Submitted: December 11, 2019
Defendant's Motion to Suppress GRANTED
Michael W. Modica, Esquire, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney
Stephen McDonald, Deputy Attorney General, Department of
Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State of
Honorable Andrea L. Rocanelli
Isaac Lovell ("Defendant") has moved to suppress
all evidence obtained through a search of a residence
conducted pursuant to a search warrant. Defendant claims that
the warrant was legally invalid and that the search therefore
violated Defendant's rights under the Fourth Amendment to
the United States Constitution, the Delaware Constitution,
and the Delaware Code. The State opposes Defendant's
December 28, 2018, a special investigator
("Investigator") of the Delaware Department of
Justice ("DOJ") obtained a search warrant for a
residence at 430 Ranee Loop, Bear, Delaware ("Ranee Loop
Residence") in connection with an investigation of
Defendant for tax evasion and/or fraud and false statements.
The warrant authorized the search of the Ranee Loop Residence
for the following property: photographs and/or video images
of the Ranee Loop Residence; documents related to business
conducted in the name of Defendant, Phire-Fly Contracting
("Phire-Fly"), I Lovell Contracting, or any related
entity; financial records that establish income for and are
related to Defendant, Phire-Fly, I Lovell Contracting, or any
related entity; United States currency; and electronic
devices capable of storing/transmitting information.
support of the warrant, Investigator attached an affidavit of
probable cause which set forth the following facts regarding
the State's investigation:
• In September 2016, WSFS Bank informed the DOJ of
suspected financial exploitation of a WSFS Bank customer
("Alleged Victim"). Alleged Victim had written
several checks payable to Defendant and Phire-Fly. The checks
were endorsed by "I Lovell" and reflected the
endorser's Delaware driver's license number
("DDL") and street address, which was 509 Caledonia
Way, Bear, Delaware ("Caledonia Way Address").
• A query of the DDL revealed that the DDL was assigned
to Defendant at the Caledonia Way Address. Further
investigation revealed that Elizabeth Riley Lovell
("Elizabeth") was Defendant's spouse and also
identified the Caledonia Way Address as her residence.
• In March 2017, Investigator observed a red truck
bearing advertisements for Phire-Fly traveling on Interstate
95. Investigator later learned that the truck was registered
to Defendant at the Caledonia Way Address.
• Months later, Investigator learned that a utility
service connection had been established in Elizabeth's
name at the Ranee Loop Residence.
• Investigator surveilled the Ranee Loop Residence on
two occasions. On both occasions, Investigator observed
Defendant's Phire-Fly truck parked in the driveway.
affidavit of probable cause also sets forth the following
information regarding Defendant's businesses and tax
• In 2015, Defendant applied for a license to conduct
business as a contractor as Phire-Fly. The application
indicated that Defendant began operating Phire-Fly in
Delaware in 2015.
• Alleged Victim paid Defendant and/or Phire-Fly over
$575, 000 from January 2015 to December 2017.
• Defendant's 2015 tax returns indicate that
Defendant's business, I Lovell Contracting, claimed $125,
000 in gross receipts.
• Defendant did not file tax returns for the 2016 or
2017 tax years. Alleged Victim's payments to Defendant
during 2016 and 2017 exceeded the amounts required to file
tax returns for the 2016 and 2017 tax years.
• United States tax law requires retention of tax
records and documents for a minimum of three years and longer
if a person files either a ...