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United States v. 12508 Dollars In Us Currency

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

August 14, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
$11, 708.00 in U.S. CURRENCY and $800.00 in U.S. CURRENCY, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION

          TENA CAMPBELL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         The United States, in connection with the criminal matter of United States v. Al-Rekabi (2:16-cr-373-RJS, D. Utah), filed this civil forfeiture action requesting an order forfeiting $12, 508.00 seized during a search for illegal drugs. Pro Se Claimant Ahmed Al-Rakabi, [1] who pled guilty in the criminal case, has filed a motion to dismiss the United States' complaint for failure to allege facts establishing the money was derived from an illegal drug transaction. He contends the money came from his settlement with an insurance company.

         In a civil in rem forfeiture action, the Government is required to file a verified complaint and satisfy standards and follow procedures contained in, among other sources, “Supplemental Rule G” of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(4). The rules also set the procedures that a claimant, such as Mr. Al-Rakabi, must follow.

         The Government, in its Opposition to Claimant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 5), contends it has followed the appropriate procedures and has satisfied the pleading standard. It asks the court to direct Mr. Al-Rakabi to follow the proper procedure to claim the money.

         For the reasons stated in the Government's Opposition, the court finds that the Government has satisfied the pleading standard contained in Supplemental Rule G(2)(f) (requiring Government to “state sufficiently detailed facts to support a reasonable belief that the government will be able to meet its burden of proof at trial”).[2] The court's ruling applies not only to the Government's original verified complaint (ECF No. 1) but also to its Amended Verified Complaint For Forfeiture In Rem (ECF No. 4).[3]

         Now it is Mr. Al-Rakabi's obligation to file a formal claim as required by 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(4)(A) and Supplemental Rule G(5)(a) and answer the amended complaint as required by 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(4)(B) and Supplemental Rule G(5)(b). The matter will proceed from there.

         ORDER

         For the foregoing reasons, the court ORDERS as follows:

         1. Claimant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3) and Claimant's Motion to Compel a more definite statement (ECF No. 6) are DENIED.

         2. Mr. Al-Rakabi is directed to file a claim with the Government, as set forth in Supplemental Rule G(5)(a), no later than Friday, September 7, 2018. He must file a claim under oath for each sum of money (the $11, 708.00 and the $800.00) (the “Defendants”) if he intends to claim the full amount seized. Then, again under Supplemental Rule G(5)(b), he must file an answer to the Amended Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem no later than 21 days after filing his claim.[4]

         ATTACHMENT - SUPPLEMENTAL RULE G

         Supplemental Admiralty and Maritime Claims Rule G, 28 U.S.C.A. Rule G. Forfeiture Actions In Rem

         (1) Scope. This rule governs a forfeiture action in rem arising from a federal statute. To the extent that this rule does not address an issue, Supplemental Rules C and E and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure also apply.

         (2) Complaint. The complaint must:

(a) be verified;
(b) state the grounds for subject-matter jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction over the defendant property, and venue;
(c) describe the property with reasonable particularity;
(d) if the property is tangible, state its location when any seizure occurred and--if different--its location when the action is filed;
(e) identify the statute under which the forfeiture action is brought; and
(f) state sufficiently detailed facts to support a reasonable belief that the government will be able to meet its burden of proof at trial.

         (3) Judicial Authorization and Process.

(a) Real Property. If the defendant is real property, the government must proceed under 18 U.S.C. § 985.
(b) Other Property; Arrest Warrant. If the defendant is not real property:
(i) the clerk must issue a warrant to arrest the property if it is in the government's possession, custody, or control;
(ii) the court--on finding probable cause--must issue a warrant to arrest the property if it is not in the government's possession, custody, or control and is not subject to a judicial restraining order; and
(iii) a warrant is not necessary if the property is subject to a judicial restraining order.
(c) Execution of Process.
(i) The warrant and any supplemental process must be delivered to a person or organization authorized to execute it, who may be: (A) a marshal or any other United States officer or employee; (B) someone under contract with the United States; or (C) someone specially appointed by the court for that purpose.
(ii) The authorized person or organization must execute the warrant and any supplemental process on property in the United States as soon as practicable unless:
(A) the property is in the government's possession, custody, or control; or
(B) the court orders a different time when the complaint is under seal, the action is stayed before the warrant and supplemental process are executed, or the court finds other good cause.
(iii) The warrant and any supplemental process may be executed within the district or, when authorized by statute, outside the district.
(iv) If executing a warrant on property outside the United States is required, the warrant may be transmitted to an appropriate authority for serving process where the property is located.

         (4) Notice.

(a) Notice by Publication.
(i) When Publication Is Required. A judgment of forfeiture may be entered only if the government has published notice of the action within a reasonable time after filing the complaint or at a time the ...

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