The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable VIRGINIA A. Phillips United States District Judge
CONSENT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE
On or about September 9, 2005, plaintiff United States of America ("the United States of America") filed a Complaint for Forfeiture alleging that the defendant $160,982.00 in U.S. Currency (the "defendant currency") is subject to forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) on the grounds that the defendant currency represents traceable proceeds of violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2342 (trafficking in contraband cigarettes).
Ahmad Almasad and Ghaleb Almasad have filed claims to the defendant currency and answered the Complaint. On or about June 21, 2010, claimant Ahmad Almasad and the United States of America filed their stipulation and lodged their separate order for the withdrawal and dismissal with prejudice of Ahmad Almasad's claim to the defendant currency. Accordingly, Ghaleb Almasad ("claimant") is the sole remaining claimant to the defendant currency. No other parties have appeared in this case and the time for filing claims and answers has expired.
On or about March 3, 2008, judgment and commitment orders were filed as to Ahmad Almasad and claimant in the related criminal case entitled United States v. Ghaleb Salem Almasad, Samir Jamil Jaber, Ahmad Salem Almasad and Ali Salem Abdelhadi, Case No. EDCR 05-05-VAP, whereby Ahmad Almasad and claimant were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,484,785.00 to the California Board of Equalization, the sole victim identified in the judgment and commitment orders.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California (the "USAO-CDC") has requested that the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section ("AFMLS") of the United States Department of Justice exercise its discretionary authority to authorize the restoration of all assets forfeited in this case, so that those assets can be used to compensate the California Board of Equalization, the sole victim identified in the judgment and commitment orders. However, the USAO-CDC does not determine whether any assets forfeited to the United States of America in this case will be restored. Instead, once assets named as defendants in a civil in rem forfeiture case (such as the instant case) have been forfeited to the United States of America via a judgment, AFMLS in Washington, D.C. will make the final decision as to whether the forfeited defendant assets will be restored and used to compensate victims identified in restitution orders.
The United States of America and claimant have now agreed to settle this action and to avoid further litigation by entering into this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture.
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 the parties to this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture.
2. The Complaint for Forfeiture states a claim for relief pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C).
3. Notice of this action has been given as required by law. No appearances have been made in this case by any person other than Ahmad Almasad and claimant. The Court deems that all other potential claimants admit the allegations of the Complaint for Forfeiture to be true.
4. Claimant hereby irrevocably withdraws his claim to the defendant currency and consents to the entry of this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture forfeiting the defendant currency to the United States of America.
5. The defendant currency is hereby condemned and forfeited to the United States of America. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is ordered to dispose of the defendant currency in accordance with law.
6. Provided that the AFMLS grants the USAO-CDC's restoration request and authorizes the payment of the forfeited defendant currency to the California Board of Equalization, the monies paid to the California Board of Equalization shall be applied to Ahmad Almasad and claimant's restitution obligation in the related criminal case by crediting the amount of the payment against the $1,484,785.00 amount Ahmad Almasad and claimant have been ordered to pay to the California Board of Equalization as restitution. However, even if the AFMLS denies the USAO-CDC's restoration request, Ahmad Almasad and claimant's ...