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United States v. Volin

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES FRANCIS VOLIN, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JANIE S. MAYERON, Magistrate Judge.

The above matter came before the Court upon Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as a Result of Search and Seizure [Docket No. 24]. Robert M. Lewis, Assistant United States Attorney, appeared on behalf of the Government. Doug Olson, Esq., appeared on behalf of defendant, who was personally present. The matter has been referred to this Court for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72.1(c).

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Defendant James Francis Volin has been charged with 18 counts of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements, in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5324. Defendant has challenged the search and seizure of physical evidence from his residence located at XXXX Bolland Trail, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. At the hearing on October 7, 2014, the parties agreed that defendant's motion could be resolved based on the four corners of the search warrant and application. See Government Ex. 1.

The facts underlying the present motion are as follows: During the course of investigation of defendant, Sergeant Mike DeJong of the Minnesota State Patrol Vehicle Crimes Unit applied for a search warrant of the residence located at XXXX Bolland Trail, Inver Grove Heights, MN, which Sgt. DeJong stated was a single family residence "owned, held for resale or otherwise in the possession of" defendant. Government Ex. 1, p. 2. The relevant portion of Sgt. DeJong's affidavit supporting the search warrant is as follows:

In October of 2011, the Minnesota State Patrol Vehicle Crimes Unit was initially contacted by Gary's Auto Sales in Mankato, MN, regarding someone using their business name to sell motor vehicles. Gary's Auto Sales of Mankato, MN, had been contacted by Minnesota Driver & Vehicle Services about citizen complaints regarding incomplete paperwork on some vehicle sales done by them. The owner of Gary's Auto Sales in Mankato, MN, compared their records to the vehicles which had incomplete paperwork and found that they had never possessed or sold any of those vehicles. The owner said the vehicles were titled in Woodbury, MN.
Also in October 2011, the Woodbury Police Department forwarded a complaint to the Minnesota State Patrol Vehicle Crimes Unit regarding a person illegally selling motor vehicles from his residence in Woodbury, MN. The complaint identified the person as JAMES FRANCIS VOLIN... of XXXX Eagle View Blvd. in Woodbury, MN, phone number 612-414-XXXX. The complaint also included information that JAMES VOLIN has a Minnesota LLC with the name of Gary's Auto Sales of Woodbury, LLC, and that JAMES VOLIN was purchasing these vehicles through the Manheim Auto Auction.
In November 2012, the Minnesota State Patrol Vehicle Crimes Unit received a complaint from a private citizen who had purchased a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant... on 02-07-2012 for $4087.00 from Gary's Auto Sales of Eau Claire, WI. The complainant saw the vehicle on Craigslist and called the number of the posting, 612-414-XXXX, and met a male at a house in Woodbury who identified himself as JIM VOLIN. The complainant said VOLIN indicated that he worked for Gary's Auto Sales. The complainant wrote a personal check for the vehicle which was made out to JIM VOLIN personally.
...
[T]he complainant went to the license center to renew the registration and get current tabs... [but] was told the registration could not be renewed because the title had not been transferred and no sales tax or fees were paid to transfer it.... The complainant provided the Vehicle Crimes Unit with copies of the vehicle purchase contract completed JIM VOLIN in the name of Gary's Auto Sales of Eau Claire, WI, and the check wrote [sic] to JIM VOLIN. JIM VOLIN wrote his phone number on the vehicle purchase contract, 612-414-XXXX... signed his name and dated it 2-7-2012. The contract shows that JIM VOLIN had collected $287.00 in taxes and fees from the complainant. Those funds were not paid to the State of Minnesota....
VOLIN then... gave the complainant a Minnesota 21-Day permit... stamped with Gary's Auto Sales of Eau Claire, WI, and bore the same signature as the check endorsement and vehicle purchase contract. When the 21-Day permit expired the complainant attempted to contact JIM VOLIN multiple times but he did not respond to the calls. To this date, the title has not been transferred and the taxes and fees have not been paid by JIM VOLIN.
In December 2012 [the affiant] was assigned to this case and began [his] investigation on JAMES FRANCIS VOLIN. [The affiant] met with the two complainants who originally contacted the Woodbury Police Department about the illegal vehicle sales activity of JAMES FRANCIS VOLIN. The complainants provided... a large amount of documents and information regarding vehicles which JAMES VOLIN was purchasing from auctions and then selling them mainly on Craigslist, but also on a few other on-line auction sites. The information showed VOLIN advertising nearly 100 vehicles from August 2011 to December 2012.
[The affiant] contacted an investigator with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation... [and was] told that JAMES FRANCIS VOLIN does not hold a buyers representative license for Gary's Auto Sales.... The Wisconsin investigator told [the affiant] that Gary's Auto Sales had no vehicles displayed at the dealership and that it was presently for sale due to failure to pay taxes.
In February 2013, [the affiant] went to Manheim Northstar Auto Auction in Shakopee, MN.... The office manager told [the affiant] that JAMES VOLIN... [was a] listed authorized buyer[] at the auction. The Manheim office manager said that in January 2012 JAMES VOLIN gave her an Auction Access Authorization signed by the owner of Gary's Auto Sales of Eau Claire, WI. This authorization is not a legal authorization because JAMES VOLIN is not a ...

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