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United States v. Gonzalez

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

July 14, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
FELIPE ALVARADO GONZALEZ, Petitioner. Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-152

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Felipe Alvarado Gonzalez's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody ("§ 2255 Motion") (ECF No. 332). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the § 2255 Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

a. Factual Background

This case relates to Petitioner Felipe Alvarado Gonzalez's ("Gonzalez" or "Petitioner") involvement in a Fraudulent Document Enterprise (FDE) that specialized in selling high-quality false identification cards to illegal aliens in the United States. The FDE had various cells throughout the United States, including in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

According to the Statement of Facts (ECF No. 128), beginning prior to August 2013 and continuing through on or about October 30, 2013, Gonzalez managed the Pawtucket, Rhode Island document production cell under the supervision of Manuel Hidalgo Flores. Within the Pawtucket cell, Gonzalez was responsible for manufacturing and distributing fraudulent documents using information obtained from clients. Gonzalez regularly advertised the document production center to illegal aliens through daily distribution of business cards, word of mouth, and other methods. He would recruit illegal alien clients who wished to obtain false identification documents, including counterfeit Permanent Resident Alien Cards, Social Security cards, out-of-state identification cards, and various international documents. During the time he was involved in the fraudulent document conspiracy, he was personally involved in the unlawful possession, transfer, and production of over 100 false identification documents.

b. Procedural Background

On October 23, 2014, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a two-count indictment against Gonzalez and eleven of his co-conspirators. A six-count superseding indictment (ECF No. 85) was returned on December 3, 2013 charging Gonzalez and his co-conspirators with: (1) Racketeering Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1692(d) (count one); (2) Conspiracy and Attempt to Commit Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury in Aid of Racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(6) and 2 (counts two and three); (3) Attempted Robbery Affecting Commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951(a) and 2 (count four); (4) Conspiracy to Possess, Produce and Transfer False Identification Documents and Possess a Document-Making Implement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(f) (count five); and (5) Money Laundering Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (count six). Gonzalez was specifically charged in counts one, five and six.

On April 2, 2014, pursuant to a written plea agreement and accompanying statement of facts, Gonzalez pled guilty to Counts One and Six of the superseding indictment. (ECF No. 127.) On July 7, 2014, this Court sentenced Gonzalez to 60 months' imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release on count one, and 60 months' imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, to run concurrently, on count six. Gonzalez was represented by Robert P. Geary ("Geary").[1] Gonzalez did not appeal his sentence.

On March 12, 2015, Gonzalez filed the instant § 2255 Motion. In his § 2255 Motion, Gonzalez alleges three grounds for relief:

Ground One: Ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to explain the consequences of a guilty plea
Ground Two: Due process violation because counsel and the Court failed to advise Gonzalez of "free" attorneys who could help him file a direct appeal
Ground Three: Ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to advise Gonzalez of his right to appeal

The United States filed a response in opposition on June 5, 2015 ("Gov'ts Resp.") (ECF No. 340)[2], and provided Gonzalez with Roseboro notice (ECF No. 341). Gonzalez filed a reply on July 7, 2015 ("Reply ...


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