PLAINTIFF'S STATUS REPORT AND ORDER
The plaintiff submits the following report pursuant to this Court's Order Requiring Joint Status Report. No one has yet filed a claim to the defendant property or an Answer to the Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem, so Plaintiff alone is filing this report.
(a) Brief summary of the claims and legal theories under which recovery is sought or liability denied:
Plaintiff United States of America contends the defendant currency is forfeitable to the United States under 31 U.S.C. § 5317(c)(2) because the currency was involved in a violation of the federal anti-structuring statute (31 U.S.C. § 5324(a)(1)), i.e. the funds were deposited into bank accounts in amounts under $10,000 in such a way that the deposit pattern showed an intent to avoid the filing of a Currency Transaction Report by the bank. Under federal law, a financial institution is required to file a Currency Transaction Report with the Internal Revenue Service whenever a person deposits more than $10,000 in currency into an account. Breaking up a single deposit into smaller amounts under $10,000, and depositing those smaller deposits at different branches of a bank on the same day, or on consecutive business days, is considered "structuring" and violates federal law.
(b) Status of service upon all defendants and cross-defendants:
All known potential claimants to the currency have been served. Plaintiff gave direct notice of the forfeiture action to Shahnawaz and Habiba Sherali (husband and wife) by personally serving them with the Summons, Complaint, Notice of Forfeiture Action, and related documents on December 8, 2008. In addition, these documents were sent by certified mail to Gail Shifman, 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3850, San Francisco, CA 94104 on December 2, 2008, the Sheralis' attorney. The PS Form 3811 (certified mail return postcard) shows that the law office received the documents on December 5, 2008.
These potential claimants had 35 days from December 8 to file a claim to the property (see Rule G(5)(a)(ii)of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions)("Supplemental Rules") and 20 days after filing a claim to file an Answer to the Complaint. See Rule G(5)(b) of the Supplemental Rules. To date, no one has filed a claim or answer.
In addition, plaintiff is required to publish notice of the forfeiture action on www.forfeiture.gov and has submitted an order to the assigned Magistrate Judge for signature. Plaintiff will commence publication as soon as the order is signed.
(c) Possible joinder of additional parties:
It is possible that a person whose identity is not known to the government could file a claim and answer as a result of the published forfeiture notice. Under Rule G(5)(a)(ii)(B) of the Supplemental Rules, a person who did not receive direct notice of the forfeiture has 60 days after the first day of publication on the official government website to file a claim.
(d) Contemplated amendments to the ...