United States of America v. $7,900.00 in United States Currency, No. 3:2013cv00506 - Document 25 (D. Nev. 2014)

Court Description: DEFAULT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE as to Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. and All Persons or Entities Who Claim an Interest in the $7,900 in U.S. Currency, and FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE as to $7,900 in U.S. Currency and Nessa Rachel Goldman. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 10/1/2014. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - KR)
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United States of America v. $7,900.00 in United States Currency Doc. 25 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 1 of 8 1 DANIEL G. BOGDEN United States Attorney 2 Nevada Bar No. 2137 MICHAEL A. HUMPHREYS 3 Assistant United States Attorney U.S. Attorney’s Office 4 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 5000 Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 5 Telephone: 702-388-6336 Facsimile: 702-388-6787 6 Email: michael.humphreys@usdoj.gov Attorneys for the United States 7 8 9 10 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 12 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 13 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 14 Plaintiff, 15 v. 16 $7,900.00 IN UNITED STATES 17 CURRENCY, 18 19 20 21 22 Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) 3:13-CV-506-LRH-(VPC) ) ) ) ) ) DEFAULT JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE AS TO ROBERT GORDON LIPSTREU, JR. AND ALL PERSONS OR ENTITIES WHO CLAIM AN INTEREST IN THE $7,900.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE AS TO $7,900.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY AND NESSA RACHEL GOLDMAN 23 I. FACTS 24 1. On November 19, 2011, a car driven by Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. was stopped for a 25 traffic violation near mile marker 299 of Interstate 80, near Reno, Nevada. The passenger in the 26 vehicle was Nessa Rachel Goldman. Lipstreu was found to be impaired by marijuana and a trained Dockets.Justia.com Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 2 of 8 1 narcotics canine alerted to the vehicle. In the backseat of the car was found a backpack containing 2 $65,381.00 in United States Currency. In the trunk of the vehicle was found $7,900.00 in United States 3 Currency in a bag. Both sets of currency were grouped together according to denominations, and 4 rubber-banded, consistent with the manner in which drug-related currency is transported by couriers. 5 2. The two sets of currency later became defendants in two separate civil forfeiture cases: 6 $65,381.00 in United States Currency (3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC)); and $7,900.00 in United States 7 Currency (3:13-CV-506-LRH-(VPC)). 8 II. PROCEDURE 9 3. The United States of America (“United States”) filed a verified Complaint for 10 Forfeiture in Rem on April 18, 2012. Complaint, ECF No. 1. The Complaint (ECF No. 1) alleges the 11 defendant property: a. 12 was furnished or was intended to be furnished in exchange for controlled 13 substances in violation of Title II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 14 801 et seq., and is subject to forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 21 15 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6); b. 16 is proceeds traceable to exchanges of controlled substances in violation of Title 17 II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., and is subject to 18 forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6); and c. 19 was used or was intended to be used to facilitate violations of Title II of the 20 Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., and is subject to forfeiture 21 to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6). 22 4. On April 24, 2012, the Court entered an Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in 23 Rem for the Property and Notice and issued the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem. Order for 24 Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 3; Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 4. 25 5. Pursuant to the Order (ECF No. 3), the Complaint (ECF No. 1), the Order for Summons 26 and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice (ECF No. 3), the Summons and Warrant of 2 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 3 of 8 1 Arrest in Rem for the Property (ECF No. 4), and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture and Arrest 2 (ECF No. 5, p. 3-4 and ECF No. 9, p. 4-5, 20-21, 35-36, 51-52, 67-68, and 82-83) were served on the 3 defendant property and all persons claiming an interest in the defendant property. Notice was 4 published according to law. 5 6. Pursuant to Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture 6 Actions (“Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule”) G(5), all persons interested in the defendant property were 7 required to: (1) file a verified claim, setting forth the person=s or its interest in the property, that (a) 8 identifies the specific interest in the property claimed, (b) identifies the claimant and states the 9 claimant=s interest in the property, and (c) is signed by the claimant under penalty of perjury pursuant 10 to 28 U.S.C. ' 1746; (2) file the verified claim with the Clerk of the above-entitled Court no later than 11 35 days after the notice is sent or, if direct notice was not sent, no later than 60 days after the first day 12 of publication on the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov; (3) file an 13 answer to the Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem or a motion under Rule 12 with the Clerk of the Court, 14 Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 15 no later than 21 days after filing the verified claim; and (4) serve a copy of the verified claim and the 16 answer at the time of each filing on Michael A. Humphreys, Assistant United States Attorney, Lloyd 17 D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 5000, Las Vegas, Nevada 18 89101. Complaint, ECF No. 1; Order for Summons and Warrant, ECF No. 3; Summons and Warrant, 19 ECF No. 4; Notice of Complaint, ECF Nos. 5 and 9. 20 7. Public notice of the forfeiture action and arrest was given to all persons and entities by 21 publication via the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, from April 27, 22 2012, through May 26, 2012. Notice of Filing Proof of Publication, ECF No. 7. 23 8. On April 24, 2012, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the Order, 24 the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice by executing them on the 25 defendant property. Notice of Filing Service of Process, ECF No. 5. 26 . . . 3 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 4 of 8 1 9. On August 14, 2012, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the 2 Order, the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice on Robert G. 3 Lipstreu, Jr. by regular mail and certified return receipt mail. Notice of Filing Service of Process, ECF 4 No. 9, p. 2-33. 5 10. On September 12, 2012, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the 6 Order, the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice on Robert G. 7 Lipstreu, Jr. by and through Scott N. Freeman, his counsel, by personal service. Notice of Filing 8 Service of Process, ECF No. 9, p. 34-48. 9 11. On August 14, 2012, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the 10 Order, the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice on Nessa Rachel 11 Goldman by international mail and registered international mail. Notice of Filing Service of Process, 12 ECF No. 9, p. 49-80. 13 12. On September 12, 2012, the United States Marshals Service served the Complaint, the 14 Order, the Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice on Nessa Rachel 15 Goldman by and through Scott N. Freeman, her counsel, by personal service. Notice of Filing Service 16 of Process, ECF No. 9, p. 81-95. 17 13. On January 23, 2013, Nessa Rachel Goldman filed a claim. Claim of Nessa Rachel 18 Goldman, ECF No. 11. 19 14. On May 7, 2013, the United States filed a Settlement Agreement, Stipulation for Entry 20 of Judgment of Forfeiture as to Nessa Rachel Goldman, and Order (ECF No. 13), regarding the 21 $7,900.00 in United States Currency. Claimant waived, among other things, service of process. 22 15. On May 9, 2013, the Court entered the Order granting the Settlement Agreement, 23 Stipulation for Entry of Judgment of Forfeiture as to Nessa Rachel Goldman, and Order (ECF No. 15). 24 16. On June 11, 2013, the United States filed a Motion for Entry of Clerk’s Default in 25 regards to the $7,900.00 in United States Currency. Motion for Entry of Clerk’s Default, ECF No. 16. 26 . . . 4 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 5 of 8 1 17. On August 15, 2013, the United States filed a Motion to Amend/Correct Request for 2 Entry of Default in regards to the $7,900.00 in United States Currency. Motion to Amend/Correct 3 Request for Entry of Default, ECF No. 19. 4 18. On September 11, 2013, the United States filed an Unopposed Motion to Sever 5 Defendants in docket number 3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC). The defendants were: (1) $65,381.00 in 6 United States Currency; and (2) $7,900.00 in United States Currency. Unopposed Motion to Sever 7 Defendants, ECF No. 20. 8 19. On September 13, 2013, an Order granting the Unopposed Motion to Sever Defendants 9 in docket number 3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC) was entered. Defendant $7,900.00 in United States 10 Currency was removed from docket number 3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC) while defendant $65,381.00 in 11 United States Currency remained in docket number 3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC) (Order, ECF No. 21). 12 Per the Order, Defendant $7,900.00 in United States Currency was to be assigned a new docket 13 number. 14 20. On September 17, 2013, a Notice of Related Cases was entered by the Court and 15 defendant $7,900.00 in United States Currency was assigned a new docket number of 3:13-CV-50616 LRH-(VPC). Notice of Related Cases, ECF No. 22, 3:12-CV-214-LRH-(VPC). 17 21. No other person or entity has filed a claim, answer, or responsive pleading within the 18 time permitted by 18 U.S.C.§ 983(a)(4) and Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4) and (5). 19 22. On December 20, 2013, the United States filed a Request for Entry of Clerk’s Default 20 against the $7,900.00 in United States Currency, Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr., and all persons or 21 entities who claim an interest in the $7,900.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled action 22 except Nessa Rachel Goldman. Request for Entry of Clerk’s Default, ECF No. 22. 23 23. On August 7, 2014, the Clerk of the Court entered a Default against the $7,900.00 in 24 United States Currency, Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. and all persons or entities who claim an interest in 25 the $7,900.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled action except Nessa Rachel Goldman. 26 Entry of Clerk’s Default, ECF No. 23. 5 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 6 of 8 1 24. Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. is not in the military service within the purview of the 2 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Exhibit 1. 3 25. Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. is neither a minor nor an incompetent person. 4 III. JUDGMENT 5 26. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c) and 55(b), the judgment by default does not “differ in 6 kind from, or exceed [the] amount” of relief listed in the complaint for forfeiture. 7 IV. DEFAULT AND ENTRY OF DEFAULT 8 27. As shown above, the United States has requested entry of Clerk’s Default against the 9 $7,900.00 in United States Currency, Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr., and all persons or entities who 10 claim an interest in the $7,900.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled action except Nessa 11 Rachel Goldman (ECF No. 22). The Clerk entered the Default as requested (ECF No. 23). 12 V. NOTICE 13 28. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C), the United States published 14 notice via the official internet government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, for thirty consecutive 15 days. See above. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(4)(b), the United States served the 16 Complaint, the Order for Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property and Notice, the 17 Summons and Warrant of Arrest in Rem for the Property, and the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture 18 and Arrest on all known potential claimants. See above. 19 VI. LEGAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE COMPLAINT 20 29. The Complaint filed in this action was verified. The Court has subject matter 21 jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction over the $7,900.00 in United States Currency, and venue. The 22 Complaint described the property with reasonable particularity. The Complaint states where the 23 seizure of the $7,900.00 in United States Currency occurred and its current location. The Complaint 24 identifies the statutes under which the forfeiture action is brought. The Complaint alleges sufficiently 25 detailed facts to support a reasonable belief that the United States will be able to meet its burden proof 26 at trial. See facts above. Complaint, ECF No. 1. Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rule G(2). 6 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 7 of 8 1 30. The allegations of the Complaint are sustained by the evidence and are adopted as 2 findings of fact. The Court concludes as a matter of law that the United States is entitled to the relief 3 requested in the Complaint. 4 VII. POTENTIAL CLAIMANTS 5 31. Nessa Rachel Goldman has entered into a Settlement Agreement with the United 6 States. No other person has filed a claim and the time to file a claim has passed. 7 Based on the foregoing this Court finds that the United States has shown its entitlement to a 8 Default Judgment of Forfeiture as to Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. and all persons or entities who claim 9 an interest in the $7,900.00 in United States Currency and Final Judgment of Forfeiture as to 10 $7,900.00 in United States Currency and Nessa Rachel Goldman. 11 NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that 12 Default Judgment of Forfeiture is entered against Robert Gordon Lipstreu, Jr. and all persons or 13 entities who claim an interest in the $7,900.00 in United States Currency in the above-entitled action. 14 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Final Judgment of 15 Forfeiture is entered against the $7,900.00 in United States Currency.and Nessa Rachel Goldman. 16 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the $7,900.00 in United 17 States Currency be, and the same is hereby forfeited to the United States of America, and no right, 18 title, or interest in the property shall exist in any other party, other than Nessa Rachel Goldman, whose 19 rights and liabilities are adjudged below. 20 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDED AND DECREED, that, the property having been 21 forfeited, within a practicable time hereafter for the United States, the United States must release to 22 Nessa Rachel Goldman, through Tammy M. Riggs, one payment of One Thousand Nine Hundred and 23 Forty Dollars ($1,940.00) in United States Currency, less any debt owed the United States, any agency 24 of the United States, or any debt in which the United States is authorized to collect. 25 . . . 26 . . . 7 Case 3:13-cv-00506-LRH-VPC Document 24-1 Filed 08/11/14 Page 8 of 8 1 IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465(a)(2), that there was reasonable 2 cause for the seizure or arrest of the defendant property. 3 4 ___________________________________ DATED this 1st day of of September, 2014. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE ____ day October, 2014. 5 DATED:___________________________ ________________________________ LARRY R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 8