United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, DEFAULT
JUDGMENT, AND ORDER OF FORFEITURE
P. WATTERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is brought before this Court by Plaintiff, United
States, by and through its attorney, Victoria L. Francis,
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana. The
United States has filed a Motion for Entry of Default
Judgment and Order of Forfeiture (Doc. 13) pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Upon considering the pleadings filed
herein, the Court makes the following Findings of Fact and
Conclusions of Law.
October 20, 2017, the United States instituted a judicial
forfeiture action by filing in this cause a Verified
Complaint in Rem against the defendant funds in the
amount of $78, 058.62, to forfeit property under 18 U.S.C.
§§ 981(a)(1)(C) and 1343 (wire fraud) asserting the
defendant funds were proceeds constituting or derived from
proceeds traceable to an offense constituting "specified
unlawful activity" as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1956(c)(7).
October 25, 2017, the United States Marshal Service executed
the Warrant of Arrest in Rem (Doc. 4) that was
issued by this Court on October 25, 2017, and arrested the
defendant funds. (USM-285, Doc. 5).
October 23, 2017, the United States provided "actual
notice" of this civil asset forfeiture action by mailing
the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Verified Complaint
In Rem (Doc. 3) to Reva Gardner and her Attorney, D. Michael
Eakin, via first class U.S. mail and Certified mail to the
addresses provided in her administrative claim.
Notice of this forfeiture action was also provided to any and
all unknown potential claimants by publishing on the
government's asset forfeiture website the Notice of
Forfeiture Action for 30 consecutive days, beginning on
November 1, 2017, and ending on November 30, 2017. The
"Notice of Forfeiture Action" provides in pertinent
part as follows:
Any person claiming a legal interest in the Defendant
Property must file a verified Claim with the court within 60
days from the first day of publication (November 1, 2017) of
this Notice on this official government internet web site and
an Answer to the complaint or motion under Rule 12 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure within 21 days
(Dec. of Publication, Doc. 9, Alt. 1).
considering the United States' Motion for Entry of
Default of Known Potential Claimants (Doc. 6), and the United
States' Motion for Entry of Default of Unknown Potential
Claimants (Doc. 10), the Clerk of District Court entered the
default of Reva Gardner, on November 30, 2017, (Doc. 8) and
the default of any and all unknown potential claimants, on
January 3, 2018, (Doc. 12) for failure to timely file a
verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as
required by the Supplemental Rules.
factual allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 64,
Doc. 1 are verified by John Teeling, Special Agent for the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Doc. l, pg.27)
upon the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the
following conclusions of law.
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1345 and 1355(a). The United States has filed a Verified
Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem to forfeit the
defendant property under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) and
1343, as proceeds constituting or derived from proceeds
traceable to an ...