United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. VARLAN CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
criminal case is before the Court on third-party
petitioner's request to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc.
325], and application for interest in property [Doc. 326].
Also before the Court is the government's motion to
dismiss third-party petitioners' application [Doc. 351].
Third-party petitioner did not respond to the
government's motion, and his time in which to do so has
passed. E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1.
September 1, 2015, defendants Francisco Javier Castro-Reyes
and Lucero Beltran-Chimal were charged with conspiracy to
commit money laundering, among other charges, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) [Doc. 84]. Subsequently, the Court
entered an agreed order of forfeiture for Castro-Reyes [Doc.
221] and Beltran-Chimal [Doc. 256], forfeiting their interest
in certain monies seized from an address in North Carolina.
The government submits that as required by 21 U.S.C. §
853(n) and Rule 32.2(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure, it sent notice to all parties known to have a
possible interest in this property, and also published notice
of the forfeiture, including publication on the internet on a
government operated website for at least thirty (30)
consecutive days [Doc. 352 p. 2].
December 5, 2016, Mason White Hyde (hereinafter
“petitioner”) filed an application for interest
in the property [Doc. 326]. The government moved to dismiss
the application, arguing that petitioner's application
should be dismissed because petitioner failed to meet the
requirements of 21 U.S.C. §§ 853(n)(3) and (n)(6)
order to submit a valid third-party claim, a petitioner must
comply with 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(3), which mandates that a
petitioner “set forth the nature and extent of the
petitioner's right, title, or interest in the property,
the time and circumstances of the petitioner's
acquisition of the right, title, or interest in the property,
any additional facts . . . and the relief sought.” 21
U.S.C. § 853(n)(3). “Federal courts require strict
compliance with the pleading requirements of §
853(n)(3), primarily because there is a substantial danger of
false claims in forfeiture proceedings.” United
States v. Carvajal, No. 3:15-cr-56, 2016 WL 7191687, at
*1 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 12, 2016) (quoting United States v.
Burge, 829 F.Supp.2d 664, 667 (C.D. Ill. 2011)).
case, petitioner' application states only that the
petitioner “has a legal interest in the forfeited
property in the event no other real, natural, party declares
any interest in the property” [Doc. 326]. The remainder
of the application contains rhetoric wholly unrelated to the
application for interest in the relevant property, and
provides no detail as to any purported interest in the
property. Thus, petitioner does not set forth the
“nature and extent of the . . . right, title, or
interest in the property, ” or “the time and
circumstances of [his] acquisition of the right, title, or
interest in the property.” 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(3).
As such, petitioners' application fails to meet the
requirements of § 853(n)(3). Therefore, the Court will
dismiss the application for failing to comply with the
requirements of § 853(n)(3). See United States v.
Kokko, No. 06-20065-CR, 2007 WL 2209260, at *5 (S.D.
Fla. July 30, 2007) (“Failure to file a petition that
satisfies the requirements of § 853(n)(3) is grounds for
dismissal without a hearing.”).
petitioner's application fails to state a claim under 21
U.S.C. § 853(n)(6). In order to survive dismissal, a
third-party claim must “provide enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” See
United States v. Church & Dwight Co., Inc., 510
F.App'x 55, 57 (2nd Cir. 2013) (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
Petitioner's application, which states only that he
“has a legal interest in the forfeited property in the
event no other real, natural, party declares any interest in
the property, ” and provides no other relevant
information, fails to provide any facts which make
petitioner's claim plausible [Doc. 326]. Therefore, in
addition to failing to comply with the requirements of 21
U.S.C. § 853(n)(3), petitioner's application also
fails to state a claim for relief that is plausible under 21
U.S.C. § 853(n)(6). See Church & Dwight
Co., 510 F.App'x at 57.
Court notes that petitioner also filed a request to proceed
in forma pauperis . Because the Court is dismissing
petitioner's claim, it will deny this request as moot.
the government's Motion to Dismiss Third-Party
Petitioners' claim [Doc. 351] is
GRANTED, and petitioners' Application
for Interest in Property [Doc. 326] is
DISMISSED. Petitioner's request ...