UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA - November 28, 2007 by DOJ

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 5

									                           UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                           EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA                         *   CRIMINAL DOCKET NO. 07-198

               v.                                *   SECTION: “K”

MICHAEL DECLOUET                                 *

                                             *   *   *

                                       FACTUAL BASIS

       The above-named defendant MICHAEL DECLOUET, has agreed to plead guilty to

Counts 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act

Robbery, Hobbs Act Robbery, violations of the Federal Gun Control Act, and Carjacking.

Should this matter proceed to trial, the United States of America will prove beyond a reasonable

doubt, through the introduction of relevant, competent, and admissible testimonial, physical and

demonstrative evidence, the following facts to support the allegation against the defendant,

MICHAEL DECLOUET (“DECLOUET”):

       From on or about July 22, 2006, through on or about November 4, 2006, at various

locations throughout the Eastern District of Louisiana, including St. Tammany Parish, Jefferson

Parish, and Orleans Parish, defendant DECLOUET and others known and unknown to the



                                                 1
Grand Jury as co-conspirators (“co-conspirators”), conspired to commit numerous armed

robberies at an array of businesses throughout the greater New Orleans Metropolitan area.1

During the course of their conspiracy, DECLOUET and his co-conspirators knowingly and

unlawfully conspired to obstruct, delay and affect interstate commerce by robbery. DECLOUET

and his co-conspirators enriched themselves by physically assaulting and threatening to

physically assault other people and by forcibly taking money from other people and additional

items of value. Ultimately, DECLOUET and his co-conspirators converted these goods to their

own use and benefit.

       On August 28, 2006, DECLOUET and two co-conspirators, Woods and “A.D.,” went to

the Studio 440, a recording studio located on 440 Central Avenue in Jefferson, Louisiana, which

is in the Eastern District of Louisiana, with the sole intent to commit armed robbery.

DECLOUET’S co-conspirator, “A.D.,” went to Studio 440 the day before to scout out the

location. At that time, “A.D.” acted as if he was interested in recording times and prices. The

next day, on August 28, 2006, DECLOUET, Woods and “A.D.” approached Studio 440 by its

side entrance and announced themselves to be the individuals from the previous day who were

interested in recording times. There were three people inside the studio at the time,

“C.V.”(owner), “K.R.,” and C.S.” Upon entering the studio, DECLOUET, Woods and “A.D.”


       1
        DECLOUET and co-conspirators participated in more than ten different armed
robberies, including those that occurred at Advance Auto on July 22, 2006; Melvin’s Bar on July
24, 2006; Marlene’s Bar on August 10, 2006; AutoZone on August 11, 2006; Lucky Coin Van on
August 15, 2006; Quality Used Cars on August 16, 2006; Mimi’s Bar on August 19, 2006; Sugar
Park Tavern on September 3, 2006, Hobnobbers on September 10, 2006; and Tangos on
September 16, 2006.

                                                 2
brandished firearms and demanded that the three victims comply with their demands or they

would harm them. “C.S.,” the victim seated in the side entrance area, had a firearm at his side,

which was taken by DECLOUET and his co-conspirators.2 DECLOUET, Woods and “A.D.”

forced all three victims into the recording area of the studio, where they duct taped the victims’

hands and feet. As the three victims were bound, DECLOUET, Woods and “A.D.” placed

recording equipment from the studio into large, heavy trash bags brought by the perpetrators.

DECLOUET, Woods and “A.D.” then went through the pockets of the victims and robbed them

of their personal items. DECLOUET and his co-conspirators demanded at gunpoint the keys to

the Chevy Tahoe parked in front of the studio, and intended death or serious bodily harm if the

keys were not turned over. “C.S.” complied with their demands and rendered the keys to his

vehicle. DECLOUET and his co-conspirators loaded the Chevy Tahoe with the recording

equipment. The Chevy Tahoe was driven to a nearby location by one of DECLOUET’S co-

conspirators, while DECLOUET and the other co-conspirator left in the same vehicle they

arrived in. The Chevy Tahoe was found the next day, unoccupied and without any of the stolen

items inside. The vehicle was stripped, and its custom rims and audio system were missing.

       Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received information from Lt. Williams of NOPD that

MICHAEL DECLOUET, “A.D.” and Woods were most likely the perpetrators who committed

the armed robbery and carjacking. Sgt. Dyess put together photographic lineups of the

perpetrators, one of which included DECLOUET, and showed them to the three victims. “C.V.”


       2
        The gun stolen from “C.S.” was later recovered in DECLOUET’S co-conspirator’s car
during the execution of a search warrant.

                                                 3
stated that the man in DECLOUET’S photograph looked familiar, but he was not sure how.

Victims “K.R.” and “C.S.” identified DECLOUET as one of the individuals who armed robbed

them at gunpoint.

       The Government would provide evidence that Studio 440 located at 440 Central Avenue

supplies its inventory with articles or commodities transported and shipped from outside the

State of Louisiana. “C.V.” would testify and provide documentation showing that the majority of

the studio’s recording equipment was purchased online and was shipped from out of state.

Therefore, the loss of this equipment and the replacement of the equipment had a substantial

effect on interstate commerce. Additionally, the equipment had to travel in and affect interstate

and/or foreign commerce to be found in Jefferson, Louisiana. “C.S.’s” Chevy Tahoe was

manufactured out of state, and therefore had to travel in and affect interstate commerce to be

found in Jefferson, Louisiana. The Chevy Tahoe that was taken at gunpoint bore the VIN #

1GNEC13TX1RZ11350.

       DECLOUET was previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a

term exceeding one year before he was in possession of a firearm on August 28, 2006, as part of

his involvement in the Hobbs Act conspiracy to commit armed robbery of Studio 440.

Specifically, DECLOUET was convicted in Jefferson Parish Criminal District Court on October

21, 2002, Docket Number 02-4893 “F,” for carjacking, in violation of LA. R.S. 14:64.2, and on

August 27, 1999, in Orleans Parish Criminal District court, Docket Numbers 407-050 “B” and

408-432 “B,” for burglary of an inhabited dwelling, in violation of LA. R.S. 14:62.2, making him

a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1).

                                                4
       Furthermore, the Government would introduce evidence through an interstate nexus

expert, who would testify that there are no commercially manufactured handguns produced in the

state of Louisiana, and therefore, for DECLOUET and his Co-conspirators to be in possession of

a handgun in Jefferson, Louisiana, the firearm would have had to travel in and affect commerce.

Additionally, DECLOUET was in possession of a handgun that fits the meaning of a firearm as

defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 921(a)(3).

       The foregoing facts would be proven by the testimony from officers of the New Orleans

Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of

Investigation (FBI), Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,

co-conspirators, victims and lay witnesses. The government would also produce various

documents and other physical evidence linking the defendant to these crimes.

________________________________________
ELIZABETH PRIVITERA, La. Bar No. 27042
Assistant United States Attorney


________________________________________
DONALD SOIGNET          (Date)
Attorney for Defendant


________________________________________
MICHAEL DECLOUET        (Date)
Defendant




                                                5

								
To top