Langbord v. United States Dep't of the Treasury, No. 12-4574 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), 114 Stat. 202, requires the government, if it seizes property that someone else purports to own, to file a complaint for judicial forfeiture within 90 days or return the property, 18 U.S.C. 983(a)(3)(A). The government has a heightened burden of proof. The Langbords purportedly found, in their father’s safe deposit box, 10 double eagle $20 gold coins, minted in 1933, allegedly “the most valuable ounce of gold in the world.” President Roosevelt issued an executive order in 1933 removing gold coins from circulation. In 2004, the Langbords made the coins available to the government for authentication. When the Langbords requested their return, the Mint responded: “they already are, and always have been, property belonging to the United States; this makes forfeiture proceedings entirely unnecessary.” Langbords submitted a “seized asset claim,” demanding return of the coins or institution of civil forfeiture. The Mint refused to take action. The Langbords filed suit. The Third Circuit intially found that the Langbords were entitled to the coins, but, on rehearing, en banc, held that they were always the property of the government. The evidence demonstrated overwhelmingly that no 1933 Double Eagle ever left the Mint through authorized channels. The district court did not err when it ordered the government to pursue judicial forfeiture; certain errors were committed at trial, but did not affect the outcome.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on April 17, 2015.