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United States v. Christie

United States District Court, S.D. New York

April 7, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
DAVID CHRISTIE, a/k/a "Big Man, " Defendant.

          Attorneys for Plaintiff JOON H. KIM Acting U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y. By: Jaimie Nawaday Esq.

          Attorneys for Defendant LAW OFFICE OF SARAH KUNSTLER By: Sara Kunstler, Esq.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. SWEET, U.S.D.J.

         The United States of America (the "Government") has moved pursuant to Rule 32.2(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p), to Substitute Assets to include certain property of David Christie, a/k/a "Big Man, " ("Christie" or the "Defendant") as substitute assets to be applied towards the forfeiture money judgment that was entered against Christie in the above-captioned case on or about January 19, 2011. Based on the conclusions set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         Prior Proceedings

         On or about May 20, 2009, Christie, among others, was charged in a two-count Superseding Indictment, SI 08 Cr. 1244 (the "Indictment"), with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute, a controlled substance, to wit, (1) five kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine and (2) 100 kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 812, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846 (Count One) and conspiring to import into the United States from a place outside thereof, a controlled substance, to wit, (1) five kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine from Jamaica, and (2) 100 kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of marijuana from Jamaica, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 812, 952, 960(b)(1)(B), 960(b)(2)(G), and 963 (Count Two).

         The Indictment included a forfeiture allegation seeking, pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Section 853, any and all property constituting or derived from any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the offenses alleged in Counts One and Two of the Indictment and any and all property used or intended to be used in any manner or part to commit and to facilitate the commission of the offenses alleged in Counts One and Two Indictment. On February 1, 2010, a jury in the Southern District of New York found the defendant guilty of the offenses charged in the Indictment. On January 20, 2011, the Defendant was sentenced and ordered to forfeit $3, 150, 000 in United States currency representing the proceeds obtained as a result of the commission of the offenses charged in Counts One and Two of the Indictment. On or about January 19, 2011, the Court entered an Order of Forfeiture (the "Order of Forfeiture") imposing a $3, 150, 000.00 money judgment (the "Money Judgment"), which remains unpaid.

         Special Agent Ronald J. Hansen of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Department of Homeland Security ("ICE/DHS") ("Hansen"), has submitted an affidavit stating that he has not been able to locate, obtain or collect assets traceable to the proceeds of the Defendant's offenses to satisfy the outstanding Money Judgment. However, the United States has located the following assets of the Defendant located in Jamaica:

a. The real property, improvements, and appurtenances known and described as Lot 166, located in Catherine Mount, Montego Bay, St. James, Volume/Folio: 1124/847;[1]
b. The real property, improvements, and appurtenances known and described as Lot 450, Section B & D Westgate Hills, Phase 2, St. James Volume/Folio: 1307/202 ("Lot 450") was transferred to Christie for approximately $588, 000;
c. The real property, improvements, and appurtenances known and described as Lot 420, located in Hibiscus Drive, Torado Heights, Ironshore, St. James, Volume/Folio: 1060/129 ("Lot 420") was transferred to Christie for approximately $6, 400, 000; and
d. The real property, improvements, and appurtenances known and described as Lot 1080, located in Ironshore, Taylor Road, Little River, Volume/Folio: 1270/82 ("Lot 1080") was transferred to Christie for approximately $2, 700, 000;

(a-d collectively, the "Substitute Assets").

         The Government is now seeking to forfeit the defendant's interest in the Substitute Assets and to have it, once forfeited, applied as a payment towards the Defendant's outstanding Money Judgment.

         The motion of the Government was heard and marked fully submitted on December 1, 2016.

         The Applicable Standard

         Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p) provides that, if "as a result of any act or omission of the defendant" any property

(A) cannot be located upon the exercise of due diligence;
(B) has been transferred or sold to, or deposited with, a ...

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