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United States v. Real Property at 5383 Stonehurst Drive, Martinez, California, Contra Costa County

United States District Court, E.D. California

January 8, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 5383 STONEHURST DRIVE, MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, APN 367-230-018-7, INCLUDING ALL APPURTENANCES AND IMPROVEMENTS THERETO, et al., Defendants.

          McGREGOR W. SCOTT United States Attorney ANDRE M. ESPINOZA KEVIN C. KHASIGIAN Assistant U.S. Attorney

          UNITED STATES' REQUEST TO EXTEND THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A JOINT STATUS REPORT FROM JANUARY 9, 2020 TO MARCH 11, 2020

          JOHN A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         The United States submits the following Request to Extend the Deadline to file a Joint Status Report from January 9, 2020 to March 11, 2020.

         Introduction

         On April 15, 2019, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint in rem against fourteen real properties (“In Rem Defendants”) connected to fraud and money laundering crimes in the Eastern District of California and other areas. All known potential claimants to the In Rem Defendants were served in a manner consistent with Dusenbery v. United States, 534 U.S. 161, 168 (2002) and the applicable statutory authority. Furthermore, public notice on the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, began on May 4, 2019, and ran for thirty consecutive days, as required by Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C) of Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions. See ECF No. 4. A Declaration of Publication was filed on July 12, 2019, which set forth, among other items, that publication on the government's forfeiture website was complete on June 2, 2019. See Dkt. 40.

         This case is related to four other cases filed in the Eastern District of California: two civil cases, United States v. 725 Main Street, Martinez, California, et al., Case 2:19-CV-00247-JAM-DB and United States v. Approximately $6, 567, 897.50 Seized From CTBC Bank, Account No. 3800191916, et al., Case 2:19-cv-00485-JAM-DB; and two recently filed criminal cases, United States v. Ronald Roach, et al., 2:19-cr-00182-JAM and United States v. Robert Karmann, 2:19-cr-00222-JAM. A notice of related case was also filed this week in another criminal case involving the DC Solar fraud, United States v. Ryan Guidry, 2:20-cr-00003-KJM.[1]

         The United States has also lodged the complaint on the bankruptcy docket for DC Solar's parent company, In re Double Jump Inc., Case 19-bk-50102, a bankruptcy case filed in Reno, Nevada after the United States executed federal search and seizure warrants at DC Solar's business and other locations in California associated with the company and its founders. The United States and the Chapter 7 Trustees for the entities related to DC Solar and its principals have since entered a Coordination Agreement concerning the In Rem Defendants and other assets connected to DC Solar and its principals. An order approving the Coordination Agreement was entered in late November 2019, resulting in the dismissal of two In Rem Defendants from this case.[2] See Dkt. 49, 51.

         Good Cause

         The United States has provided notice to all potential claimants pursuant to law. Specifically, the In Rem Defendants are collectively owned by Jeffrey and Paulette Carpoff personally and through several LLCs, Dora Dog Properties, LLC, Dog Blue Properties, LLC, 475 Channel Road, LLC, 2750 Maxwell Way, LLC, Fou Dog, LLC, Antioch Mini Storage, LLC, and 4021 Pike Lane, LLC. The government served copies of the complaint documents on the above LLCs through their registered agent for service of process, as listed on the California Secretary of State's website. Further, the government served copies of the complaint on the principals of each respective LLC, Jeffrey and Paulette Carpoff. Lastly, the government has provided notice of this action to the lienholders who are identified on chain-of-title documents and may have a security interest in the In Rem Defendants.

         Four parties have so far appeared in the case.[3] First, the only parties who have asserted an ownership interest, Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, filed claims as to each property in their personal capacity and through their LLCs. See Dkt. 27-28. Second, a bank filed claims concerning outstanding loans as relates to two In Rem Defendants (2750 Maxwell Way and 4021 Pike Lane) being sold by the U.S. Marshals Service, as discussed below. Dkt. 6-7. Third, a construction company filed a claim and answer associated with labor/materials supplied in connection with retaining walls installed at one of the In Rem Defendants. Dkt. 37. Lastly, the California Franchise Tax Board (“FTB”) filed a claim to several of the In Rem Defendants based on alleged taxes owed to the FTB by Jeff and Paulette Carpoff. Dkt. 35. The FTB and Daysh Development filed answers.

         No other party has filed an answer in this case. However, based on the claimants' requests for additional time to review the allegations-in the civil complaint as well as the four recently filed criminal informations and plea agreements-and potential privilege issues and other defenses, and given the lengthy facts and complicated issues in this case, the United States has agreed to their requests for more time. The answers are currently due on January 15, 2020.

         Furthermore, several potential tax equity investor-victims and those associated with the Dc Solar tax equity deals have requested extensions of time to file claims in this case. For similar reasons underlying the agreement to extend the time to file answers, the United States granted each request for an extension and those entities currently have until January 15, 2020 to file a claim.

         To allow the above individuals, entities, investors, and trustees sufficient time to file a claim and research the issues raised by the facts alleged in the Complaint and recently filed criminal pleadings, the United States seeks to continue the deadline to file a Joint Status Report from January 9, 2020 to March 11, 2020 (or to another date the Court deems appropriate).

         Accordingly, there is good cause to extend the deadline to file a joint status report in this case from January 9, 2020 to March 11, ...


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