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United States v. Prieto

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

November 8, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARIA LAURA PRIETO, Defendant.

          MOORE, JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CHANGE OF PLEA

          JACQUELINE BECERRA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE was before the Court following an Order of Reference to conduct a proceeding for acceptance of a guilty plea by Defendant in this case. Based upon the change of plea hearing conducted on November 6, 2019, this Court makes the following findings, and recommends that the guilty plea be accepted.

         1. This Court advised Defendant of her right to have these proceedings conducted by the District Judge assigned to the case, and that this Court was conducting the change of plea hearing pursuant to an Order of Reference from the District Court. This Court further advised Defendant that the District Judge assigned to this case would be the sentencing judge and would make all findings and rulings concerning Defendant's sentence. This Court advised Defendant that she did not have to permit the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge to conduct this hearing and could request that the change of plea hearing be conducted by the District Judge assigned to the case. Defendant, Defendant's attorney and the Assistant United States Attorney all consented on the record to this Court conducting the change of plea hearing.

         2. This Court conducted a plea colloquy in accordance with the outline set forth in the Bench Book for District Judges, and in accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 11.

         3. Defendant pled guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment which charged Defendant with Conspiracy to Receive Health Care Kickbacks, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b(b)(1)(A). The Court advised the Defendant that as to that charge there is a statutory maximum sentence of: (1) five years imprisonment; (2) followed by three years of supervised release; (3) a fine of up to $250, 000; and a mandatory special assessment of $100.00. Defendant was also advised of the possibility of forfeiture and restitution. Defendant acknowledged that she understood the possible maximum penalties that could be imposed in the case.

         4. To set forth the factual basis for the entry of the plea, Defendant and the Government submitted a written Factual Proffer. The Factual Proffer, also read by the Government at the hearing, established all the essential elements of the crime to which Defendant is pleading guilty. Defendant acknowledged that the Factual Proffer was accurate.

         5. There is a written plea agreement which has been entered into by the parties in this case. This Court reviewed that plea agreement on the record and Defendant acknowledged that she understood the terms of the plea agreement and that she had signed the plea agreement.

         6. Defendant also waived her right to appeal her sentence unless the government files an appeal. The undersigned finds that Defendant's waiver of her right to appeal her sentence in this case is knowing and voluntary.

         7. Based upon all of the foregoing and the plea colloquy conducted by this Court, the undersigned finds that Defendant is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea, that Defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the consequences of the plea, and that the plea of guilty is a knowing and voluntary plea supported by an independent basis in fact containing each of the essential elements of the offense.

         8. Therefore, the undersigned recommends that Defendant be found to have freely and voluntarily entered her guilty plea to Count I of the Indictment filed in this case, as more particularly described herein, and that Defendant be adjudicated guilty of that offense.

         9. A pre-sentence investigation report is being prepared for the District Court by the United States Probation Office. The sentencing date is January 16, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.

         10. Defendant was advised that she should be prepared to self-surrender at the conclusion of the Sentencing Hearing.

         11. The parties were also instructed to immediately notify the Chambers of Chief Judge K. Michael Moore if the sentencing in ...


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