U.S. v. Ribadeneira, Nos. 534

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore OAKES, LEVAL and PARKER; PER CURIAM
Citation105 F.3d 833
Decision Date30 January 1997
Docket NumberNos. 534,D
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Jose RIBADENEIRA, Albio Alzate, Cambiaria C & F Casa De Cambio C.A., Defendants, Banco Popular, Filanbanco, Gregorio Ormaza, Guislain Wattel, Juan Jose Avellan, Francelana, S.A., Maria Cordero, Gustavo Vallejo Perez, Fernando Pena, Simon Coral, Secretej CIA. LTDA., Carlos Ariba and Stella Barrera, Petitioners-Appellants. ocket 96-1299.

Page 833

105 F.3d 833
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Jose RIBADENEIRA, Albio Alzate, Cambiaria C & F Casa De
Cambio C.A., Defendants,
Banco Popular, Filanbanco, Gregorio Ormaza, Guislain Wattel,
Juan Jose Avellan, Francelana, S.A., Maria Cordero, Gustavo
Vallejo Perez, Fernando Pena, Simon Coral, Secretej CIA.
LTDA., Carlos Ariba and Stella Barrera, Petitioners-Appellants.
Nos. 534, Docket 96-1299.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Nov. 8, 1996.
Decided Jan. 30, 1997.

Stuart Holtzman, New York City (Holtzman & Taikeff, of counsel), for Petitioners-Appellants.

Page 834

Sharon Cohen Levin, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York City (Mary Jo White, United States Attorney, Guy Petrillo, Assistant United States Attorney, of counsel), for Appellee.

Martin J. Auerbach, New York City, for Superintendent of the Banks of Ecuador.

Before OAKES, LEVAL and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Appellants-Petitioners Banco Popular, et al. ("Appellants"), appeal from the final order entered April 1, 1996, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Leonard B. Sand, Judge, dismissing their petitions to modify a Final Order of Forfeiture. Judge Sand dismissed the petitions on the ground that Appellants lacked standing to contest the Order of Forfeiture. United States v. Ribadeneira, 920 F.Supp. 553 (S.D.N.Y.1996). Appellants assert that this dismissal was error because they have a legal interest in certain funds forfeited to the United States which grants them standing under 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(6)(B). We disagree, and therefore affirm.

I

Facts

On March 12, 1991, Jose Ribadeneira and Albio Alzate were arrested and charged with laundering approximately $30 million through Cambiaria C & F ("C & F"), an Ecuadorian banking institution and exchange house. 1 Ribadeneira and Alzate ultimately pled guilty to conspiracy and money laundering, and, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 982, agreed to the criminal forfeiture of certain assets, including several C & F accounts. The Final Order of Forfeiture was entered March 5, 1993, resulting in the forfeiture of approximately $2.1 million to the United States.

Appellants were businesses based in Quito, Ecuador, which occasionally converted Ecuadorian sucres into U.S. dollars by purchasing checks drawn on C & F accounts in the United States. Once the assets in those accounts were frozen by reason of the money laundering activities of Ribadeneira and Alzate, Appellants were left unable to redeem U.S. dollar checks which they had purchased. On December 8, 1995, they petitioned under 21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(2) to modify the Final Order of Forfeiture and recover their alleged interest in the seized accounts. On April 1, 1996, the district court held that Appellants, as general creditors without an identifiable legal interest in the particular assets subject to forfeiture, lacked standing to contest the Final Order of Forfeiture, and dismissed their petition. Because they are questions of law, we review de novo both a district court's determination that a party lacks standing, Fund for Animals v. Babbitt, 89 F.3d 128, 132 (2nd Cir.1996), and that court's interpretation of a statute, United States v. Ripinsky, 20 F.3d 359, 361 (9th Cir.1994).

II

Discussion

Title 21 U.S.C. § 853, sets forth the procedure by which third parties seeking to recover an alleged interest in forfeited property may obtain judicial resolution of their claim. The provision granting standing to parties seeking to modify a Final Order of Forfeiture to exclude certain properties from that Order states:

Any person, other than the defendant, asserting a legal interest in property which has been ordered forfeited to the United States pursuant to this section may ... petition the court for a hearing to adjudicate the validity of this alleged interest in the property. The hearing shall be held before the court alone, without a jury....

21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(2).

Section 853(n) further provides that, once a petition has been filed, the district court conducts a hearing on the issue. In addition,

If, after the hearing, the court determines that the petitioner has established by a preponderance of the evidence that--

Page 835

(A) the petitioner has a legal right, title, or interest in the property, and such right, title, or interest renders the order of forfeiture invalid in whole or in part because the right, title, or interest was vested in the petitioner rather than the defendant or was superior to any right, title, or interest of the defendant at the time of the commission of the acts which gave rise to the forfeiture of the property under this section; or

(B) the petitioner is a bona fide purchaser for value of the right, title, or interest in the property and was at the time of purchase reasonably without cause to believe that the property was subject to forfeiture under this section;

the court shall amend the order of forfeiture in accordance with its determination.

21 U.S.C. § 853(n)(6).

Judge Sand properly read § 853(n)(6)'s reference to "a right, title, or interest in the property" as being the same as § 853(n)(2)'s requirement of "a legal interest in property," which is necessary for standing. Because he found that Appellants did not have a § 853(n)(6) "right, title, or...

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69 practice notes
  • United States v. Watts, Docket No. 13–911–cr.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • May 4, 2015
    ...the forfeiture order by demonstrating a “legal interest” in the forfeited property under § 853(n)(2). United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 835 (2d Cir.1997) ; see also United States v. Timley, 507 F.3d 1125, 1129 (8th Cir.2007). The petitioner must then prove his entitlement to relie......
  • U.S. v. One Silicon Valley Bank Account, No. L05-CV-295.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • March 31, 2008
    ...Midwest and Solarcom if the Silicon Valley Bank Account is forfeited, is an adequate remedy at law. E.g., United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 837 n. 5 (2d Lastly, a constructive trust is imposed when it is "`unconscionable for the holder of the legal title to retain and enjoy the pr......
  • U.S. v. One Hundred Thirty–three (133) United States Postal Serv. Money Orders Totaling $127,479.24 In United States Currency, CIV. No. 10–00200 JMS–RLP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • April 28, 2011
    ...a potential remedy is available under a remission process under 18 U.S.C. § 983(d) and 28 C.F.R. § 9.8); United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 837 n. 5 (2d Cir.1997) (indicating that remission process is an adequate remedy at law obviating the need for an equitable remedy of a constru......
  • United States v. Dupree, No. 10–CR–627 (KAM).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • January 28, 2013
    ...law (in this case, the law of the State of New York), the claim must be dismissed for lack of standing. See United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 835 (2d Cir.1997); Timley, 507 F.3d at 1130;United States v. Ovid, No. 09–CR–216, 2012 WL 2087084, at *3, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80049, at *......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
69 cases
  • United States v. Watts, Docket No. 13–911–cr.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • May 4, 2015
    ...the forfeiture order by demonstrating a “legal interest” in the forfeited property under § 853(n)(2). United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 835 (2d Cir.1997) ; see also United States v. Timley, 507 F.3d 1125, 1129 (8th Cir.2007). The petitioner must then prove his entitlement to relie......
  • U.S. v. One Silicon Valley Bank Account, No. L05-CV-295.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • March 31, 2008
    ...Midwest and Solarcom if the Silicon Valley Bank Account is forfeited, is an adequate remedy at law. E.g., United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 837 n. 5 (2d Lastly, a constructive trust is imposed when it is "`unconscionable for the holder of the legal title to retain and enjoy the pr......
  • U.S. v. One Hundred Thirty–three (133) United States Postal Serv. Money Orders Totaling $127,479.24 In United States Currency, CIV. No. 10–00200 JMS–RLP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • April 28, 2011
    ...a potential remedy is available under a remission process under 18 U.S.C. § 983(d) and 28 C.F.R. § 9.8); United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 837 n. 5 (2d Cir.1997) (indicating that remission process is an adequate remedy at law obviating the need for an equitable remedy of a constru......
  • United States v. Dupree, No. 10–CR–627 (KAM).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • January 28, 2013
    ...law (in this case, the law of the State of New York), the claim must be dismissed for lack of standing. See United States v. Ribadeneira, 105 F.3d 833, 835 (2d Cir.1997); Timley, 507 F.3d at 1130;United States v. Ovid, No. 09–CR–216, 2012 WL 2087084, at *3, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80049, at *......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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