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United States v. Israel

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 20, 2017



          MARK A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge

         Defendant Solomon Israel has been charged in an eighteen-count indictment with wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of forged state securities, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. See generally 1st Superseding Indictment (Dkt. 21).[1] After a detention hearing was held on May 19, 2017, the magistrate judge ordered Israel detained pending trial because there was no “combination of conditions that would reasonably assure” either the “defendant's appearance” or the “safety of any person and the community.” Detention Order at 2 (Dkt. 9).

         On June 18, 2017, Israel filed a motion for bond (Dkt. 15), arguing that he is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. A hearing was held on July 6, 2017, at which both sides proffered evidence. Following the hearing, this Court ordered both parties to submit proposed orders, which they timely did. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Government's Proffered Information

         The Government proffered the following items in support of detention: (i) the Pretrial Services Report recommending detention; (ii) evidence that Israel used the identity of Victim T.C. without her authorization to purchase merchandise at a local retail store; (iii) evidence that Israel assumed the identity of Victim R.B.; (iv) evidence that Israel possessed fraudulent car titles and presented those car titles to state authorities in Ohio and Illinois; (v) evidence that Israel fraudulently purchased a 2016 Chevrolet Express van using Victim J.M.'s identity; (vi) evidence that Israel possessed additional items consistent with identity theft and fraud; and (vii) Israel's criminal history. From these sources, the Government claimed that the following facts support detention.

         1. Use of T.C.'s Identity to Purchase iPad

         The Government has presented evidence that, on January 14, 2015, Israel used a credit card number belonging to T.C. to purchase an iPad at a Meijer store in Northville, Michigan. According to the Government, T.C. did not authorize the use of her credit card for that purpose, and that she reported the unauthorized use to law enforcement upon learning of it.

         2. Assumption of R.B.'s Identity

         The Government has presented evidence that Israel obtained state identification cards from both Michigan and Ohio under the identity of R.B., who is an individual currently incarcerated in Ohio. The Government has also presented evidence that Israel impersonated R.B. to engage in a variety of transactions, including financial transactions at a local bank and transaction at various offices of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

         3. Possession and Use of Fraudulent Car Titles

         The Government claims that Israel has retitled at least nine vehicles using fraudulent Michigan title paperwork, proffering that these fraudulent titles, which were presented to officials in Ohio and Illinois as part of title applications in those states, are part of a batch of known blank Michigan titles that were stolen from a Michigan Secretary of State office. According to the Government, the Michigan titles that Israel presented were never actually issued by the State of Michigan.

         The Government has further proffered that Israel was impersonating R.B. when he presented the fraudulent titles to Ohio and Illinois authorities. The Government also states that, near the time the fraudulent car titles were presented, cell tower records place Israel's phone in the vicinity of the transactions.

         4. Use of J.M.'s Identity to Purchase 2016 Chevrolet Express Van

         The Government has proffered additional evidence suggesting that one of the cars for which Israel presented a fraudulent title - a 2016 Chevrolet Express Van - was fraudulently purchased by Israel using a stolen identity. That vehicle was purchased in new condition for approximately $80, 000 from a North Carolina car dealership in July 2016. The individual who purchased the vehicle alleged to be J.M. According to the Government, the individual purporting to be J.M. corresponded with the dealership via phone, email, and Federal Express, but he did not appear at the dealership in person. When J.M. learned of the purchase, he contacted law enforcement, the financing bank, and the car dealership, notifying them that he did not, in fact, purchase the vehicle.

         The Government points to several pieces of evidence to support its conclusion that Israel impersonated J.M. in fraudulently purchasing the van. First, the Government has proffered that the vehicle was delivered to an address in Farmington Hills, Michigan, approximately one mile away from Israel's residence. Second, the Government presented evidence that Israel was involved in a car accident while driving the van less than two weeks after it was delivered.[2]Third, Israel presented a fraudulent Michigan car title to Illinois authorities when registering and titling the van in Illinois. Fourth, as part of that registration and title process, Israel appeared to have provided false information regarding the ownership history of the van, claiming that he purchased it in October 2015 in used condition. The Government claims that, while titling the van in Illinois, Israel also provided a fictitious address for the individual from whom he claimed to have purchased the van. Fifth, Israel apparently did not report the van as stolen or missing after it was impounded by law enforcement, which the Government claims is further evidence of Israel's illicit possession of the vehicle. Finally, the Government argues that other instances of identity theft by Israel demonstrate that Israel had both the opportunity to misuse J.M's identity and the intent to defraud.

         5. Search of Israel's Residence on Gateway Drive

         On May 16, 2017, law enforcement officials executed a federal search warrant at Israel's residence on Gateway Drive in Farmington Hills. According to the Government, several items were seized from the residence that are consistent with identity theft and document fraud, including blank insurance certificates, a copy of a fraudulent Michigan car title, and handwritten notes with personal identifying information of third parties.

         6. Israel's Flight from Law Enforcement

         According to the Pretrial Services Report, Israel reported to his State of Michigan probation agent on May 17, 2017. The agent informed Israel that she was going to take him into custody on the federal arrest warrant. ...

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