United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND DECREE OF
P. Watters, United States District Judge.
matter having come before the Court on the United States'
Unopposed Motion for Entry of Judgment and Order of
Forfeiture, and the Court having reviewed the Motion and the
Settlement Agreement filed with the Court, hereby makes the
following Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decree:
December 4, 2018, the United States filed a Verified
Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem seeking the forfeiture of
$53, 201.00 in United States currency. (Doc. 1).
December 6, 2018, the United States provided "direct
notice" of this civil asset forfeiture action, by
mailing the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture (Doc. 2), and
Verified Complaint In Rem (Doc. 1), to Aaron Greer, and his
attorney, Jacek W. Lentz, via first class U.S. mail and
Certified mail, to the address provided in the administrative
claim (See Doc. 2), and to Brandon Burris, via first
class U.S. mail and Certified mail, to the address provided
by law enforcement (See Doc. 9, ex. 1-2).
Notice of this forfeiture action was also provided to known
and unknown potential claimants by publishing on the
government's asset forfeiture website the Notice of
Forfeiture Action for 30 consecutive days, beginning on
December 13, 2018, and ending on January 11, 2019. 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 (December 13, 2018) 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. 6-1).
February 7, 2019, Aaron Greer, through his attorney, filed a
verified claim to the defendant currency. (Doc. 7) On
February 25, 2019, Aaron Greer, through his attorney,
provided, via first class U.S. mail, an answer to the
Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem.
Brandon Burris failed to file a claim within 35 days of
notice being provided, or file an answer or motion within 21
days thereafter as required by Supplemental Rules
G(5)(a)(ii)(B) and G(5)(b) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. On March 22,
2019, a motion for entry of default (Doc. 8), supported by
Declaration (Doc. 9) was filed with the Court. On March 25,
2019, the Clerk of Court entered the default of Brandon
Burris. (Doc. 10).
Unknown potential claimants failed to file a claim within 60
days from the first day of publication, and an answer or
motion within 21 days thereafter as required by Supplemental
Rules G(5)(a)(ii)(B) and G(5)(b) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. After a
motion for entry of default (Doc. 8), supported by
Declaration (Doc. 9), the Clerk of Court entered the default
of unknown potential claimants on March 25, 2019. (Doc. 10).
Plaintiff and claimant, Aaron Greer, by and through his
attorney, Jacek W. Lentz, entered into a Settlement
Agreement, dated March 31, 2019, and filed with the Court on
April 9, 2019. (Doc. 11). Pursuant to the Settlement
Agreement, claimant, Aaron Greer, agreed to the entry of a
Decree of Forfeiture of currency to the United States in the
amount of $46, 201.00, and the United States agreed to
release the remaining $7, 000.00 to claimant, Aaron Greer,
and his counsel.
upon the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the
following conclusions of law: