United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
SET ASIDE PLEA AND SENTENCING  AND SANCTIONING THE
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Alexandros Yfantidis pleaded guilty to mail fraud, in
violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1341. ECF 18. He now moves to
set aside his plea and the resultant sentence on the grounds
that his attorney coerced him into entering the agreement.
For the reasons below, the Court will deny the motion.
operated a laundry business out of a building in Warren,
Michigan. On May 4, 2011, someone uncoupled gas pipes in the
building and lit a candle, resulting in the building's
explosion and widespread damage to the surrounding
neighborhood. Yfantidis filed an insurance claim on the
building, eventually securing $236, 633.84 from the insurer.
He was later indicted on six counts: (1) arson, (2) mail
fraud, (3) use of fire to commit a federal felony, (4) bank
fraud, (5) obstruction of justice, and (6) bankruptcy fraud.
January 12, 2015, Yfantidis signed a plea agreement with the
Government in which he agreed to plead guilty to count two
(mail fraud) and the Government agreed to dismiss the
remaining five counts. ECF 18. The agreement stated that
there were "no sentencing guideline disputes" and
that Yfantidis's guideline range was 63 to 78 months.
Id. at PgID 51. The agreement made no mention of
next month, Yfantidis appeared for his plea hearing. The
Court questioned him directly about his age, birthplace,
schooling, health, and whether he understood the Court's
questions. Plea Hr'g Tr., ECF 37, 5:2-7:12. He answered
each question directly. At one point, his lawyer interjected:
THE COURT: Okay. I take it you read and write English pretty
DEFENDANT YFANTIDIS: I can -- I cannot write very well or --
I understand but I cannot -- THE COURT: Okay.
MR. STEINGOLD: He understands fully, Your Honor. He
doesn't express himself as well as he understands.
THE COURT: Okay.
MR. STEINGOLD: But he certainly understands everything the
Court is saying.
THE COURT: Okay. You understand what I'm saying, you can
get through the case and the materials with the assistance of
your lawyer, correct?
DEFENDANT YFANTIDIS: Correct, Your ...