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United States v. $1

United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division

October 23, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
$1, 688.00 in U.S. Currency, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DANA L. CHRISTENSEN, CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is brought before this Court by Plaintiff United States 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 pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2) (Doc. 17). The Court now makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. On August 1, 2019, the United States instituted a judicial forfeiture action by filing in this cause a Verified Complaint in Rem against the Defendant currency in the amount of $1, 688.00, to forfeit property under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 881(a)(6), asserting the Defendant currency was furnished, or intended to be furnished, in exchange for a controlled substance, and/or was used, or intended to be used, to facilitate one or more violations of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq. and 881(a)(6). (Doc. 1.)

         2. On August 2, 2019, the U.S. Marshal Service executed the Warrant of Arrest in Rem (Doc. 3) that was issued by this Court on August 2, 2019, and arrested the defendant currency. (Doc. 5, USM-285.)

         3. On August 2, 2019, the United States provided "actual notice" of this civil asset forfeiture action, by mailing the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem (Doc. 3) and Verified Complaint In Rem (Doc. 1) to Jacob Alt, via first class U.S. mail and Certified mail, to the address provided in his administrative. (See Doc. 7.)

         4. 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 August 15, 2019, and ending on September 13, 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 (August 15, 2019) 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 thereafter. . . .

(Dec. of Publication, Doc. 9, att. 1.)

         5. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Known Potential Claimant, Jacob Alt, (Doc. 6) and Declaration filed in support of the motion (Doc. 7), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of Jacob Alt, on September 10, 2019, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 8.)

         6. Upon considering the United States' Motion for Entry of Default of Unknown Potential Claimants, (Doc. 10) and Declaration filed in support of the motion (Doc. 11), the Clerk of District Court entered the default of unknown potential claimants, on October 16, 2019, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or to answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental Rules. (Doc. 12.)

         7. The factual allegations set forth in paragraphs 4 through 32, of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem are verified by Shawn Williams, Task Force Officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Doc. 1.)

         Based upon the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the following conclusions of law.

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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