U.S. v. $47.875.00 in U.S. Currency, No. 83-1431

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore JOHNSON, JOLLY, and DAVIS; JOHNSON
Citation746 F.2d 291
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. $47,875.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY, Defendant, Wardell A. Lucas and Maggie J. (Jo) Lucas, Claimants-Appellants.
Decision Date15 November 1984
Docket NumberNo. 83-1431

Page 291

746 F.2d 291
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
$47,875.00 IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY, Defendant,
Wardell A. Lucas and Maggie J. (Jo) Lucas, Claimants-Appellants.
No. 83-1431.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Nov. 15, 1984.

Frank D. McCown, Fort Worth, Tex., for claimants-appellants.

Edward C. Prado, U.S. Atty., Jack B. Moynihan, Asst. U.S. Atty., San Antonio, Tex., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court For the Western District of Texas.

Before JOHNSON, JOLLY, and DAVIS, Circuit Judges.

Page 292

JOHNSON, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from a judgment of forfeiture, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. Sec. 881(a)(6), of $47,875 in United States currency. Claimants, Wardell A. and Maggie J. Lucas, contend that they are the innocent owners of $32,500 of the forfeited money and that the district court erred in imposing an affirmative duty upon them to prevent the proscribed use of their money. 1 We need not decide this issue, however, because claimants have not established that they are "owners" for section 881(a)(6) purposes, and therefore they cannot contest the forfeiture.

I. COURSE OF PROCEEDINGS

The Government brought the complaint for forfeiture in district court alleging that $47,875 in currency had been forfeited to the United States by virtue of its intended use for the purchase of illicit drugs. The money was seized by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the possession of Randall W. Lucas and Barry Menting while Lucas and Menting were negotiating the purchase of eighty pounds of marijuana from undercover DEA agents in San Antonio, Texas. 2 Claimants, Randall Lucas' parents, filed an objection to the complaint for forfeiture in which they maintained that they were the sole owners of $32,500 of the seized currency and that they were unaware of the intended misuse of their money. 3

At the forfeiture hearing, claimants proceeded on the theory that the $32,500 was provided to their son in furtherance of a

Page 293

joint venture. The plan for the contemplated use of the money and its repayment was described by Wardell Lucas as follows: Mr. and Mrs. Lucas would provide Randall with funds to purchase used oil drilling bits for the purpose of reconditioning and selling the reconditioned drill bits. Claimants obtained a $20,000 bank loan and withdrew an additional $12,500 from their personal savings account in order to finance the venture. Claimants transferred the entire sum to Randall in cash. Under the agreement, Randall and Menting were to use $32,000 to purchase the drill bits and $500 for miscellaneous expenses incurred in acquiring the bits. Following the sale of the reconditioned bits, $32,500 was to be returned to the Lucases, the interest on the bank loan was to be paid, and the interest lost from the savings account withdrawal was to be paid to claimants. In addition, profits, if any, were to be shared 50/50 between Randall and his parents. Randall was to share his portion of the profits with Menting.

The Government introduced evidence showing that at the time of claimants' agreement with their son, the market for used drill bits was almost nonexistent. There was also testimony to the effect that it is the normal business practice to use letters of credit or checks to purchase used drill bits, not cash.

In its conclusions of law, the district court found that Mr. and Mrs. Lucas had proper legal title to $32,500 of the respondent $47,875 and that they were uninvolved in and unaware of the wrongful activity of Randall and Menting. The court concluded, however, that forfeiture of the entire $47,875 was warranted because claimants "clearly did not do all they reasonably could have done to prevent the proscribed use of their money." Record Vol. 1 at 41.

II. STANDING

The Government maintains that Wardell and Maggie Lucas lack standing to object to the forfeiture because they are not "owners" within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 881(a)(6). The statute provides:

Sec. 881. Forfeitures

Property subject

(a) The following shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States and no property right shall exist in them:

* * *

* * *

(6) All moneys, negotiable instruments, securities, or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of this subchapter, all proceeds traceable to such an exchange, and all moneys, negotiable...

To continue reading

Request your trial
44 practice notes
  • U.S. v. $515,060.42 in U.S. Currency, Nos. 95-6579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1998
    ...satisfy the court of his standing as a claimant. See, e.g., 526 Liscum Dr., 866 F.2d at 216; United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291, 293 (5th Cir.1984). However, because the fundamental requirement is that claimants have at least a facially colorable property interest in......
  • US v. One 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass, No. CIV 87-2297-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • April 4, 1989
    ...United States v. A Parcel of Real Property, 650 F.Supp. 1534, 1541 (E.D.La.1987) (citing United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291 (5th Cir.1984)); United States v. One Parcel of Real Estate Property, 660 F.Supp. 483 (S.D.Miss.1987); and United States v. Miscellaneous Jewel......
  • U.S. v. One Parcel Real Property Located Route 2, No. Civ.A. 3:97-CV-96WS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 4, 1998
    ...or general creditors do not have standing to challenge forfeiture of the debtor's property. United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291, 294 (5th Cir.1984). Still, the Townsends have filed a verified claim purporting to possess an equitable interest in the targeted property. ......
  • US v. $3,000 IN CASH, Civ. A. No. 95-607-A.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • November 29, 1995
    ...e.g., United States v. $20,193.39 United States Currency, 16 F.3d 344 (9th Cir.1994); United States v. $47,875. in United States Currency, 746 F.2d 291 (5th Cir. 1984); United States v. $500,000, 730 F.2d 1437 (11th Cir.1984). Finally, it is important to note that because the forfeiture sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 cases
  • U.S. v. $515,060.42 in U.S. Currency, Nos. 95-6579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1998
    ...satisfy the court of his standing as a claimant. See, e.g., 526 Liscum Dr., 866 F.2d at 216; United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291, 293 (5th Cir.1984). However, because the fundamental requirement is that claimants have at least a facially colorable property interest in......
  • US v. One 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass, No. CIV 87-2297-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • April 4, 1989
    ...United States v. A Parcel of Real Property, 650 F.Supp. 1534, 1541 (E.D.La.1987) (citing United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291 (5th Cir.1984)); United States v. One Parcel of Real Estate Property, 660 F.Supp. 483 (S.D.Miss.1987); and United States v. Miscellaneous Jewel......
  • U.S. v. One Parcel Real Property Located Route 2, No. Civ.A. 3:97-CV-96WS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • March 4, 1998
    ...or general creditors do not have standing to challenge forfeiture of the debtor's property. United States v. $47,875.00 in U.S. Currency, 746 F.2d 291, 294 (5th Cir.1984). Still, the Townsends have filed a verified claim purporting to possess an equitable interest in the targeted property. ......
  • US v. $3,000 IN CASH, Civ. A. No. 95-607-A.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • November 29, 1995
    ...e.g., United States v. $20,193.39 United States Currency, 16 F.3d 344 (9th Cir.1994); United States v. $47,875. in United States Currency, 746 F.2d 291 (5th Cir. 1984); United States v. $500,000, 730 F.2d 1437 (11th Cir.1984). Finally, it is important to note that because the forfeiture sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT