United States of America v. $1,074,900.00 in United States Currency
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - The plaintiff's motion to strike, Filing No. 32 , is denied. The F&R of the magistrate judge, Filing No. 42 , is adopted in its entirety. The plaintiff's objections to the magistrate judge's F&R, Filing No. 43 , are overruled. The magistrate judge is ordered to progress this case. Ordered by Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (AOA)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
$1,074,900.00 IN UNITED STATES
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on the objections of the United States, Filing No.
43, to the findings and recommendations (“F&R”) of the magistrate judge, Filing No. 42.
The magistrate judge recommended that this court deny the United States’ motion to
strike, Filing No. 32.
The United States filed this case seeking forfeiture of
$1,074,900.00. Filing No. 1. The claimant answered, Filing Nos. 8 and 9, and then the
United States moved to strike. The basis of the motion to strike is that the claimant has
no standing to assert a claim on the currency. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the court
has reviewed the F&R of the magistrate judge, and in particular the objections of the
United States, and finds the magistrate judge is correct in all respects.
Briefly, Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Ryan Hayes stopped a vehicle for
speeding. He asked for permission to search the vehicle driven by Rajesh Manju Dheri
and Marina Dheri. He received permission and ultimately found the $1,074,900.00 in
currency. The Dheris are recorded talking to each other during the search, wherein
they agree to say the money is not theirs but belongs to a friend. They further stated
the money was given to them to start a new business in New Jersey. A canine sniff of
the money indicated the odor of controlled substances.
The claimant in this case is Tara Mishra who resides in California. She claims
the money was not used for drugs and that she gave the money to the Dheris for a new
business in New Jersey.
The United States moves to strike contending that Tara
Mishra has no standing to assert a claim in this case. Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. G(8)(c)(i).
The magistrate judge determined that the claimant must show standing in order
to contest an action for forfeiture. See United States v. One Lincoln Navigator 1998,
328 F.3d 1011, 1013 (8th Cir. 2003). The magistrate judge further indicated that “There
are many ways to show an ownership interest, including actual possession, control, title,
and financial stake.”
1FTHX26M1LKA69552, 980 F.2d 1242, 1246 (8th Cir. 1992). The magistrate judge
concluded that the claimant states she did not gift the money to the Dheris; that the
money was for an investment, and that she and her husband actually traveled to New
Jersey regarding the opening of this nightclub; that the money was gained through the
claimant’s employment; that claimant states she owns the currency; and that she is not
an unsecured creditor. The magistrate judge further found that California law applies,
as the claimant gave the money to the Dheris in California and the money was kept in
California safety deposit boxes prior to its transfer. The magistrate judge concluded that
at this point in the proceedings the claimant stated a colorable interest in the currency
sufficient to satisfy the threshold burden of establishing standing.
The court has reviewed the objections of the United States. The United States
disagrees with the magistrate judge that the gift and unsecured creditor arguments do
not provide a basis to strike. The court disagrees with the United States. The court
finds that the magistrate judge is correct in its findings and conclusions of law. The
claimant has created a colorable claim and, as such, she has standing to assert it in this
proceeding. Accordingly, the court will adopt the F&R of the magistrate judge.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED:
1. The plaintiff’s motion to strike, Filing No. 32, is denied.
2. The F&R of the magistrate judge, Filing No. 42, is adopted in its entirety.
3. The plaintiff’s objections to the magistrate judge’s F&R, Filing No. 43, are
4. The magistrate judge is ordered to progress this case.
Dated this 29th day of January, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Joseph F. Bataillon
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?