Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

U.S. v. U.S. CURRENCY IN AMOUNT OF $119

January 17, 2001

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
V.
U.S. CURRENCY IN THE AMOUNT OF $119,984, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sifton, Senior District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is a civil forfeiture action brought by the United States to recover $119,984 that claimant Cesar Castro attempted to take out of the country without properly declaring it. Presently before this Court is the motion of claimants Castro and Maria Ansueto to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Alternatively, their motion seeks judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The United States seeks production of documents used by the Court's probation department in preparing the presentence report in Castro's related criminal case, CR-96-1079.

For the reasons set forth below, claimants' motion for summary judgment is granted. The relief requested by the United States is denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the submissions of the parties in connection with the instant motions and are undisputed unless otherwise noted. On November 22, 1996, claimant Cesar Castro was stopped by a customs inspector while attempting to board a flight bound for the Dominican Republic at Kennedy Airport. The customs inspector advised Castro orally of the requirement that he declare any United States currency on his person in excess of $10,000 and gave him a Spanish-language form to the same effect. Although Castro stated that he had only $2,000, a subsequent search revealed $119,984 in currency in his possession.

On March 11, 1997, after conducting an investigation into the details of Castro's case, the probation department issued a presentence report ("PSR"). After finding that the base offense level of Castro's violation of the currency reporting laws would be 12 points but that "[t]he defendant has provided proof that the funds were the proceeds of lawful activity, and they were to be used for a lawful purpose. Pursuant to [USSG §] 2S1.3(b)(2), the offense level is decreased to level 6." (PSR ¶ 13.) The PSR reported that Castro explained that the currency was a loan from Maria Ansueto, the mother-in-law of his ex-wife, to allow him to purchase a house in Santo Domingo for his children. The PSR further stated that Castro provided documentary evidence that "seem[s] to support the fact that it was possible for Ms. Ansueto to be in possession of funds in the amount allegedly loaned to the defendant." (PSR ¶¶ 10-11.)

On March 27, 1997, Castro was sentenced by the Court. During the sentencing, the Court inquired whether the money was going to be forfeited. Castro's attorney informed the Court that the forfeiture proceedings were in abeyance pending the completion of the criminal case and that her client would likely commence a civil proceeding seeking the return of the money. The government stated that it had no position on forfeiture at that time. During the sentencing proceedings, the following colloquy ensued between the Court and Simone Monasebian, counsel for Castro in the criminal case against him:

THE COURT: [D]id you have something else you wanted to say?
MS. MONASEBIAN: Just that the defendant provided the proof that the funds were the proceeds of lawful activity and they were used for lawful purpose, and that is indicated on page 5 of the [presentence] report.
THE COURT: Well, I'm not making a finding on that. I will not prejudge the issue.

MS. MONASEBIAN: I understand, your Honor.

THE COURT: I mean, I don't have enough evidence here to find that the funds were the proceeds of or are to be used for any illegal purpose.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.