Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Approximately $131

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

July 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $131, 940.00, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL C. IRICK UNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This cause comes before the Court for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT (Doc. 16) FILED: April 25, 2018 THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. Background.

         On November 28, 2017, the government filed a Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem (the Complaint). Doc. 1. In the Complaint, the government alleged that on February 1, 2017, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized approximately $131, 940.00 in U.S. currency (the Funds) from a carry-on bag in the possession of Kenneth Tam at the Orlando International Airport. Id. at ¶¶ 7, 9-30. The government alleged that the Funds “constitute (1) money furnished or intended to be furnished by a person in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of the Controlled Substances Act; (2) proceeds traceable to such an exchange; or (3) money used or intended to be used to facilitate a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.” Id. at ¶ 7. The Funds are currently in the government's possession. Id. at ¶ 6. In light of the foregoing, the government sought forfeiture of the Funds. Id. at 11-12. On November 28, 2017, the government filed a Motion for Issuance of Warrant of Arrest In Rem. Doc. 2.

         The Court issued a warrant of arrest in rem on November 28, 2017. Docs. 3; 5. Thereafter, the government complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Supplemental Rule G(4)(a)(i)-(iv) by posting a notice of this civil forfeiture action on its official website, www.forfeiture.gov, for a period of 30 consecutive days. Docs. 9; 16 at 3. The government also complied with Supplemental Rule G(4)(b) by sending notice of this civil forfeiture action to the only potential claimant, Kenneth Tam, by sending the notice to his counsel of record via certified and first class U.S. Mail on December 1, 2017. Doc. 16 at 3. The notice stated that Mr. Tam was required to file a verified claim within 35 days after the date of the notice.

         According to the government, on December 7, 2017, Jacek W. Lentz, counsel for Mr. Tam, acknowledged receipt of the complaint and requested an extension to file a claim. The claim deadline was extended to February 5, 2018. On January 19, 2018, Mr. Lentz requested another extension to file a claim which was extend to February 28, 2018. Again, on February 26, 2018, Mr. Lentz requested another extension to file a claim which was extended to March 26, 2018. Mr. Lentz also acknowledged that he represented John Tam and Sandra Tam - Mr. Tam's parents. See Docs. 11; 11-4. The time for filing a claim passed as did the time allowed by the requested extensions, but no claim was filed.

         On April 18, 2018, the government filed a Motion for Clerk's Entry of Default as to Kenneth Tam, John Tam, and Sandra Tam, and on April 20, 2018, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), the Clerk entered a Default as to these individuals for the Defendant Funds. Docs. 12; 13; 14. On April 25, 2018, the government filed a motion for default judgment. Doc. 16 (the Motion).

         II. Discussion.

         In the Complaint, the government made the following factual allegations, among others, which the government now relies upon in the Motion:

On or about February 1, 2017, Kenneth Tam was at the Orlando International Airport intending to fly to Newark New Jersey. Id. ¶ 9. Earlier that day, Tam had booked a one-way flight from Orlando to Newark, aboard United Airlines flight 174, which was scheduled to depart Orlando that morning. Id. During routine security screening, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel discovered a large amount of cash in Tam's carry-on bag. Id. ¶ 10. Tam told TSA personnel that he was traveling with $10, 000 that he earned selling shoes. Id. TSA personnel alerted law enforcement agents of the discovery. Id. HSI agents responded and eventually seized $131, 940 in currency found in three sealed Fed Ex envelopes in Tam's carry-on bag. Id. ¶ 11.
Tam told agents that he was in the business of selling shoes. Id. ¶18. He claimed that he purchases shoes from stores and re-sells them to friends. Id. Tam stated that he generates business by word-of-mouth and conducts no business online. Id.
Tam stated that he sells between 2, 000 and 5, 000 pairs of shoes each year. Id. ¶ 19. He claimed that he pays $200 a pair and re-sells the shoes for $800 to $1, 000 per pair. Id. He claimed that he made between $100, 000 and $200, 000 per year selling shoes. Id. Despite this claimed income, Tam stated that he had not filed tax returns in over ten years. Id. Tam also claimed that he did not have a bank account. Id.
Despite claiming to have traveled from California, to New York, to Louisiana, and finally to Florida, Tam was traveling with only one carry-on bag that contained a single sweatshirt and two pairs of shoes. He had no checked luggage. The carry-on bag did not contain any other personal effects that one would ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.