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United States v. Peters

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 27, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
STEPHEN CONDON PETERS, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES C. DEVER III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On March 21, 2018, the United States of America moved ex parte for entry of an Amended Restraining Order under 21 U.S.C. § 853(e)(1)(A). Section 853(e)(1)(A) authorizes a pre-trial restraint of assets that are subject to forfeiture upon the filing of an indictment, if such assets would be subject to forfeiture in the event of a conviction. See 21 U.S.C. § 853(e) (1) (A); United States v.Park. 825 F.Supp.2d 644, 646 (D. Md. 2011); United States v. Wingefter. 369 F.Supp.2d 799, 806 n.10 (E.D. Va. 2005). A showing of probable cause is required for the pre-trial restraint of assets. See Kalev v. United States. 134 S.Ct. 1090, 1095 (2014). The probable cause showing has two parts: "[t]here must be probable cause to think (1) that the defendant has committed an offense permitting forfeiture, and (2) that the property at issue has the requisite connection to that crime. Id. The grand jury's indictment is sufficient to show probable cause that the defendant committed an offense permitting forfeiture. See Id. at 1100; Park. 825 F.Supp.2d at 646.

         On December 20, 2Ol7, afederal grand jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina returned a sixteen-count indictment against Stephen Condon Peters for various investment advisor fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering offenses. The indictment contains a criminal forfeiture provision alleging that certain assets are subject to forfeiture upon conviction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 982(a)(1), (a)(1)(C). The information that the government provided under seal and the grand jury's finding of probable cause supporting the Indictment establish probable cause that the defendant committed the offenses permitting forfeiture and that specific assets of STEPHEN PETERS, AMY PETERS, VISIONQUEST WEALTH LLC, VISIONQUEST WEALTH MANAGEMENT LLC, AND VISIONQUEST CAPITAL LLC, as enumerated below, have the requisite connection to the crimes. It is, therefore:

         ORDERED AND DECREED:

         That effective immediately, STEPHEN PETERS and the various business entities in whose name his property is held, as well as individuals, partnerships, and other business entities, their agents, servants, employees, attorneys, family members (including but not limited to Amy Peters), and those persons in active concert or participation with them, and any person or entity receiving or holding property from or for them ("the parties"), be and are hereby

         RESTRAINED, ENJOINED, AND PROHIBITED, without prior approval of this Court and upon notice to the United States and an opportunity for the United States to be heard, from attempting or completing any action that would affect the availability, marketability, or value of said property, tangible or intangible, including, but not limited to, spending, selling, transferring, assigning, encumbering, or otherwise attempting or completing any action that would affect or diminish the marketability or value of the following real or personal property:

i. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in business account #5200822538 in the name of VisionQuestCapital, LLC at Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Raleigh, North Carolina;
ii. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in the business accounts #5200802618 and #5200802596 in the name of VQ Wealth, LLC at Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Raleigh, North Carolina;
iii. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in the business account #5200822511 in the name of VisionQuest Wealth Management, LLC at Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Raleigh, North Carolina;
iv. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in personal account #1010131401732 in the name of STEPHEN PETERS and AMY PETERS at Wells Fargo Bank, NA, Raleigh, North Carolina;
v. Real properly, together with buildings and fixtures of STEPHEN PETERS and AMY PETERS located at 5237 Theys Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606 and deeded in the name of Harris-Peters, LLC, 112 E. Hargett Street, Suite B, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601, STEPHEN PETERS, Manager, as more specifically described in a deed of trust recorded in Wake County, North Carolina, on June 25, 2014, Book 015700, Page 01203-01213;
vi. Vacation home and rental property owned by and deeded in the names of STEPHEN CONDON PETERS and AMY MARIE PETERS, also identified as "AMY MARIE PATERS, " the property also identified as "Casa de la Amada Princesa" or "The House of the Beloved Princess, " located in Coco Bay, Costa Rica within the gated community of Coco Bay Estates (Lot 61), and further identified as Costa Rica Entity #3-102-657027 and Costa Rica Entity #3-102-493198;
vii. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in account #237025965236 in the name of WHISPERING HOPE FARM, LLC at Bank of America, Raleigh, North Carolina;
viii. All funds, monies, and other things of value located in account #237025688254 in the name of HARRIS-PETERS, LLC at Bank of ...

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