United States v. Olga Almonte

USCA11 Case: 20-10232 Date Filed: 10/15/2020 Page: 1 of 8 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 20-10232 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus OLGA ALMONTE, a.k.a. Olga Bosch, a.k.a. Judith Vargas, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ________________________ (October 15, 2020) Before GRANT, LUCK, and BRASHER, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Olga Almonte appeals the denial of her petition for a writ of error coram nobis, which challenges her 2012 conviction for aggravated identity theft. Almonte argues USCA11 Case: 20-10232 Date Filed: 10/15/2020 Page: 2 of 8 that her conviction should be vacated because (1) it involved an error of the most fundamental character and (2) sound reasons existed for her failure to challenge this error earlier by a direct appeal or collateral attack. Upon consideration, we conclude that Almonte’s arguments lack merit. Accordingly, we AFFIRM. I. BACKGROUND Almonte was born in the Dominican Republic and became a United States citizen in 2012. Around two months after becoming a citizen, she was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identify theft. These charges stemmed from conduct occurring approximately between February 2008 and November 2009. Jason P. Grey represented Almonte in her criminal proceedings. On August 2, 2012, Almonte was expected to plead guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft at a change of plea hearing. During the plea colloquy, the district court asked Almonte whether she understood that pleading guilty could subject her to deportation if she was an alien. Almonte responded affirmatively. The government interjected that Almonte was a naturalized citizen and that her plea agreement included a provision about potential denaturalization consequences. In response, the district court warned Almonte that “it is possible that they will attempt to denaturalize [her] as a citizen.” After further interaction between Almonte and the district court, the government recited the factual proffer that she had signed. During 2 USCA11 Case: 20-10232 Date Filed: 10/15/2020 Page: 3 of 8 this recitation, Almonte repeatedly shook her head to apparently say “no.” Due to her hesitant behavior, the district court refused to accept Almonte’s plea at that time. On August 24, 2012, Almonte returned for a second change of plea hearing with the same counsel and before the same judge. Earlier that day, she had signed a second factual proffer stipulating certain facts related to her charges and a second plea agreement. The plea agreement warned her that “denaturalization may . . . be a consequence of pleading guilty to a crime,” “that no one, including the defendant’s attorney or the court, can predict to a certainty the effect of the defendant’s conviction on the defendant’s immigration status,” and that she was affirming a guilty plea “even if the consequence is the defendant’s denaturalization and automatic removal from the United States.” During the plea colloquy, the district court asked Almonte whether she understood that pleading guilty could ...

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