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USA v. Anwar Haddad, 05-3086.  A jury found Anwar Haddad was guilty of one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and 18 U.S.C. § 1957. Haddad’s store, R & F Grocery (“R&F”), was authorized to sell certain approved food items for food stamps. The evidence showed that he defrauded the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) by exchanging food stamps for cash, keeping a cut of the transactions for himself.

Haddad appeals, arguing that the district court erred when it denied his request to give an entrapment instruction to the jury.  Prior to trial, Haddad filed a motion notifying the district court and the government that he planned to use the defense of entrapment.  Haddad claimed that he only relented because the CI persisted at length, implied that she was a prostitute (“I hustle”), and said that she really needed the money.   

Judge Gettleman refused to give the entrapment instruction. He explained that Haddad needed to offer other evidence of entrapment because proffered evidence alone was not enough to justify an entrapment instruction.

In order to warrant an entrapment instruction, a defendant must present sufficient evidence upon which a rational jury could have inferred that he was entrapped into committing the crimes charged.  If the defendant meets this minimum threshold, only then can he present the question of entrapment to the jury. To raise the entrapment defense, the defendant must show evidence for each of the two prongs of entrapment: government inducement of the crime and a lack of predisposition on the part of the defendant to engage in the crime. Mathews v. United States, 485 U.S. 58, 63 (1988). The burden of defeating the entrapment defense shifts to the government only when the defendant can establish both inducement and a lack of predisposition.

In his post-arrest statement, Haddad admitted that he had been engaging in food stamp fraud for at least one year before his arrest. Moreover, Haddad was not an unwilling participant in the exchange of food stamp benefits for cash. When the CI requested the transaction, Haddad said not right now, and then a moment later went ahead with the exchange.

A defendant is not entitled to offer an entrapment defense solely by asserting that he hesitated when offered the opportunity to commit the crime. We have previously held that “[w]henever a criminal defendant so promptly avails himself of a criminal opportunity, it is unlikely that an entrapment defense will warrant a jury instruction.” United States v. Mahkimetas, 991 F.2d 379, 386 (7th Cir. 1993).

Regarding the inducement prong, Haddad argues that the CI induced him into exchanging food stamp benefits for cash by pleading with him and explaining her desperation for money. Further, Haddad contends, the CI flirted with him and indicated that she was a prostitute, which hinted at her willingness to engage in sexual activity if he helped her out. But, our precedent is clear that if the defendant accepts a criminal offer without being offered extraordinary promises, he demonstrates his predisposition to commit the type of crime involved. United States v. Evans, 924 F.2d 714, 718 (7th Cir. 1991).

For an entrapment defense to be proper, Haddad needed to show an extraordinary inducement, “the sort of promise that would blind the ordinary person to his legal duties.” Evans, 924 F.2d at 717. If a person takes advantage of a simple, ordinary opportunity to commit a crime-“not an extraordinary opportunity, the sort of thing that might entice an otherwise law-abiding person”-then the person is not entrapped. Id.

In conclusion the Seventh Circuit agrees with Judge Gettleman that these facts did not rise to the level of an extraordinary promise and thus Haddad’s entrapment defense was properly denied.

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