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United States v. Two Bank Accounts Described

January 5, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TWO BANK ACCOUNTS DESCRIBED AS: A BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $197,524.99 BANK OF AMERICA SEATTLE, WASHINGTON BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $20,537.42 BANK OF AMERICA SEATTLE, WASHINGTON DEFENDANTS.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
11 BANK ACCOUNTS DESCRIBED AS: CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $100,383.56 MINNWEST BANK LUVERNE, MINNESOTA CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $100,404.11 MINNWEST BANK TRACY, MINNESOTA CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $100,410.96 MINNWEST BANK MONTIVIDEO, MINNESOTA CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $100,465.75 MINNWEST BANK ORTONVILLE, MINNESOTA BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $18,015.75 MINNWEST BANK ORTONVILLE, MINNESOTA BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $76,543.07 MINNWEST BANK ORTONVILLE, MINNESOTA BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $4,292.51 BROOKINGS FEDERAL BANK BROOKINGS, SOUTH DAKOTA CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $100,438.00 MINNWEST BANK REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $170,122.48 AMERICAN EXPRESS MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,693.54 BANK OF AMERICA SEATTLE, WASHINGTON BANK ACCOUNT IN THE AMOUNT OF $54,529.99 BANK OF AMERICA SEATTLE, WASHINGTON DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge

ORDER DENYING IN PART JEWELL'S MOTION FOR IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL OR COURT-ORDERED JURY TRIAL

Timothy Jewell, pro se, moves for immediate dismissal of the consolidated civil forfeiture action or, in the alternative, a court-ordered jury trial. The government opposes the motion. The motion is denied in part.

DISCUSSION

Jewell argues that the civil forfeiture actions filed by the government should be dismissed because they are based upon untruthful information provided by FBI Special Agent Matt Miller. Jewell further argues that the government is trying to obtain ownership of the defendant bank accounts through mere technicalities instead of any alleged illegal activity related to a pyramid scheme. Finally, Jewell asserts that the court has already determined that he has standing in relation to the defendant bank accounts and that he is entitled to a jury trial. The government responds that Jewell's motion is untimely because it was filed on December 12, 2008, and the deadline for filing motions in this matter was November 7, 2008. The government also argues that because Jewell has failed to set forth any legal grounds for dismissal of the civil forfeiture actions, his motion should be denied.

I. Timeliness of Jewell's Motion

The deadline for filing motions in this case was November 7, 2008.

Civ. No. 06-4016, Docket 148 and Civ. No. 06-4005, Docket 270. Here, Jewell filed his motion for immediate dismissal or a court-ordered jury trial on December 2, 2008. Civ. No. 06-4016, Docket 186. Thus, Jewell filed his motion almost one month after the motion deadline. The government has filed numerous motions to extend deadlines in these cases. See Civ. No. 06- 4016, Docket 19, Docket 89, Docket 94, and Docket 136; Civ. No. 06-4005, Docket 15, Docket 32, Docket 72, Docket 91, Docket 154, Docket 187, Docket 195, and Docket 252. Thus, under the unique circumstances of this case, the court will consider Jewell's motion as timely filed and instead address the motion on its merits.

II. Court's Order on Government's Motion for Summary Judgment

A. United States v. Eleven Bank Accounts, Civ. No. 06-4005

On January 12, 2006, the government filed an amended verified complaint, which commenced a civil forfeiture action against eleven bank accounts. Docket 5. Approximately one month later, on February 14, 2006, Jewell filed a verified answer to the amended verified complaint. Docket 13.

Jewell also filed a claim of right or title statement of interest, stating that he believed that he had an ownership and/or security interest in ten of the eleven defendant bank accounts.*fn1 Docket 97. One week later, Jewell filed a support statement of interest with regards to three bank accounts: a bank account in the amount of $2,693.54 (Black Rhino account); a bank account in the amount of $54,429.99 (Mountain Aire Equity account); and a bank account in the amount of $170,122.48 (Transworld account). Docket 116.

The government moved to strike Jewell's claim of right or title statement of interest and support statement of interest in claim. Docket 126. Magistrate Judge Duffy recommended that the government's motion be granted in part and denied in part. Magistrate Judge Duffy determined that Jewell's filings had complied with procedural requirements so as to allow Jewell to proceed with his claims to the Black Rhino, Mountain Aire Equity, and Transworld accounts, but that he had not established statutory standing to resist forfeiture of any of the other defendant bank accounts. Docket 150. The court adopted Magistrate Judge Duffy's recommendation and granted in part and denied in part the government's motion. The court determined that Jewell's verified answer and claims were sufficient to establish standing in relation to the Black Rhino, Mountain Aire Equity, and Transworld accounts, but that Jewell was required to file a verified claim in relation to these accounts that fully complied with Supplemental Rule C(6). The court further determined that Jewell did not have standing to contest forfeiture of the other eight accounts because the claims he filed were untimely and insufficient. Docket 212. In accordance with the court's order, Jewell filed a formal verification, which stated that he had an interest in the Black Rhino and Mountain Aire Equity accounts.*fn2 Docket 220.

Accordingly, Jewell has claimed an interest in only two of the eleven bank accounts: the Black Rhino and Mountain Aire Equity accounts. The government moved for summary judgment as to the Black Rhino and Mountain Aire Equity accounts, arguing that Jewell did not have Article III standing in relation to the two bank accounts. The court granted the motion in part, determining that Jewell did not have Article III standing with regards to the Black Rhino and Mountain Aire Equity accounts. The court found that because the bank accounts are in the names of corporations, Black Rhino, Inc. and Mountain Aire Equity, Inc., the corporations own the money in these accounts and it is the property of the corporations. Jewell, as a shareholder of both corporations, does not own or have an ownership interest in the money located in the corporations' bank accounts. The court concluded that Jewell failed to demonstrate a sufficient ownership interest in the bank accounts to create a case or controversy and, as a result, he did not have Article III standing to contest forfeiture of the Black Rhino or Mountain Aire Equity accounts. Docket 194.

Because Jewell has not established Article III standing in regards to the Black Rhino and Mountain Aire Equity accounts, he is not a proper party to this action and is not entitled to file pleadings. As a result, Jewell's motion for immediate ...


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