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State v. El Rodeo #11, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 29, 2015

State of Indiana, Consolidated City of Indianapolis/Marion County, the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Agency, the Indiana State Police, the Marion County Prosecutor, and the Indiana Department of Revenue, Appellants,
v.
El Rodeo #11, LLC, Appellee

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court, The Honorable David. A. Shaheed, Judge. Cause No. 49D01-1311-MI-0432384.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Andrew A. Kobe, Deputy Attorney General; Kyle Hunter, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: Karen Huelskamp, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mathias, Judge. Najam, J., and Bradford, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 782

Mathias, Judge.

[¶ 1] The State of Indiana, the Consolidated City of Indianapolis/Marion County, the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Agency, the Indiana State Police, the Marion County Prosecutor, and the Indiana Department of Revenue (collectively " Marion County" ) appeal the Marion Superior Court's order granting El Rodeo #11's motion to return improperly seized funds. Specifically, Marion County argues that the trial court erred when it ordered Marion County to return El Rodeo's funds because the funds were seized by and are being held in the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office.

[¶ 2] We reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 3] On November 10, 2012, El Rodeo #11, which is located in Greenfield, Indiana, was completely destroyed by a fire. Appellant's App. p. 58. El Rodeo #11 submitted a claim for property losses to its insurance company, and the claim was settled for $1,152,570.73. El Rodeo #11 deposited the insurance proceeds into an account at Chase Bank, which was opened specifically to receive those funds. The funds were eventually withdrawn from the Chase account and transferred to an account at PNC Bank, which also held only the insurance proceeds. El Rodeo #11 paid certain construction costs from those funds, and in November 2013, the PNC account had a balance of $967,840,81.

[¶ 4] Prior to November 18, 2013, the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office served a warrant for seizure of El Rodeo #11's funds in the PNC Bank account. The bank issued a cashier's check in the amount of $967,840.81 and gave the check to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office.

[¶ 5] On November 18, 2013, the Marion Superior Court, at the request of the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, issued an order to freeze El Rodeo #11's PNC bank account. The order froze the PNC Bank account's assets, but the account balance was zero.

[¶ 6] Shortly thereafter, Marion County filed a Complaint for Forfeiture demanding judgment against numerous defendants for forfeiture of certain funds held by the defendants at various banks. El Rodeo #11 was named as a defendant in the complaint. The complaint alleged that the funds " had been furnished or w[ere] intended to be furnished in exchange for a violation of a criminal statute, or [are] traceable as proceeds of a violation of a criminal statute, in violation of Indiana law, as provided in I.C. 34-24-1-1." Id. at 32.

[¶ 7] The forfeiture complaint was amended on December 3, 2013, and specifically named El Rodeo #11's " $967,840.81 in U.S. Currency Located in PNC Bank, Acct. ending in 2997" as a defendant. Id. at 37. Marion County also added a second count to the complaint and alleged that the named defendants " have participated in, constructed, and continued to operate a corrupt enterprise, through a ...


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