United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
SUPPRESS , DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS 
AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR BILL OF
G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
health care fraud case, Defendants Seema Barnwal and Krishna
Baranwal are charged in an indictment with four counts
relating to their alleged scheme to pay kickbacks in
violation of federal health care laws. Defendants are charged
with participating in significant health care fraud and
kickback schemes at Magnum Home Health Care, Inc., a home
health care agency owned by Defendants. Counts one and two of
the indictment charge that Defendants willfully formed and
carried out a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and a conspiracy to pay
and receive health care kickbacks in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 371. Counts three and four charge the Defendants with
paying kickbacks in connection with a federal health care
program in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(2).
Defendants are alleged to have carried out their conspiracy
from approximately 2012 through May 2018.
before the Court are three motions filed jointly by
Defendants: Defendants' motion to suppress (ECF No. 31),
Defendants' motion to dismiss the indictment (ECF No.
29), and Defendants' motion for a bill of particulars
(ECF No. 30). The government opposes the motions. On January
10, 2019, the Court held a hearing in connection with the
motions and took the motions under advisement. Having
carefully reviewed the record in this matter and after
considering the argument of counsel presented at the hearing,
for the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Defendants' motion to suppress,
DENIES Defendants' motion to dismiss
without prejudice, and GRANTS IN PART
Defendants' motion for a bill of particulars.
Defendants' Motion to Suppress
25, 2018, government investigators executed search warrants
at Defendants' residence and place of work. Defendants
share both a residence and a place of work. The search
warrants, which are identical, authorized the seizure of a
laundry list of records, documents, information, and data,
including computer equipment and storage devices as well as
any of the data contained therein related to Defendants'
home health care enterprise.
move to suppress all evidence seized as a result of the
search warrants. With respect to their residence, Defendants
contend that the search warrant affidavit failed to establish
probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be
found at their residence. Defendants further argue that the
search warrants are constitutionally overbroad in terms of
both the scope of the items and the time frame covered. The
Government responds that the affidavit submitted in support
of the search warrants sufficiently establishes probable
cause, and that the items seized pursuant to the warrant are
relevant to the criminal activity charged in this case.
order to determine if the search warrant affidavit
established probable cause, the Court must look to the
totality of the circumstances, including the veracity and
basis of knowledge of persons supplying the information.
See Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, (1983).
“Probable cause exists when there is a fair
probability, given the totality of the circumstances, that
contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a
particular place.” United States v. Davidson,
936 F.2d 856, 859 (6th Cir.1991) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). “[R]eviewing courts are to
accord the magistrate's [probable cause] determination
great deference.” United States v. Allen, 211
F.3d 970, 973 (6th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
the affidavit submitted in connection with the search
warrants establishes sufficient probable cause for the
seizure of evidence, contraband, fruits, and
instrumentalities of Defendants' alleged crimes from 2010
through 2018. The evidence provided in the affidavit
demonstrates that Defendants formed their home health care
business in 2009. Given that the statements of the
cooperating witnesses indicated that a fully developed
kickback scheme was in place as of 2015, it was reasonable
for the magistrate judge to find that there was probable
cause to search Defendants' records and property for
evidence of the conspiracy and fraud from before 2015.
See, e.g., United States v. Bli, 147 F.Supp.2d 734,
742 (E.D. Mich. 2001); United States v. Roos, 2013
WL 1136638, at *9 (E.D. Ky. Jan. 24, 2013), report and
recommendation adopted, 2013 WL 1136629 (E.D. Ky. Mar.
18, 2013) (“Because no information was available to
limit the warrant to a particular time period, the warrant
was not overbroad.”). Moreover, even if the affidavit
did not establish probable cause to search records from the
2010 time period, evidence of Defendants' related and
prior business practices may be relevant to the later formed
criminal conspiracy and thus were properly seized pursuant to
the search warrants. See United States v. Abboud,
438 F.3d 554, 576 n. 7 (6th Cir. 2006) (“[E]vidence
that dated from outside of the time period may be relevant to
the activity within the time period.”).
affidavit also supports the scope of items seized pursuant to
the search warrants. It is well settled that items to be
seized pursuant to a search warrant must be described with
particularity to prevent “the seizure of one thing
under a warrant describing another.” Marron v.
United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196 (1927); see
Andresen v. Maryland, 427 U.S. 463, 480 (1976). However,
the Sixth Circuit has recognized that the degree of
specificity in a warrant must be flexible, depending upon the
type of items to be seized and the crime involved. See
United States v. Ables, 167 F.3d 1021, 1033 (6th Cir.
1998). “Thus[, ] a description is valid if it is as
specific as the circumstances and the nature of the activity
under investigation permit.” Id.; see
United States v. Blair, 214 F.3d 690, 697 (6th Cir.
example, in Blair the warrant described the items to
be seized as “[b]ooks, records, receipts, notes,
ledgers, airline tickets, money orders, passports, and other
papers relating to the transportation, importation, ordering,
sale, and distribution of controlled substances.”
Blair, 214 F.3d at 697. The warrant also authorized
seizure of records of financial transactions and electronic
equipment used to aid the defendants in their drug
trafficking activities. Id. The Sixth Circuit
concluded that the warrant did not violate the particularity
requirement of the Fourth Amendment because the records and
items sought were those related to the defendant's
drug-trafficking activities. Id. Relying on
Blair, in Elhorr, this Court found that a
search warrant was sufficiently particular where it sought
several categories of records specifically related to the
criminal activity being investigated-fraudulent Medicare
the reasoning of Blair and Elhorr, the same
result is reached here. All of the items identified in the
indictment were tied to or related to potential instruments
of Defendants' alleged health care fraud scheme. The
search warrants did not violate the particularity requirement
of the Fourth Amendment.
affidavit also sufficiently establishes a nexus to search the
Defendants' residence. The affidavit provided evidence
that Defendants brought work related materials to their home
and that they received work related materials through the
mail at their home. Defendants fail to demonstrate that
probable cause was lacking to conduct the search of their
contrary to Defendants' arguments here, the search
warrant affidavit at issue is supported by more than mere
suspicions or beliefs, and does in fact contain the
underlying factual circumstances of Defendants' criminal
activity. The affidavit cannot be characterized as a
“bare bones” affidavit. See United States v.
Weaver, 99 F.3d 1372, 1378 (6th Cir. 1996) (describing a
“bare bones” affidavit as one “that states
suspicions, beliefs, or conclusions, without providing some
underlying factual circumstances regarding veracity,
reliability, and basis of knowledge.”). Thus, even if
the search warrant was found to be defective, the
Leon good faith exception applies. See United
States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984); United States
v. Evers, 669 F.3d 645, 654 (6th Cir. 2012) (rejecting
the defendant's argument that search warrant affidavit
was “bare bones” and holding that the
Leon good-faith exception “which allows
admission of evidence seized in reasonable, good-faith
reliance on a search warrant that is subsequently held to be
defective” would apply). For these reasons,
Defendants' motion to suppress is denied.
Motion to ...