December 17, 2013
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
$275, 010.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, Defendant.
ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR., United States Attorney, ROBERT E. DUGDALE, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Criminal Division, STEVEN R. WELK, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Asset Forfeiture Section, California Bar No. 149883, Los Angeles, California, Attorneys for Plaintiff United States of America.
DONALD B. MARKS, MARKS & BROOKLIER, Attorney for Claimant Keliv Lamonte Watson.
[PROPOSED] CONSENT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE
AUDREY B. COLLINS, District Judge.
On or about August 27, 2013, Plaintiff United States of America ("the government, " "the United States of America" or "plaintiff") filed a Complaint for Forfeiture alleging that the defendant $275, 010.00 in U.S. Currency (the "defendant") was subject to forfeiture pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6).
The defendant was seized from Kevin Lamonte Watson ("Watson") on December 19, 2012. Following the seizure, the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated administrative forfeiture proceedings against the defendant, and Watson submitted a claim in those proceedings, causing the matter to be referred to the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California for consideration of judicial forfeiture proceedings.
Following the filing of the complaint, the government published notice of the action on a government website in accordance with Rule G(4)(a) of the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions. The notice was published on www.forfeiture.gov between September 9, 2013 and October 8, 2013, and included instructions on how to contest the forfeiture, including the deadlines for the filing of claims and answers. In addition, the government sent direct notice of the action to Watson in care of his attorney. The deadline for filing claims pursuant to the published notice was November 8, 2013. No claims have been filed.
The parties have reached an agreement and wish to avoid further litigation by entering into this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture. The government and Watson stipulate and agree that neither is aware of any potential claimants to the defendant other than Watson. The parties stipulate and request that Watson be relieved from filing a separate claim or answer, and that this proposed consent judgment be deemed to satisfy the claim requirement.
The Court, having been duly advised of and having considered the matter, and based upon the mutual consent of the parties hereto,
HEREBY ORDERS, ADJUDGES, AND DECREES:
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 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6).
3. Notice of this action has been given as required by law. No appearances have been made in the litigation by any potential claimant. Watson's agreement to this proposed consent judgment satisfies the claim requirement. The Court deems that all other potential claimants admit the allegations of the Complaint for Forfeiture to be true.
4. $212, 510.00 of the defendant, plus the interest earned by the United States of America on the entirety of the defendant, shall be and hereby is condemned and forfeited to the United States of America, which shall dispose of those funds in accordance with law.
5. The remainder of the defendant ( i.e. , $62, 500.00) (the "Non-Forfeited Funds") shall be returned to Watson.
6. The funds to be returned to Watson pursuant to paragraph 5 above shall be paid by electronic transfer directly into the client trust account of Marks & Brooklier, attorneys of record for claimant in this case. Watson (through his attorney Donald B. Marks, Esq.) shall provide all information and complete all documents requested by the United States of America in order for the United States of America to complete the transfer including, without limitation, providing claimant's taxpayer identification number and the identity of the bank, the bank's address and the account name, account number, account type and wire transfer routing number for the Donald B. Marks client trust account to which the transfer of funds is to be made.
7. The forfeiture of the $212, 510.00, plus interest earned on the entirety of the defendant since seizure, does not constitute and shall not be construed as a payment of any taxes (including income taxes), fines or other obligations which may be owed by Watson, and this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture does not in any way affect any existing tax (including income tax), fine, liability or other debt owed by Watson. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture (including, without limitation, paragraphs 5 and 6 above pertaining to the return of the Non-Forfeited Funds), nothing contained in this Consent Judgment of Forfeiture shall be deemed to restrict, waive, limit or otherwise prejudice in any way any rights of the United States of America (or any of its departments, agencies, representatives or designees) to seize, attach, levy on or by any other means take possession of any or all of the Non-Forfeited Funds, in order to satisfy any tax (including income tax), fine, liability or other debt owed by Watson, before those funds are returned to Watson by electronic transfer (as provided in paragraph 6 above). Should the United States of America (or any of its departments, agencies, representatives or designees) undertake such action as to any or all of the Non-Forfeited Funds, the affected Non-Forfeited Funds shall not be physically returned to Watson by electronic transfer (as provided in paragraph 6) or otherwise.
8. Watson, on behalf of himself and each of his respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents, representatives, heirs, successors and assigns (if any) 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 Investigation, the California Highway Patrol, the United States Department of Justice and their 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, whether pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465 or otherwise.
9. The Court finds that there was reasonable cause for the seizure of the defendant and institution of these proceedings. This judgment shall be construed as a certificate of reasonable cause pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465.
10. The Court further finds that Watson did not substantially prevail in this action, and the parties hereto shall bear their own attorney fees and costs.