United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
A. DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
15, 2017, the government brought a civil forfeiture action,
in rem, against $16, 784.00 in United States currency, that
was seized during the search of an apartment in Lawrence,
Massachusetts. During the search, agents also found
cocaine, drug packaging equipment, and a cell phone
associated with the investigation. The government alleges
that the currency is subject to forfeiture because it was
furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for
controlled substances. See 21 U.S.C. § 881 (a)
Abad lived in the apartment and was present during the
search, although she was not charged. The government served
Abad with the forfeiture complaint on November 16, 2017. She
filed a claim to the seized currency on November 30, 2017. In
the claim, Abad represented that the currency belongs to her
and is the proceeds from the sale of her business, Dominican
Associates. She also stated that she was not aware of
Guzman's illegal activities.
did not file an answer to the complaint, which was due by
December 20, 2017. See Rule G(5)(b), Supp. Rules for
Admiralty or Maritime Claims & Asset Forfeiture Actions.
The Assistant United States Attorney, who is handling this
case, was in touch with Abad and encouraged her find counsel
to represent her in the forfeiture action.
that reason, the government did not immediately move to
strike Abad's claim when she failed to file an answer.
Nevertheless, after several months passed and Abad still had
not filed an answer, the government moved to strike her
government moves to strike Abad's claim to the seized
currency because she failed to file an answer to the
complaint. The government contends that failure to file an
answer deprives Abad of standing to contest the forfeiture.
Abad did not respond to the motion to strike.
is a threshold consideration in all cases, including civil
forfeiture cases." United States v. One-Sixth
Share of James C. Bulger in All Present & Future Proceeds
of Mass. Millions Lottery Ticket No. M246233, 326
F.3d 36, 40 (1st Cir. 2003). One who brings a claim in a
civil forfeiture proceeding must have standing as an
intervenor. Id. Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for
Certain Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture
Actions "governs a forfeiture action in rem arising from
a federal statute." Supp. Rule G(1); United States
v. $31, 000 in U.S. Currency, 872 F.3d 342, 347 (6th
Cir. 2017) .
Rule G(5) provides the requirements for a claimant to
intervene in a forfeiture case, which are filing a claim that
complies with the Rule and filing an answer within the time
allowed. $31, 000 in U.S. Currency, 872 F.3d at 347.
"Any deviation from the requirements [of Supp. Rule G]
deprives the claimant of statutory standing." United
States v. $99, 500.00 Currency, 699 Fed.Appx. 542, 543
(6th Cir. 2017); United States v. Funds in the Amount of
$239, 400, 795 F.3d 639, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2015).
Pursuant to Supplemental Rule G(8)(c)(i)(A), the government
may move to strike a claim for failure to comply with
Supplemental Rule G(5) when a claimant fails to file an
answer because the claimant lacks standing to contest the
forfeiture. Id. at 348.
is no dispute that Abad did not file an answer to the
complaint as is required by Supplemental Rule G(5)(b). She
also did not respond to the government's motion to strike
her claim. As a result, she lacks standing to contest the
forfeiture of the currency seized by the federal agents.
See United States v. $27, 601.00 U.S. Currency, 2017
WL 4776330, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2017); United
States v. Approximately 64 Dogs, 2017 WL 379404, at *3
(CD. 111. Jan. 26, 2017) . Therefore, the claim Abad filed
must be struck for failing to comply with Supplemental Rule
G(5)(b). Supp. Rule G(8)(c)(i)(A) & (B).
foregoing reasons, the government's motion to strike
(document no. 10) is granted. The claim filed by Ylkania Abad
on November 30, 2017, document no. 7, is struck.