United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is third party Iman Mohamed's Motion to Quash
Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 3410 (Dkt. 83). Ms. Mohamed
seeks to quash a subpoena issued to Wells Fargo Bank. The
subpoena asks the bank to produce various documents relating
to Ms. Mohamed's bank accounts and financial
transactions. For the reasons explained below, the Court will
grant the motion and quash the subpoena to the extent it
seeks documents related to Ms. Mohamed's finances. The
Court will deny the motion to the extent it seeks to prevent
the bank from producing records related to Defendant Lawrence
2013, Defendant Lawrence Sikutwa pleaded guilty to conspiring
to file false claims for refunds, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 286. The Court sentenced Mr. Sikutwa to 21 months'
imprisonment, followed by a three-year term of supervised
release. See Judgment, Dkt. 81. The Court also
ordered Mr. Sikutwa to pay $1, 466, 799 to the IRS as
restitution. Mr. Sikutwa has hardly made a dent in satisfying
the restitution order; according to the government, he still
owes $1, 465, 544. See Response, Dkt. 85, at 2.
efforts to collect the restitution order, the government is
now seeking to obtain information relating to third party
Iman Mohamed's finances. Ms. Mohamed is Mr. Sikutwa's
wife. The couple married on August 7, 2015, just a few weeks
after Mr. Sikutwa was released from prison. The government
says it believes Ms. Mohamed's financial records
“may lead to information regarding money, accounts, and
other assets of Defendant.” Response, Dkt. 85,
Mohamed moves to quash the subpoena the government issued to
Wells Fargo Bank. In her motion, she says that “my
finances, accounts, and limited liability company are 100%
owned by myself and also held separate and apart from
Lawrence Sikutwa . . . .” Mohamed Stmt., Dkt.
83-1. She also points out that she has “not violated
any criminal or civil statute” and that she is not a
party to the underlying criminal case.
Mohamed moves to quash the subpoena under the Right to
Financial Privacy Act (RFPA), 12 U.S.C. § 3401 to 3422.
This Act has been described as a “statutory Fourth
Amendment for bank customers.” Davidov v. SEC,
415 F.Supp.2d 386, 388 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). It is “intended
to protect the customers of financial institutions from
unwarranted intrusion into their records while at the same
time permitting legitimate law enforcement activity.”
H.R. Rep. No. 95-1383 (1978), reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N.
9273, 9305. In keeping with this intent, the Act provides
that the government may issue a subpoena for the records of
customers of financial institutions only if the
“subpoena is authorized by law and there is reason to
believe that the records sought are relevant to a legitimate
law enforcement inquiry.” 12 U.S.C. § 3407(1).
Another provision lays out the procedures for bank customers
to challenge subpoenas issued to a bank, as well as the
procedures for the district courts to rule on those
challenges. See 12 U.S.C. § 3410. This
provision requires the Court to quash the subpoena if any of
the following is true: (1) the government failed to
substantially comply “with the provisions of this
chapter”; or (2) “there is not a demonstrable
reason to believe that the law enforcement inquiry is
legitimate and a reasonable belief that the records sought
are relevant to that inquiry.” 12 U.S.C. §
Mohamed does not argue that the government failed to comply
with RFPA's procedural requirements and the record does
not reveal any failures in that regard. See, e.g.,
28 U.S.C. §§ 3407, 3410; Aug. 17, 2016 Letter
to Iman Mohamed, Dkt. 85-4.
Legitimate Law Enforcement Inquiry
next question is whether the subpoena was issued as part of a
“legitimate law enforcement inquiry.” 12 U.S.C.
§ 3407, 3410. The government says the
“inquiry” is its ongoing efforts to collect
information regarding Mr. Sikutwa's assets so that it can
enforce the restitution order. Ms. Mohamed does not dispute
the existence of an underlying “inquiry.”
Accordingly, the Court will assume that the requisite,
underlying “inquiry” exists by virtue of the
government's efforts to collect the restitution order.
See generally United States v. Thomas, 165 F.Supp.3d
992, 995 (D. Colo. 2015).
government may enforce the restitution order in accordance
with the practices and procedures for collecting a civil
judgment. See 18 U.S.C. § 3613(a), (c); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 3202 (setting forth procedures to
enforce judgments). Thus, the issuance of a civil subpoena
under Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is an
appropriate means of seeking information related to the
enforcement of a restitution order. Further, under the
Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act, the government may
take discovery in any manner authorized under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure in an action on a claim for a debt.
28 U.S.C. § 3015. And Rule 69 permits discovery in aid
of a judgment “from any person - including the
judgment debtor - as provided in these rules . . . .”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 69 (emphasis added). See generally Wright
& Miller, 12 ...