The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge
BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney HEATHER MARDEL JONES Assistant United States Attorney United States Courthouse 2500 Tulare Street, Suite 4401 Fresno, California 93721 Telephone: (559) 497-4000 Facsimile: (559) 497-4099 Attorneys for the United States
STIPULATIONTOSTAY PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER
The United States of America and Claimants Mark E. Powell, Cyndee L. Powell, and Mark E. Powell II, by and through their respective counsel, hereby stipulate that a stay is necessary in the above-entitled action and request the Court enter an order staying proceedings for approximately 90 days, until Tuesday September 14, 2012, due to an on- going criminal investigation into one or more violations of 7 U.S.C. § 2024(b) [Food Stamp Fraud], 18 U.S.C. § 641 [Theft of Government Funds], 18 U.S.C. § 1343 [Wire Fraud], 18 U.S.C. § 371 [Conspiracy to commit the described offenses], 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) [Money Laundering] and 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) [Money Laundering], 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) [Money Laundering Conspiracy], 18 U.S.C. § 1957 [Money Laundering] and 31 U.S.C. § 5324(a)(1)
[Structuring Transactions To Evade Reporting Requirement].
The stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and (g)(2). The United States contends that the defendant assets were proceeds of, involved in, or facilitated the above violations.
A stay is warranted because if discovery proceeds at this time in the civil in rem case, Claimants would be entitled to depose, among others, the agents and deputies involved with this investigation. Allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this stage of the criminal investigation could adversely affect the ability of the federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and criminally prosecute the above listed violations.
The parties recognize that proceeding with the civil in rem action at this time could have adverse effects on the underlying criminal investigation and/or upon the Claimants' ability to prove their claim to the property and to assert any defenses to forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that these matters be stayed for approximately 90 days, until September 14, 2012. On or before September 14, 2012, the parties will file a status report to advise the Court of the status of the criminal investigation and/or prosecution, and whether a further stay is necessary.
THEREFORE, the parties to this action stipulate and request as follows:
1. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and (g)(2), this action be stayed due to the pending criminal investigation;
2. All presently scheduled court dates be vacated; and,
3. The parties are to promptly notify the Court on or before September 14, 2012, regarding the status of the criminal investigation and/or prosecution.
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