141 F.3d 784 (7th Cir. 1998), 97-1278, United States v. Gwiazdzinski

Docket Nº:97-1278, 97-1290.
Citation:141 F.3d 784
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Raymond GWIAZDZINSKI, Defendant-Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Steven DREYER, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:April 14, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 784

141 F.3d 784 (7th Cir. 1998)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Raymond GWIAZDZINSKI, Defendant-Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Steven DREYER, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 97-1278, 97-1290.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 14, 1998

Argued Jan. 7, 1998.

Page 785

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 786

Brian P. Netols, Office of the United States Attorney, Criminal Division, Chicago, IL, Mark S. Hersh (argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Criminal Appellate Division, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Gerardo S. Gutierrez (argued), Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant Gwiazdzinski.

Frederick F. Cohn (argued), Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant Dreyer.

Before MANION, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

KANNE, Circuit Judge.

Raymond Gwiazdzinski and Steven Dreyer pled guilty to money laundering. They appeal contesting the voluntariness of their pleas and raising sentencing issues. We affirm the decisions of the district court except for its imposition of Dreyer's sentence, which we remand for a small correction.


An undercover agent posed as someone wanting to launder drug proceeds. On August 18, 1993, he learned from unknown Person A that Gwiazdzinski, a Chicago lawyer, could launder the proceeds for him. Person A told the agent to call Gwiazdzinski at his law office and gave him a code to use. Person A then contacted Gwiazdzinski and told him to expect the call.

The same day, the agent called Gwiazdzinski and explicitly told him that he needed to launder large amounts of cash from drug trafficking. Gwiazdzinski told the agent he was an attorney and a real estate broker and he had the experience, skills, and connections to launder the funds. Gwiazdzinski told the agent his fee for laundering was between five and ten percent of the laundered amount.

On October 25, 1993, Gwiazdzinski and the agent met to discuss the laundering. Gwiazdzinski suggested laundering the cash through investments, such as Eurodollars, real estate, or offshore accounts. When the agent explained that he was not interested in laundering the money through investments, Gwiazdzinski assured him he could simply convert the cash into negotiable instruments.

After several telephone conversations, the two agreed on December 3 that Gwiazdzinski would launder $50,000 to $75,000 for a fee of ten percent. On December 14, the agent met Gwiazdzinski in his law office and gave him approximately $75,000 plus a fee of $7,000. Later that day, Gwiazdzinski gave about half of that amount to unnamed Person B to "smurf," or convert into amounts less than $10,000. (Cash transactions of more than $10,000 trigger a financial institution's duty to file a Currency Transaction Report with the Internal Revenue Service.) Person B recruited Dreyer to assist. Together they purchased seven money orders from currency exchanges. Person B, unnamed Person C, and Gwiazdzinski purchased cashier's checks, some drawn on Gwiazdzinski's escrow account for client funds. On December 16, Gwiazdzinski delivered $75,000 worth of negotiable instruments to the agent.

On January 5, 1994, Gwiazdzinski contacted the agent to solicit more business from him. The agent said he had more drug proceeds to launder, so on January 12, Gwiazdzinski, Dreyer, Person B, and the agent met at Gwiazdzinski's law office. The agent handed over another $75,000 in cash plus another $7,000 fee. At this meeting, Dreyer told the agent that he helped Gwiazdzinski launder funds and that he would deliver negotiable instruments to the agent.

Page 787

They laundered the funds using techniques similar to those described above.

On February 7, 1994, Gwiazdzinski called the agent and asked again whether the agent had any new business for him. Dreyer also participated in this conversation, calling himself Gwiazdzinski's partner. Gwiazdzinski and Dreyer each had several conversations with the agent over the next few months, trying to drum up business. On October 5, 1994, Dreyer and the agent agreed to meet. On October 6, Dreyer met with the agent and accepted $80,000 in cash plus a $4,800 fee. The agent specifically represented the money as drug proceeds. Dreyer laundered the proceeds much as before, and he gave 40% of the fee to Gwiazdzinski.

The grand jury indicted Gwiazdzinski and Dreyer on multiple counts of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956. Each pled guilty to one count. Before sentencing, Gwiazdzinski filed a motion pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 32(e) seeking to withdraw his plea. The district court denied the motion. Overruling several sentencing objections by Gwiazdzinski, the district court sentenced him to 121 months' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. He appeals.

Dreyer also pled guilty and was released on bond to return on his own recognizance. The Government learned that Dreyer committed additional offenses during his release. He also failed to appear for a court date. He was rearrested, and he entered into a new plea agreement. Dreyer then obtained new counsel. The court continued sentencing to allow new counsel time to prepare. The court denied a second continuance to allow Dreyer time to be examined by a psychiatrist. Dreyer moved to vacate his plea based on ineffective assistance of his former counsel. The court denied this motion. Dreyer was sentenced to 120 months' imprisonment. He appeals.


To continue reading