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Miami Federal Attorney Paul Petruzzi Gets a Dismissal in United States vs. Yasser Arauz Case

Mr. Arauz was arrested by United States Customs at Miami International Airport after nearly $100,000 in cash was discovered in his luggage. As a result of his statements to Customs and Border Security personnel, the United States Attorney’s Office charged him with a 3 count Indictment. Count 1 charged him with failing to report the transportation of United States currency in excess of $10,000, count 2 charged him with bulk cash smuggling into the United States, and count 3 charged him with making a false statement to a federal agent. Despite the fact that Mr. Arauz had no criminal history, each count carried a potential 5-year Imprisonment, and the federal sentencing guidelines called for a potential advisory sentence of at least 63 months ( 5 years and 3 months). The Government also sought forfeiture of the confiscated currency.

As a result of Mr. Petruzzi’s efforts, the Government agreed to not only dismiss the bulk cash smuggling charge (which carried the most severe potential punishment,) but the United States Attorney’s Office also agreed to return 75% of the confiscated cash. Following his agreement, a Presentence Investigative Report was prepared and recommended a sentence of between 10 and 16 months. Notwithstanding this, however, at sentencing, Mr. Petruzzi was able to successfully argue for a sentencing variance and Mr. Arauz was sentenced to a total of 6 months (with credit for time served.)

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