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#1 Keir

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 17:46

In a world where lately our sports heros are getting caught turning into drug taking, dog killing, wife/girlfriend beating, self shooting wastes of the life force - isn't Helio just a small fish in a very polluted big pond ?

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#2 wrighty

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 17:52

Originally posted by Keir
In a world where lately our sports heros are getting caught turning into drug taking, dog killing, wife/girlfriend beating, self shooting wastes of the life force - isn't Helio just a small fish in a very polluted big pond ?


i wouldn't expect a racing driver to think he's above tax laws just because he's a racing driver, but i'm looking for the story of the court judgement and i can't find a link, has the case been decided?

#3 Keir

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 17:59

I didn't say he was above the law, I just said what he did was minor in direct comparission to the Vicks and Burresses of the sports world.

#4 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 18:19

Originally posted by Keir
I didn't say he was above the law, I just said what he did was minor in direct comparission to the Vicks and Burresses of the sports world.


Vick is in jail.

Buress will go through a trial like Helio.

Why is it that tax evasion is okay in your mind?



:cool:

#5 red stick

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 18:22

Originally posted by wrighty


i wouldn't expect a racing driver to think he's above tax laws just because he's a racing driver, but i'm looking for the story of the court judgement and i can't find a link, has the case been decided?


They're in pre-trial hearings now. Trial starts March 2.

#6 Keir

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 18:34

Didn't say it was OK either.

Please re read before posting.

I used the words "MINOR" and "in comparision to"

That does not in any way suggest the term OK or add any validity to the crime.

..... or the alleged crime.

#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 18:55

Free Salt Walther.

#8 Clatter

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:01

Originally posted by Keir
In a world where lately our sports heros are getting caught turning into drug taking, dog killing, wife/girlfriend beating, self shooting wastes of the life force - isn't Helio just a small fish in a very polluted big pond ?


Governments get very upset when they are denied their 30 pieces of silver, much more so than for other "minor" events like the odd murder.

#9 scottb32

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:08

Personally, I find it absolutely STUPID for him to cheat on his taxes (assuming he is guilty). Why didn't he just hire an accountant and legally defer his income? It's not as if he accidentally forgot to report an employment benefit (like Tom Daschle), this appears to be outright tax fraud on a large scale. He gets paid alot of money, he should pay taxes like the rest of us.

Hopefully he will be able to agree to a plea deal (a huge fine, little or no jail time). This would be good for everyone.

But remember, the IRS has to send a message, especially to non-citizens who may not be familiar, nor respectful, of US tax structure. To the IRS, this type of infraction is not minor.

#10 jondoe955

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:22

Helio is wealthy but not RICH, and he is unconnected - like a politician of broker might be. He was an easy example to others. Millions - Billllions have gone missing from fraud and bailouts. Who else has been dragged in to court in arm and leg chains? (did they think he was going to climb OVER the fence this time?)
Some tax evaders have recently been placed in the Cabinet. They say, well, the tax codes are very complicated and we didn't know... While the tax codes are obscenely complicated, they, and many others, somehow got away with it. They didn't even give Helio the courtesy of getting the trial completed before his season starts, while Madeoff sits in his million dollar apartment shipping boxes of cash and jewelry to relatives.
Helio didn't do his own taxes. He isn't a tax attorney. His sister took care of those matters. What did he know? We're all interested. I'd feel a lot better if they went after the big tax cheats in this country, maybe look in to where all that money went to that vanished in the sands of Iraq.
In truth - no one likes to pay taxes, but we actually get more back in services than we pay out... or used to. With Bush tossing money everywhere for things I personally found horrific, that may no longer be the case. Would any of us trust the feds if they came against us? Whether they have a case or not, I was immediately suspicious with the way they arrested him and paraded him about.
.... And the football guy? He still doesn't think he did anything wrong, beyond getting caught. If a dog wasn't a fighter, he'd throw it in with trained fighters who would tear it apart. I hope the league does allow him to play, forever - with NO protective gear. And in place of his team number would be a target. < and not like the logo of a sponsor>

#11 wrighty

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:35

Originally posted by Keir
Didn't say it was OK either.

Please re read before posting.

I used the words "MINOR" and "in comparision to"

That does not in any way suggest the term OK or add any validity to the crime.

..... or the alleged crime.


sorry, but the thread title suggests otherwise (and thanks to Red Stick for the detail). I pay approximately 20% of my salary in tax to the government, plus VAT on goods, VAT and fuel duty on the fuel to run my car etc etc.....if you think i'll support a man for several million dollars of 'alleged' tax evasion then i'm sorry but you're wrong.
As scottb says, the IRS has to show that it is not right or proper for people to think they can just not pay tax....i'm not fully familiar with the intricacies of the US tax system, but i'm sure the IRS and portions of the American public don't really appreciate someone earning millions of dollars then taking the money 'offshore' rather than 'paying his dues'.

I'm sorry but i was trying to understand why you'd started the thread and don't really appreciate why you feel it's a lesser case just because he's a racing driver :down:

#12 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:45

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Free Salt Walther.


Free John Paul,jr.
Other Racing Jailbirds

#13 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:52

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII


Free John Paul,jr.
Other Racing Jailbirds


John Paul Jr. is out, I think John Paul Sr. is still in, should we free him?

:cool:

#14 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:54

Originally posted by KWSN - DSM


John Paul Jr. is out, I think John Paul Sr. is still in, should we free him?

:cool:


By, golly, I think you are right.
Didn't JP,jr win an irl race while on parole?
Hmmm...

#15 red stick

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:58

Originally posted by scottb32
Personally, I find it absolutely STUPID for him to cheat on his taxes (assuming he is guilty). Why didn't he just hire an accountant and legally defer his income?


The allegation is he hired an attorney, Miller, and they conspired to evade taxes through offshore shell companies that had no other obvious purpose. To read the indictment, the whole scheme seems a little thin. Evidently it seemed that way to the grand jury too.

It's not as if he accidentally forgot to report an employment benefit (like Tom Daschle), this appears to be outright tax fraud on a large scale.


Accident or not on Daschle's (or Geithner's) part, you're right; this was not a situation where some income was not reported--it was allegedly a fairly elaborate attempt to shield income from taxation altogether.


Hopefully he will be able to agree to a plea deal (a huge fine, little or no jail time). This would be good for everyone.


Possible, but unlikely at this point. This case has been percolating for years. The offenses date back to 2004 and prior. It is inconceivable that any of this was a surprise to Castroneves, or that negotiations with him weren't pursued prior to taking the case to the grand jury. Being a high-profile federal case, this is not something dreamed up at the local level and pursued--it will have have been reviewed and approved at the highest level in D.C. And having gone to all this trouble, the government will have to have a very good reason to settle at this point.

But remember, the IRS has to send a message, especially to non-citizens who may not be familiar, nor respectful, of US tax structure. To the IRS, this type of infraction is not minor.


The IRS may have investigated the case, but it's no longer in its hands. Like on the TV program Law & Order, the IRS investigates the crimes and the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutes. The Miami U.S. Attorney's office, due to its location near the drug trade, is one of the country's best staffed, best supported federal prosecutor's offices. The defense attorneys will have their hands full.

#16 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 20:27

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII


By, golly, I think you are right.
Didn't JP,jr win an irl race while on parole?
Hmmm...


http://en.wikipedia....i/John_Paul,_Jr.

http://en.wikipedia....i/John_Paul,_Sr.

Strange world we live in.

:cool:

#17 Rob

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 20:44

Free Hat.

#18 mursuka80

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 21:25

Originally posted by Rob
Free Hat.


Good thing i read through this before i posted,because thats what i would have posted :lol:

#19 Rob

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 21:36

Originally posted by mursuka80


Good thing i read through this before i posted,because thats what i would have posted :lol:


It was a choice between that or Nelson Mandela.

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#20 red stick

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 21:42

Yeah, James Brown doesn't work as an answer anymore.

#21 StickShift

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 00:31

First of all, Helio is innocent until proven guilty. You should have no doubt about it though, this is an ugly mess.

A small fish in a very big polluted war? That is a very questionable statement. He is accused of stealing a few million dollars from the Federal government. That is hardly an innocent crime. To suggest otherwise is nonsense and an insult to all people who pay their taxes.

Yes, it's a different kind of crime. If convicted, he may not be criminally disturbed like Michael Vick, or a cheater/liar like these baseball stars, but he would certainly be a thief.

#22 Racer Joe

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:16

Originally posted by Keir
Didn't say it was OK either.

Please re read before posting.

I used the words "MINOR" and "in comparision to"

That does not in any way suggest the term OK or add any validity to the crime.

..... or the alleged crime.


So why "free" him?

#23 rghojai

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:49

Red Stick, Thanks for sharing thoughts and background information. If I may, a question: I've some recollection that the ongoing court stuff is a result of tax/income-related conversations in 2004 or so 'tween HCN, his tax guy and the IRS; that the government's current view is that HCN knowingly lied in those conversations. Is that right?

Not sure, for what it's worth, if HCN & co., can reasonably argue that they did nothing wrong and did not lie, if HCN might get leniency via an approach of, "I'm a guy who drives racing cars and made the mistake of trusting someone who appeared to have standing as a tax expert and an honest man."

I also wonder about the prospect of someone involved getting flipped, bolstering the case against someone else involved....

#24 red stick

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:32

Originally posted by rghojai
I've some recollection that the ongoing court stuff is a result of tax/income-related conversations in 2004 or so 'tween HCN, his tax guy and the IRS; that the government's current view is that HCN knowingly lied in those conversations. Is that right?


That seems familiar. Can't find it now, :mad: , but I seem to recall something similar that was reported in the days following the indictment, along the lines of HCN and his advisers having to testify, somewhere around 2002-04, in another civil proceeding relating to the entities they created. I am not by any means a tax law expert, but I believe part of the current criminal case turns on how much day-to-day control HCN exercised over these entities. In the earlier case he and his advisers, under oath, described his level of involvement one way when it was convenient from a legal standpoint to do so, then when the IRS came calling to question the arrangement they described it another way. So you're correct, the government's case evidently relies in part on these inconsistent statements.

It's notable that his tax attorney is a co-defendant. The "relied on an expert" defense, be it an accountant or a tax attorney, is fairly bulletproof, provided HCN goes to the pro in good faith, doesn't suggest anything devious, and relies on the resulting advice in good faith. The defense doesn't fly at all if all of these conditions are not met. It can be a fine line, because obviously no one goes to an accountant or tax attorney seeking to pay taxes; taking advantage of every out is the goal. I am not sure if the attorney testified in the earlier civil proceeding, but the fact that HCN finds himself a co-defendant with his attorney suggests the government thinks it can overcome this defense, and has proof that they intentionally crossed the line.

#25 wrighty

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:45

found this article for background, apparently the charges date back to the period 1999-2004, and the prosecutors feel secure enough in their case that they felt it could be pproached as a criminal matter, rather than a civil case.

#26 Keir

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 15:17

I continue to laugh in disbelief !

#27 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 15:18

Its not going to be very funny if he doesnt race this year.

#28 tifosi

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 15:38

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Its not going to be very funny if he doesnt race this year.


Getting caught cheating on your taxes is bad enough, lieing about it really pisses off the Feds. This applies to just about any federal crime. I know a lot of federal officials, living in the NoVa area, and I can tell you the one thing that pisses them off is when you lie. Basically at this level, once you are called into the office they already know everything they need to know. When you lie to them, thier POV is that you are basically calling them stupid. At that point any notion of working it out goes out the window and they flip back to the 'max" page.

If true, racing this year may be the very least of his problems.

Lie to the cops, lit to the AG, lie to your kids principal, but don't lie to federal investigors, they don't even bother to talk to you if they pretty much don't have the goods, so you just brought a perjury charge down on your butt.

#29 red stick

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 16:17

In my various dealings with federal investigators over the years, I can confirm that everything tifosi said is true.

#30 Jones Foyer

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 17:51

Nope, he should get the punishment he deserves. There are way too many people who are not paying their fair share in this country. I'm disappointed in him of course, but he should get no free ride.

#31 F1Johnny

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 17:58

Originally posted by Keir
Didn't say it was OK either.

Please re read before posting.

I used the words "MINOR" and "in comparision to"

That does not in any way suggest the term OK or add any validity to the crime.

..... or the alleged crime.


Marion Jones got 6 months for perjury and cheque fraud. Helio, if found guilty will be convicted for lying to the FEDS and dodging taxes. I expect he will get at least 6 months, but probably 9. What doesn't help is that he is Brazilian. He made his fortune in the USA, yet has tried to dodge taxes and then lied about it. He's in big trouble.

#32 Locai

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 18:08

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Free Salt Walther.


Now there's a name I haven't thought of in a long time. Growing up in that part of Ohio back then (you know, when Indy mattered more than Daytona) we would here his name all the time on the news during the Month of May.

I remember how the local sportscasters would build him up...and then he'd finish 30-something after crashing. I remember the burning crash into the fence and I vaguely remember him having some "legal trouble". I didn't realize that he was still having trouble. Hell, I didn't even realize he was still breathing!

Between reminiscing about Salt and reading Robin Miller's Open Wheel Mailbag while eating lunch (and wondering if I'll still have a job come Monday...or the next Monday...or the next...) I think I'm in a sufficiently moribund mood to finish my day.

#33 tifosi

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 18:13

Originally posted by F1Johnny


What doesn't help is that he is Brazilian. He made his fortune in the USA, yet has tried to dodge taxes and then lied about it. He's in big trouble.


Good. Then we can deport his butt as a convicted felon.

#34 F1Johnny

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 20:18

Originally posted by tifosi


Good. Then we can deport his butt as a convicted felon.


Not that it's good, but I believe that is what will happen if convicted.

#35 ajcrean

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 00:22

http://store.pensker...&cat=411&page=1

"2009 Helio Castroneves monthly calendar featuring lifestyle and racing images"

I shudder to think what the lifestyle images in next year's calendar will be if he's sent to the slammer... :rolleyes:

#36 slideways

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 00:23

Jail Helio!

#37 scottb32

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 01:03

Originally posted by tifosi
Getting caught cheating on your taxes is bad enough, lieing about it really pisses off the Feds.

Thanks Red Stick and Tifosi for the background.

The more I read about this case, the more concerned I become for Helio's welfare. My guess is that the case will hinge on what became of the shell-corporations. If the money came straight back to Helio, than he will have a hard time explaining. It doesn't matter how many tax-lawyers you use, it all comes down to who is holding the bag when the music stops.

#38 Terry Walker

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:17

Lies and coverups make things worse:

Nixon: No I didn't know about the bugging of Watergate.

Bush Jr: Yes, I authorised illegal bugging.

Compare and contrast results.

#39 red stick

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:45

Originally posted by scottb32

Thanks Red Stick and Tifosi for the background.

The more I read about this case, the more concerned I become for Helio's welfare.


You should be. The feds are hardly infallible, but they are very jealous of their conviction rate. You can be sure they did not enter into this case lightly. That's not to say Helio's doomed; anything can happen once you give a case to a jury, but this is a very serious matter.

The indictment:

http://www.accesshol.../us_v_helio.pdf

Someone from Penske Racing is going to be in the uncomfortable position of testifying against their two time Indy winner.

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#40 tifosi

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 11:07

Originally posted by scottb32

Thanks Red Stick and Tifosi for the background.

The more I read about this case, the more concerned I become for Helio's welfare.


I don't really know a whole lot about Helio's specific case. I just know that when you commit perjury with the Feds, that tends to get you in a lot more trouble than the original crime. For things like this they tend to want to work it out, as long as you are up front, honest, and so on. But the perjury thing just really sets them off. This is why you often see one person getting a 3 month suspended sentence and another getting a year in prison. It's because the second initially lied when questioned.

#41 rghojai

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 13:35

Red Stick, thank you for finding and posting that. Interesting reading.

#42 Barramut

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 14:04

That's life.
One day you have a contract with Penske, Dance with the Stars, drive a Lambo and the next day you will spend some months in jail. Will he be banned from USA?

Early in his career, Helio broke his agency contract w/ Emerson Fittipaldi to race for Hogan-Mercedes.
Maybe he wouldn't be in this situation if he had Emerson's management.

Anyway, there is some common sense in paying back - in the form of taxes- the welfare system and country structure that enables you to get your money.

#43 red stick

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 14:42

Originally posted by rghojai
Red Stick, thank you for finding and posting that. Interesting reading.


No problem. After re-reading it, and to correct my earlier post, obviously the crux of the case is the fact that HCN and his people explained their arrangement one way to tax officials and another way in 2001 sworn testimony in another matter.

#44 Lazarus II

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 14:27

Helio just might be able to get Noreiga as his cell mate here or maybe he can teach Manuel to foxtrot?

#45 red stick

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:34

I realize you're being facetious, but Helio, if he goes to prison at all, is more likely to do time in what is derisively described as a "country club," a federal minimum security facility.

#46 Lazarus II

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 16:20

Originally posted by red stick
I realize you're being facetious, but Helio, if he goes to prison at all, is more likely to do time in what is derisively described as a "country club," a federal minimum security facility.

FCI Miami is low security.

#47 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 16:25

Think they'd deport him instead of jail him?

#48 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 17:03

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Think they'd deport him instead of jail him?


As I understand it, a non citizen that is convicted must serve their sentence, and then they are deported.
Whatever the case, it looks like a pretty stupid tax dodge, and I am very surprised that the Captain didn't realize what was going on and put a stop to it.

#49 red stick

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 17:27

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII
As I understand it, a non citizen that is convicted must serve their sentence, and then they are deported.


I think it's a case by case kind of thing, based on the individual and the nature of the crime, and would be up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Citizenship and Immigration Services (they're not INS any more). In our local cases persons don't necessarily serve their whole sentences, and CIS picks them up at their leisure.

I'm not certain what HCN's immigration status is either. Any news reports?

#50 red stick

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 17:50

Originally posted by Lazarus II

FCI Miami is low security.


Proximity to one's home and loved ones is just one factor that would be considered. Ultimately where one is placed is up to the discretion of the Bureau of Prisons.