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United States v. $290

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN DIVISION


January 27, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
$290,347.66 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY, ONE 2007 LEXUS RX-350, AND ONE BMW 530I DEFENDANTS.
JIAN SHI, JOHN E. COUCH, YUMEI CHENG-COUCH, JC C.A.R.E.S., INC., CHRIS M. WOODS, AND CITIZENS AUTOMOBILE FINANCE, INC., CLAIMANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable David O. Carter United States District Judge

CONSENT JUDGMENT AS TO THE FOLLOWING DEFENDANT ASSETS ONLY: $54,938.17 OF THE DEFENDANT $290,347.66 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND ONE 2002 BMW 530i [This Proposed Consent Judgment Is Not Dispositive Of This Entire Action]

On or about September 24, 2007, plaintiff United States of America ("the government" or "the United States of America") filed a Complaint for Forfeiture alleging that the defendants $497,564.87 in United States Currency ("defendant currency"), one 2007 Lexus RX-350, and one BMW 530i are subject to forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2428(b)(2). On or about November 9, 2007, the United States of America filed a First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture amending the defendant currency to $290,346.66. On or about December 19, 2007, the United States of America filed a Notice of Errata in Amended Complaint stating that the correct amount of the defendant currency is $290,347.66.

On or about October 29, 2007, claimant John E. Couch filed a claim to $283,416.15 of the defendant currency and the 2007 Lexus RX-350. Claimant John E. Couch did not file an amended claim in response to the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture nor an answer because the case was stayed and the parties agreed that these did not need to be filed.

On or about October 29, 2007, claimant Yumei Cheng-Couch filed a claim to $76,198.94 of the defendant currency and the 2007 Lexus RX-350. Claimant Yumei Cheng-Couch did not file an amended claim in response to the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture nor an answer because the case was stayed and the parties agreed that these did not need to be filed.

On or about October 29, 2007, claimant JC C.A.R.E.S. filed a claim to $52,099.23 of the defendant currency. Claimant JC C.A.R.E.S. did not file an amended claim in response to the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture nor an answer because the case was stayed and the parties agreed that these did not need to be filed.

On or about October 29, 2007, claimant Chris M. Woods filed a claim to $155,117.98 of defendant currency. Claimant Chris M. Woods did not file an amended claim in response to the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture nor an answer because the case was stayed and the parties agreed that these did not need to be filed.

On or about October 30 and December 18, 2007, claimant Citizens Automobile Finance, Inc. filed a claim and first amended claim, respectively, to the 2007 Lexus RX-350. On or about November 13 and December 18, 2007, claimant Citizens Automobile Finance, Inc. filed an answer and first amended answer, respectively.

On or about January 31, 2008, claimant Jian Shi filed a claim to the properties seized from him, which is $54,938.17 in United States Currency and one 2002 BMW 530i ("Shi-claimed defendants"). On or about January 14, 2008, claimant Jian Shi filed an answer. No other parties have appeared in this case.

The government and claimant Jian Shi have now agreed to settle this matter as to Shi-claimed defendants and to avoid further litigation between them by entering into this Consent Judgment.

The Court having been duly advised of and having considered the matter, and based upon the mutual consent of the parties hereto,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED:

1. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action and over the parties to this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture.

2. As between plaintiff United States of America and claimant Jian Shi, the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture states a claim for relief pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2428(b)(2).

3. Notice of this action has been given as required by law. No appearances have been made in this case by any person with respect to the Shi-claimed defendants other than claimant Jian Shi. The Court deems that all other potential claimants, except for John E. Couch, Yumei Cheng-Couch, JC C.A.R.E.S., Inc., Chris M. Woods, and Citizens Automobile Finance, Inc., admit the allegations of the First Amended Complaint for Forfeiture to be true as to the Shi-claimed defendants.

4. The United States of America shall have judgment as to the 2002 BMW 530i and $44,938.17 in United States currency of the Shi-claimed defendants, plus all interest earned by the government on the entirety of the $54,938.17 in United States currency, and no other person or entity shall have any right, title or interest therein. The United States Marshals Service is ordered to dispose of said assets in accordance with law.

5. $10,000.00 of the Shi-claimed defendants, without any interest earned by the government on that amount, shall be returned to claimant Jian Shi. Said funds shall be forwarded by check made payable to "Ronald Richards, Esq., Attorney-Client Trust Account," and shall be mailed to Ronald Richards, Esq., Law Offices of Ronald Richards & Associates, P.O. Box 11480, Beverly Hills, California 90213.

6. Claimant Jian Shi hereby releases the United States of America, its agencies, agents, officers, employees and representatives, including, without limitation, all agents, officers, employees and representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and its respective agencies, as well as all agents, officers, employees and representatives of any state or local governmental or law enforcement agency involved in the investigation or prosecution of this matter, from any and all claims, actions, or liabilities arising out of or related to this action, including, without limitation, any claim for attorney fees, costs, and interest, which may be asserted by or on behalf of claimant Jian Shi, whether pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465 or otherwise.

7. The Court finds that there was reasonable cause for the seizure of the Shi-claimed defendants and institution of these proceedings against the Shi-claimed defendants. This judgment shall be construed as a certificate of reasonable cause pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465 as to the Shi-claimed defendants.

8. The Court further finds that claimant Jian Shi did not substantially prevail in this action, and each of the parties hereto shall bear its own attorney fees and costs.

CONSENT

The parties hereto consent to the above judgment and waive any right to appeal this judgment.

20090127

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