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United States v. 37

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

July 15, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
$37,000 UNITED STATES CURRENCY, Defendant. Julian Finch, Claimant

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff: Debra G. Richards, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Indianapolis, IN.

$37,000.00 UNITED STATES CURRENCY, Defendant, Pro se.

For JULIAN FINCH, Interested Party, Jeffrey A. Baldwin, VOYLES ZAHN & PAUL, Indianapolis, IN.

Page 1065

ORDER DENYING CLAIMANT'S MOTION TO ENFORCE JUDGMENT

Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, United States District Judge.

Presently pending before the Court is Claimant Julian Finch's Motion to Enforce Order of December 24, 2014. [Filing No. 14.] In his Motion to Enforce, Mr. Finch argues that the Gov-ernment failed to return $11,100 in seized currency, in violation of an agreement between Mr. Finch and the Government, which this Court then approved. [Filing No. 11.] While a forfeiture hold on the $11,100 was released by the United States Marshal Service in accordance with the agreement, the money was intercepted by an agent of the United States Treasury Department (the " Treasury Department" ) to pay back child support owed by Mr. Finch. Mr. Finch asks the Court to undo that interception, and release the money to him. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Mr. Finch's Motion to Enforce. [Filing No. 12.]

I.

Background

The factual and procedural history of the case are not disputed. On March 4, 2014, Julian Finch was pulled over by Indiana State Police Trooper Joseph Winters for speeding and following too closely. Trooper Winters approached the vehicle and noticed the car smelled strongly of ma-rijuana. The driver identified himself as Mr. Finch and was shaking as he provided Trooper Win-ters with his driver's license. Trooper Winters searched the vehicle and found several lighters, a large amount of loose green material, multiple flip phones, a pager, and a bag containing $37,000 of United States currency. Mr. Finch was charged with possession of marijuana. Believing the money was to be used to violate the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6), the Indiana State Police seized the $37,000 found in Mr. Finch's vehicle and took the currency into custody.

On March 19, 2014, the Clinton County Circuit Court relinquished jurisdiction over the $37,000 and the money was transferred to the United States. Specifically, the DEA took posses-sion of the currency on or around April 15, 2014 and turned it over to the United States Marshal Service (" USMS" ). The USMS deposited the seized currency into the Seized Assets Deposit Fund--an account maintained by the Treasury Department to temporarily hold seized currency--on April 21, 2014.

The Government filed its Complaint of Forfeiture in Rem against the currency on Novem-ber 3, 2014. [Filing No. 1.] Mr. Finch filed a Motion to Dismiss on November 26, 2014, which the Court denied. [Filing No. 9.] On December 18, 2014, Mr. Finch and the Government entered into a

Page 1066

Stipulation and Agreement to Judgment of Forfeiture, in which Mr. Finch agreed that there was a reasonable cause for the seizure of the $37,000. [Filing No. 10 at 2.] As part of the Agree-ment, Mr. Finch was to receive $11,100 of the seized currency, with the remaining $25,900 for-feited to the United States. [Filing No. 10 at 2.] The Court approved the agreement in an Order of Forfeiture and Judgment on December 24, 2014. [Filing No. 11.]

On January 7, 2015, the United States requested that the USMS release $11,100 of the $37,000 held in the Seized Assets Detention Fund. [Filing No. 12.] Accordingly, the USMS moved to disburse the monies via a payment from the Treasury Department's disbursing agent, the Bureau of Fiscal Service. [Filing No. 17-12.] Before making any payment, the Bureau of Fiscal Service first checks to see if the payee owes any outstanding debts, in accordance with 31 U.S.C. ยง 3716. Should an obligation in the payee's name be found, the Bureau of ...


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