United States of America v. Approximately $79,784.78 in Money Orders et al

Filing 33

STIPULATION and ORDER signed by Judge Frank C. Damrell, Jr on 5/12/10: This matter is stayed until September 14, 2010. On or before September 14, 2010, the parties will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary. (Kaminski, H)

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1 BENJAMIN B. WAGNER 2 KRISTIN S. DOOR, SBN 84307 3 501 I Street, Suite 10-100 4 Telephone: Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 554-2723 Assistant U.S. Attorney United States Attorney 5 Attorney for Plaintiff 6 7 8 9 10 11 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 12 13 v. ORDERS, Plaintiff, ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:07-CV-00816 FCD/KJM STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 14 APPROXIMATELY $79,784.78 IN MONEY 15 APPROXIMATELY $193,250.00 IN U.S. 16 CURRENCY, 17 APPROXIMATELY $1,598.00 IN U.S. 18 CURRENCY, AND MISCELLANEOUS SMOKELESS TOBACCO Defendants. 19 PRODUCTS, 20 21 22 Plaintiff United States of America and claimant LA Price King, 23 Inc., submit the following Stipulation To Extend Stay of Further 24 Proceedings and Order [Proposed] and request that the Court enter 25 an order extending the stay now in effect until September 14, 2010. 26 27 28 STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 1 The parties make this request for the following reasons: 1. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981(g)(1), and 981(g)(2) the 1 parties seek a stay of further proceedings in this civil forfeiture 2 case. The United States contends that the defendant property 3 consisting of currency, money orders, and miscellaneous tobacco 4 products (collectively referred to as the "defendant assets") are 5 forfeitable to the United States because they are the proceeds of 6 mail and/or wire fraud, and/or are traceable to money laundering 7 offenses. The details of the underlying criminal investigation 8 involving claimant are set forth in detail the affidavit of Special 9 Agent Trista K. Frederick, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of 10 Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, attached as Exhibit A 11 to the Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem filed on April 27, 2007. 12 2. The defendant property was seized from claimant LA Price 13 King's business premises at 338 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, 14 California, on October 17, 2006, during the execution of a search 15 warrant. 16 3. Varun Kumar, in his capacity as President of LA Price The United 17 King, Inc., submitted a claim to the defendant assets. 18 States intends to depose Kumar about various topics, including but 19 not limited to his knowledge of the operation of LA Price King and 20 other companies in the tobacco distribution business in the Los 21 Angeles area. Kumar will also be questioned about LA Price King's 22 payment, or non-payment, of excise taxes due to the State of 23 California, Board of Equalization, in connection with the sale of 24 tobacco products. 25 4. Anil Mahli was indicted on December 18, 2008, by a 26 federal grand jury in this district on charges relating to the 27 operation of LA Price King, including conspiracy to commit mail 28 STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 2 1 fraud and mail fraud. That case is United States v. Salam S. 2 Kalasho, Anil Mahli, and Pisces International, Inc., 2:08-cr-577 3 FCD. The indictment charges that Mahli was the de facto owner of 4 LA Price King, and was in charge of day-to-day operations at LA 5 Price King. To proceed with discovery in this case plaintiff would 6 need to depose Anil Mahli on the same topics described in the 7 previous paragraph. 8 5. Counsel for claimant LA Price King has informed counsel 9 for the United States that if discovery proceeds, Kumar and the 10 principals of LA Price King, including defendant Anil Mahli, would 11 be placed in the difficult position of either invoking their Fifth 12 Amendment right against self-incrimination and losing the ability 13 to protect its interest in the defendant assets, or waiving their 14 Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to depositions and 15 potentially incriminating themselves in a related criminal 16 investigation. If Mahli or the other individuals the United States 17 believes are the true owners of LA Price King invoke the Fifth 18 Amendment, the United States will be deprived of the ability to 19 explore the factual basis for the claims LA Price King has filed 20 with this Court. 21 6. In addition, claimant intends to depose federal law 22 enforcement officers involved in the investigation that led to the 23 issuance of the search warrant. Allowing depositions of the law 24 enforcement investigators involved in the criminal investigation 25 would adversely affect the ability of the U.S. Attorney's Office to 26 properly prosecute their case. 27 28 STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 3 7. Accordingly, the parties recognize that proceeding with 1 this action at this time has potential adverse affects on the 2 related criminal prosecution and/or upon claimant's ability to 3 prove its claim that the defendant assets belongs to them, and that 4 they came from legitimate sources. However, the parties are 5 informed and believe that the criminal matter involving Mahli may 6 be resolved in the near future. The status conference in Mahli's For these 7 criminal case has been continued again to July 26, 2010. 8 reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed 9 until September 14, 2010. At that time the parties will advise 10 the court of the status of the criminal prosecution and will, if 11 necessary, seek a further stay. 12 8. The parties to this stipulation reserve all claims and In particular, by agreeing to this 13 defenses to this forfeiture. 14 stay, the United States has not waived its right to challenge 15 claimant's standing to contest the forfeiture of the defendant 16 assets. 17 18 Dated: May 12, 2010 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 4 BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney By /s/ Kristin S. Door KRISTIN S. DOOR Assistant U.S. Attorney BENSINGER, RITT, TAI & THVEDT Dated: May 12, 2010 By: /s/ Kerry R. Bensinger (As authorized on 5/12/10) KERRY R. BENSINGER Attorneys for LA Price King, Inc. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORDER For the reasons set forth above, this matter is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2) until September 14, 2010. On or before September 14, 2010, the parties will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: May 12, 2010 _____________________________ FRANK C. DAMRELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND STAY OF FURTHER PROCEEDINGS 5

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