Forfeiture Case Results
Many of our clients ask the same question – “What kinds of cases have you taken in the past and what was the outcome in those cases?”
If you would like to view the case results in civil asset forfeiture cases listed below you should read the following disclaimer:
- The Florida Bar does not approve or routinely review case results posted by attorneys.
- The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the facts and circumstances discussed here.
- Not all case results are listed here or provided.
- The case results discussed here are not necessarily representative of the results obtained in all cases.
- Each case is different and must be evaluated and handled on its own merit.
U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol Agrees to Return $45,000 after Airport Seizure
On September 8, 2019, federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seized $45,001.00 in U.S. currency from our client’s luggage. We were contacted by a local attorney who took the case initially but wanted to be co-counsel with our law firm on the case. The client signed an agreement to retain our firm under those terms. After completing our preliminary investigation, talking with the agent that seized the money, and preserving video surveillance of the incident, we filed a verified claim on September 30, 2019.
Our first verified claim letter demanded early judicial intervention (also called “court action”). We also provided additional information about the legality of the seizure and demanded that the case be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office to avoid any further delay.
Our first verified claim triggered the Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture Officer with the U.S. Customs and Board Protection to send the Notice of Seizure and Information to Claimants CAFRA Form, the Election of Proceedings CAFRA Form, and the Seized Asset Claim Form to us on October 4, 2019. In response to those documents, we send a second demand for early judicial intervention (“court action”) on October 31, 2019.
Within 90 days of our first verified claim letter, we received a certified letter from the FP&F Officer. The letter explained: “The determination has been made that $45,001.00 will be remitted.”
ICE Returns $30,000 in U.S. Currency Seized at Tampa International Airport
On December 12, 2018, ICE seized $30,000 from our client without providing a receipt. A few days later we demanded a receipt that showed $30,000 had been taken. We were told that an undetermined amount of currency was seized but had not yet been counted. Nevertheless, the receipt was eventually provided and it did correctly list a total of $30,000 being seized.
We also created our own election of proceedings form and verified CAFRA seized asset claim so that the case could immediately be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for early judicial action. We also took the steps necessary to preserve any airport surveillance video to show what actually occurred that day shortly after being retained.
On January 1, 2019, we received a notice of seizure and CAFRA Form. We completed this paperwork to again demand court action so that the matter could be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
We received a letter dated March 16, 2019, from the Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection which indicated that “[a]fter a full review of this matter, our office determined that the currency will be returned to your client. Therefore, $30,000 in U.S. currency will be returned to [your client] within three to four weeks.”
We agreed to complete a CAFRA Hold Harmless Release Agreement in consideration for the return of all of the property. The form required our client to forever release the United States from any claim in connection with the detention, seizure, and/or release by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the above-listed property.
The agreement also required our client to waive any claim to attorney’s fees, interest or any other relief not specifically provided for in the agreement. We finally received the check for $30,000 on April 19, 2019.
$30,000.00 Seized by DEA at the Airport and $29,375.89
On April 14, 2018, several DEA agents seized $30,000 in cash from our client. Immediately after the seizure, the DEA issued our client a “receipt for cash or other items” which listed an “undetermined amount of US Currency.” The DEA agents then sealed the cash in a bag and took it to the bank to be deposited.
On June 7, 2018, the DEA send our client a “notice of seizure of property and initiation of administrative forfeiture proceedings” which described the property as $29,000 in U.S. Currency. $1,000 went missing.
On July 11, 2018, we send via “federal express priority overnight” a claim to contest the forfeiture of the property in U.S. District Court (a request for immediate judicial action). Our claim forced the DEA to stop the administrative forfeiture proceeding and forward the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for further proceedings.
Because of several problems that we pointed out, the U.S. Attorney’s Office refused to take any action in the case. Shortly thereafter, we received a letter dated November 15, 2018, from the Senior Attorney with the Asset Forfeiture Section of the DEA informing us of the decision “to return” the $29,000. We competed the UFMS Vendor Request Form as requested.
On December 20, 2018, we received the check for $29,375.89.
DEA seized $13,260 Cash at the Orlando International Airport and $13,260 Returned
On June 13, 2018, DEA seized $13,260 from our client at the Orlando International Airport. That same amount was deposited into the bank by the DEA agents. After we were retained in the case, we submitted a verified claim for judicial court action before the deadline on August 28, 2018.
On September 20, 2018, Merri L. Hankins, Senior Attorney for the DEA’s Asset Forfeiture Section wrote us a letter informing us of the decision to return the $13,260 in U.S. Currency.
$13,227 Seized by ICE HSI and $11,892 Returned
U.S. Currency was seized from our client at the Tampa International Airport. The receipt provided to the client by Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Special Agent (“SA”) Carlos Carrasquillo indicated that “$13,227” had been seized and the currency was counted in the client’s presence before the receipt was written. Nevertheless, only $11,892 was actually deposited into the bank by ICE HSI agents.
We immediately filed a verified demand for early judicial court action and complained about the missing money. Shortly thereafter, we received a letter from Mary Ann Cranford, with the title “Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Officer” at the U.S. Customs and Board Protection Office in Tampa dated April 6, 2016.
The letter indicated that Mary Ann Cranford had received our verified claim demanding the immediate return of funds taken by Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Special Agent (“SA”) Carlos Carrasquillo at the Tampa International Airport.
The letter advised that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has chosen not to file a forfeiture action in Court. The letter stated: “Accordingly, this office will submit a request to the National Finance Center to issue a refund in the amount of $11,892” which was the total amount presented to the CBP office after the seizure.
This article was last updated on Thursday, October 17, 2019.