Ademiju v. United States, No. 19-2588 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Ademiju immigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and had a green card. In 2011, he became involved in a scheme to defraud Medicare. He pled guilty to healthcare fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1347, and stipulated to a $1.5 million loss amount, acknowledging that “pleading guilty may have consequences with respect to his immigration status” and that he “affirms that he wants to plead guilty … even if the consequence is his automatic removal.” At sentencing, Ademiju personally acknowledged that his ability to stay in this country was not assured. His counsel told the court, “I’m not an immigration specialist … But it’s my understanding that … any sentence of less than one year … he would be at least eligible for a waiver.” Apparently, no one knew that statement was incorrect. The district court sentenced Ademiju to 11 months’ imprisonment plus $1.5 million in restitution.
Ademiju was released from federal prison and transferred into ICE custody; he retained an immigration attorney who informed him that his offense of conviction and the stipulated loss amount subjected him to mandatory deportation. Ademiju filed a 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate his conviction because his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, arguing that the statute of limitations should be tolled because he received incorrect advice from an attorney about his options for recourse within the limitations period and could not have discovered the problem himself due to the inadequacy of his prison’s law library. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of his motion; Ademiju has not met the high standard for equitable tolling.