to sever. Based on that review, the undersigned concludes that the Magistrate Judge made proper findings and correctly analyzed the issues. The Court therefore adopts and incorporates the thorough reasoning in the Order and Report and Recommendation.

         A. Defendants' Motions to Sever

         After careful consideration, and in light of the fact that no Defendant filed any objections to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation on the motions to sever, the Court will adopt and sustain the well-reasoned recommendation of the Magistrate Judge on the various motions to sever, for the reasons set forth in the R&R. To avoid any issues regarding improper joinder or prejudice from a joint trial, and in light of the agreement of the United States to conduct three separate trials, the Court finds it appropriate to order separate trials of Counts 1-6, 7-24, and 25-31. However, the Court finds Defendants' arguments for further severance and separate trials to be unpersuasive, and any issues with regard to Bruton to be unsupported on the current record. As such, all such motions of Defendants for further severance are rejected for the reasons stated in the R&R.

         B. Defendant Rana's Motion to Dismiss Indictment and Counts

         In his Objections, Defendant Rana objects to the Magistrate Judge's findings that the indictment sufficiently charges the offenses in Counts 1 and 3-6 against him, and that the indictment sufficiently alleges the facts necessary to support a “health care fraud scheme” under 18 U.S.C. § 1347, and a conspiracy against him. Based on a review of the record, the ...


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