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United States v. Chicago

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

February 6, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MANILA CHICAGO, Defendant.

          AMENDED FINAL ORDER OF FORFEITURE

          Callie V. S. Granade SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the United States' and Loan Nguyen's Joint Motion for Amended Final Order of Forfeiture. (Doc. 154).

         The original Final Order of Forfeiture was entered in this case on May 26, 2017. (Doc. 128). Claimant Loan Nguyen, wife of Defendant Manila Chicago, filed an appeal (Doc. 129) that same day due to the Court's denial of her motion for reconsideration concerning the forfeiture and denial of her claims to certain assets at issue in this case. (Docs. 118, 125).

         On appeal, and upon consideration of a motion by Nguyen to stay execution of a forfeiture sale, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals requested special briefing as to the property and residence at 13915 Sprinkle Avenue in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. (Doc. 135). In its response, the United States conceded error as to its position that it could criminally forfeit the entire property and residence despite Nguyen's pre-existing undivided one half interest in that property. (See doc. 138).

         The case was then remanded from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals back to this Court with the specific finding that Nguyen's “interest in the residence is not subject to criminal forfeiture”, and instructing this Court to “to conduct any necessary additional proceedings to account for Appellant's [Nguyen's] interest in the residence and any other property subject to forfeiture in which she may retain an interest.” (Doc. 138).

         After remand, and upon this Court's order (Doc. 139), the United States filed a statement of its position on the status of the forfeiture proceedings (titled as a “response”) (Doc. 147) and Nguyen filed a “reply” (Doc. 148), with each party arguing their respective positions as to how the Court should resolve the forfeiture proceedings in this case following the remand.

         Prior to the appeal, the United States published notice in accordance with the applicable rules as set forth in its original Motion for Final Order of Forfeiture (Doc. 127), and the deadline for anyone who received such notice has long since expired. Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §853(n), any third parties asserting a legal interest in the below-listed forfeiture property were entitled to a judicial determination of the validity of the legal claims or interests they asserted. The third parties who asserted their interests in the time required were:

• Regions Bank (“Regions”), the sole lien holder as to the black 2014 Mustang Coupe (Doc. 101);
• Ditech Financial, LLC, (“Ditech”) as the sole mortgagee of 13915 South Sprinkle Avenue, Bayou La Batre, Alabama, more specifically described as Lot 1, Sprinkle's First Addition to Bayou La Batre, according to the plat thereof at in Map Book 67, Page 73 of the records of the Office of the Judge of Probate of Mobile County, Alabama (Doc. 94); and
• Loan T. Nguyen (“Nguyen”), Manila Chicago's wife, who asserted an interest in several of the assets. (Docs. 84, 85).

         The United States previously reached settlements with Regions and Ditech concerning their petitions. (Docs. 110 and 113). Now, the United States and Nguyen have also reached a settlement, as reflected in the stipulated settlement agreement filed with this Court (Doc. 153), and the United States and Nguyen jointly seek an amended final order of forfeiture from this Court.

         The United States has met all statutory requirements for the forfeiture of the below-described property. With all ancillary proceeding petitions settled or fully adjudicated, the ancillary proceeding is at its end, and this matter is ripe for entry of an amended final order of forfeiture, amending the Amended Preliminary Order of Forfeiture to account for the valid interests of third parties in accordance with Rule 32.2(c)(2) and in due consideration of the instructions to this Court on remand from the 11th Circuit, the applicable facts and the law, and the settlement agreements of the parties.

         NOW, THEREFORE, the Court having considered the matter and having been fully advised in the premises, is it ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED AS FOLLOWS:

         Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(1) and 21 U.S.C. §853, and Rule 32.2(c)(2), the below- listed property is forfeited to ...


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