United States v. Hijazi

Decision Date18 July 2011
Docket NumberCase No. 05–40024–02.
Citation845 F.Supp.2d 874
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Ali HIJAZI, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of Illinois


Catherine A. Bernard, Vincent J. Connelly, Dana S. Douglas, Mayer Brown LLP, Leonard L. Cavise, DePaul College of Law, Chicago, IL, Catherine E. Stetson, Ty Cobb, Hogan Lovells US LLP, H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Bancroft PLLC, William H. Rawson, Thomas L. McGovern, III, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

Jeffrey B. Lang, Matthew J. Cannon, US Atty., Rock Island, IL, John A. Michelich, US Atty., Washington, DC, Joseph H. Hartzler, US Atty., Springfield, IL, for Plaintiff.


JOE BILLY McDADE, Senior District Judge.

This case is before the Court pursuant to a writ of mandamus order issued July 1, 2011, from the Seventh Circuit to promptly rule on Defendant Hijazi's motions to dismiss (Docs. 15, 131, 174) the Indictment pending against him. Before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Indictment (Doc. 15) and Memorandum in Support (Doc. 16), Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. 131) and Memorandum in Support (Doc. 180), Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Based on Sixth Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial (Doc. 174) and Memorandum in Support (Doc. 175), Memorandum of Amici Curiae in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc. 166), the Government's Consolidated Response to Defendant Hijazi's Motions to Dismiss the Indictment (Doc. 217), and Defendant's Reply Brief in Support of his Motions to Dismiss (Doc. 222). On May 7, 2010, Magistrate Judge Cudmore issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that Defendant's Motions to Dismiss be denied (Doc. 230). Defendant filed Objections to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 233), the Government filed a Response to Defendant's Objections (Doc. 235) and Defendant filed a Reply thereto (Doc. 238).1 For the following reasons, the Report and Recommendation is AFFIRMED and Defendant's Motions to Dismiss are DENIED.


On March 16, 2005, the United States Government (Government) charged Defendant Ali Hijazi (Hijazi) and Jeff Mazon (“Mazon”) with violations of the Major Fraud Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1031(a), the wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and the aiding and abetting statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2. (Doc. 1). On May 20, 2005, the Government filed a Superseding Indictment against Hijazi and Mazon (Doc. 21), and on August 3, 2006, it filed a Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. 59). The Second Superseding Indictment alleges the following information, taken as true for purposes of ruling on the pending motions to dismiss. See United States v. White, 610 F.3d 956, 959 (7th Cir.2010).

In late 2001, the U.S. Army contracted with Kellogg Brown & Root Services (“KBR”), an American company, to provide property and services to the military at locations around the world, including Kuwait. (Doc. 59 ¶¶ 3–8). One service that KBR contracted to perform was to store and dispense fuel at the Aerial Port of Debarkation (“APOD”) in Kuwait. (Doc. 59 ¶ 11). The APOD was the airport used by the United States military for military operations in Kuwait. (Doc. 59 ¶ 11). As was common practice for KBR, it sought out a subcontractor to perform work related to the storage and dispensation of fuel at the APOD; the subcontractor would invoice KBR for their work, which KBR would then pay and subsequently invoice the United States. (Doc. 59 ¶¶ 8, 20).

From December 2002 through June 2003, Jeff Mazon was the Procurement, Materials, and Property Manager for KBR stationed in Kuwait. (Doc. 59 ¶ 12). Accordingly, it was his duty to negotiate, execute, and administer subcontracts such as the one for fuel storage and dispensation at the APOD. (Doc. 59 ¶¶ 12, 20). On February 2, 2003, Mazon solicited bids by electronic mail from potential subcontractors for fuel tankers to store and dispense fuel for a six month period at the APOD; KBR had estimated that the cost of the subcontract would be $685,050. (Doc. 59 ¶ 20). One of the bids received by Mazon was from LaNouvelle General Trading & Contracting Co. (“LaNouvelle”), a Kuwaiti company of which Hijazi 2 was the managing partner. (Doc. 59 ¶¶ 13, 21). The LaNouvelle bid was approximately $1,673,100. (Doc. 59 ¶ 21). Mazon received one other bid for $1,891,890. (Doc. 59 ¶ 21).

Prior to awarding the subcontract, Mazon substantially inflated both bids. (Doc. 59 ¶ 22). He raised LaNouvelle's bid to approximately $5,521,230, and the competing bid to approximately $6,243,237. (Doc. 59 ¶ 22). On February 14, 2003, Mazon and Hijazi signed a subcontract (“Subcontract 39”) under the inflated price, which was more than $4.8 million more than KBR's estimate for the work, and more than $3.8 million more than LaNouvelle's original bid. (Doc. 59 ¶ 23). Hijazi signed Subcontract 39 knowing that the price was inflated and that Hijazi would pay Mazon money for Mazon's favorable treatment of LaNouvelle. (Doc. 59 ¶ 16). Subcontract 39 indicates that the United States Government was the Owner, for whom work was being performed, and that all escorts and security monitors and fuel costs incurred in the sublet work would be covered by the United States. (Doc. 226–1 at 4–5).

From March 2003 through August 2003, Mazon and Hijazi caused LaNouvelle to submit six different invoices to KBR for payment under Subcontract 39 in the total amount of $5,521,230, which was the inflated price. (Doc. 59 ¶ 26). KBR paid LaNouvellein full on each of these six invoices. (Doc. 59 ¶ 26). Mazon and Hijazi then caused KBR to submit four invoices to the United States Government for the costs incurred pursuant to Subcontract 39, which the Government paid in September and December of 2003. (Doc. 59 ¶ 27).

Sometime in September 2003, Hijazi gave a $1 million draft to Mazon in exchange for Mazon's favorable treatment of LaNouvelle. (Doc. 59 ¶ 28). The men also executed a promissory note as a ruse to make the $1 million payment appear to be a loan from Hijazi to Mazon. (Doc. 59 ¶ 28). However, on September 24, 2003, Hijazi sent Mazon an e-mail telling him that Hijazi considered “this whole lown [sic] (principal and interest) as totally your money....” (Doc. 59 ¶ 29). On October 1, 2003, Mazon tried unsuccessfully to deposit the $1 million in a U.S. bank. (Doc. 59 ¶ 30). On October 9, 2003, Hijazi sent Mazon a second e-mail, instructing him on how to deposit the money. (Doc. 59 ¶ 31). Hijazi told Mazon to open an offshore account with three different financial institutions and to deposit around $300,000 in each, under the auspices that it was from “consultancy work, business associates [sic], salaries abd [sic] bonuses, or any other reasoning.” (Doc. 59 ¶ 31). On October 28, 2003, Mazon again attempted to deposit the $1 million at a second financial institution in the United States. (Doc. 59 ¶ 32).

In November 2003, a KBR investigator questioned Hijazi about Subcontract 39. (Doc. 59 ¶ 33). The next day, Hijazi sent a third e-mail to Mazon stating “Please when you call your ex-friends in Kuwait [sic] please be very careful [sic] on what you say.” (Doc. 59 ¶ 33). Mazon opened this e-mail while he was in the United States. (Doc. 59 ¶ 33).

Shortly after the original Indictment was returned against him, Hijazi voluntarily surrendered himself to authorities in Kuwait. (Doc. 133 at 2). However, he was quickly released and his posted bond was returned to him. (Doc. 133 at 2). On May 3, 2005, Hijazi, via American counsel, filed his first Motion to Dismiss the Indictment (Doc 15), claiming that his prosecution violated principles of extraterritoriality, international law, and due process. (Doc. 16). Rather than substantively respond to his Motion to Dismiss, the Government filed a Motion to Strike (Doc. 20), arguing that because Hijazi had not yet appeared for arraignment, the Court should not entertain his motion. After receiving a Report and Recommendation from Magistrate Judge Gorman (Doc. 30), this Court determined that it would not strike Hijazi's Motion to Dismiss, however it would defer its ruling until such time as Hijazi appeared for arraignment. (Doc. 36).3

Approximately one year later, on August 3, 2006, the Government filed the Second Superseding Indictment against Hijazi. (Doc. 53). On December 21, 2007, Hijazi filed a Motion to Dismiss the Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. 131). In this Motion, Hijazi raised the same three objectionsas he did to the original Indictment, and inserted two additional arguments: 1) that the Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and Kuwait barred his prosecution, and 2) that his case should be dismissed due to lack of prosecution. (Doc. 180). Again, the Government decided not to respond to the merits of Defendant's arguments and instead filed a Motion to Stay Ruling and Hold in Abeyance (Doc. 136). On September 4, 2008, this Court entered another Order in which it indicated that it would not consider Defendant's motions to dismiss until such time as he appeared for arraignment (Doc. 178).4

On December 11, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted Hijazi a writ of mandamus, and ordered this Court to rule upon Hijazi's pending motions to dismiss. (Doc. 213).5 Although Hijazi had invited the Seventh Circuit to also rule upon the merits of his motions, the Court expressly declined to do so. In re Hijazi, 589 F.3d 401, 403 (7th Cir.2009). This Court referred Defendant's Motions to Magistrate Judge Cudmore, who entered a Report and Recommendation recommending that they be denied. (Doc. 230). Hijazi timely filed Objections (Doc. 233), to which the Government responded (Doc. 235), and the matter is now ripe for review by this Court. In his Objections, Hijazi claims that the Report and Recommendation erred for four main reasons: 1) the R & R erred in concluding that the Court has jurisdiction over Hijazi; 2) the R & R erred in construing the Major Fraud Act and the...

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  • United States v. Firtash
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    • 21 Junio 2019
    ...a criminal defendant's "contacts are adequate to support the U.S. proceeding" against a defendant abroad); United States v. Hijazi , 845 F.Supp. 2d 874, 883 (C.D. Ill. 2011) (interpreting the Seventh Circuit's Hijazi opinion as an instruction to analyze due process "under the rubric of inte......
  • United States v. Hayes
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    • 20 Marzo 2015
    ...this, U.S. v. Hijazi held that the statute did not apply extraterritorially, but was focused on the use of domestic wires. 845 F.Supp.2d 874, 906 (C.D.Ill.2011).A number of courts, in applying the wire fraud statute to frauds in which some of the alleged conduct occurred on foreign soil, ha......
  • United States v. Kashamu, Criminal Action No. 94 CR 172–15.
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    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • 23 Abril 2014
    ...to determine whether a defendant's “contacts with the United States [are] sufficient to support his prosecution.” United States v. Hijazi, 845 F.Supp.2d 874, 883 (C.D.Ill.2011) (citing Hijazi, 589 F.3d at 411–412 ). Section 402 of the Restatement Third of Foreign Relations Law of the United......
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    • 4 Febrero 2021
    ...alleged sufficient nexus between defendant and the U.S. where defendant's and conduct occurred abroad); United States v. Hijazi, 845 F. Supp. 2d 874, 886 (C.D. Ill. 2011) (citing United States v. Wormick, 709 F.2d 454, 461 (7th Cir. 1983) (co-conspirator's "actions in furtherance of the sch......

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