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United States v. Kumar

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

October 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SANJAY KUMAR, Defendant.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on defendant's motion seeking relief from forfeiture and release of seized real and personal property, (DE 389), and the government's corresponding motion for restraining order to prevent dissipation of assets, (DE 396) . The issues raised are ripe for ruling.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Prosecution

         Indictment was returned in this case on January 12, 2017. On February 22, 2018, defendant was named in a 45 count, second-superseding indictment (“indictment”) charging him with the following:

1) conspiracy to unlawfully dispense and distribute oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and alprazolam in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (count 1);
2) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (count 2);
3) unlawful dispense and distribution of oxycodone in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (counts 3 through 23);
4) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(i) (count 24);
5) unlawful dispensation and distribution of alprazolam in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (counts 25 through 30);
6) engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 (counts 31 through 32);
7) laundering of monetary instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 1956(a)(1)(B)(I), (ii) (counts 33 through 42); and
8) attempt to evade and defeat tax in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 (counts 43 through 45).

(DE 16, DE 86).

         Trial concluding August 12, 2019, lasting some 26 days, including four days during which the jury deliberated its verdict, resulted in the jury finding defendant guilty of five counts of unlawful distribution of oxycodone in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (counts 3, 4, 5, 9, and 11), five counts of money laundering by concealment in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) and (ii) (counts 33, 34, 35, 39, and 40), and three counts of tax evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 (counts 43, 44, and 45). Not guilty verdicts were returned on the 32 other counts lodged against defendant, including, of particular note with respect to the instant motions, count one (the conspiracy count in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846), and count two (the firearms count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)).

         Defendant's sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 6, 2020.

         B. Restraint of Property

         During the course of investigation and prosecution of defendant over several years, defendant's property has been restrained as follows:

1) Property seized as evidence during the execution of various search and arrest warrants at defendant's residence, office, and a storage unit, including a) a total of $594, 985.00 in United States currency, which was taken into custody by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”); b) 36 firearms and pallets of related ammunition, taken into custody by the New Bern Police Department (“NBPD”) which are the subject of a separate civil forfeiture action, United States v. Kumar's Personal Property, No. 4:16-CV-281-FL; and c) items deemed of evidentiary value, primarily electronic devices and documents taken into either IRS or NBPD custody;[1]
2) Five vehicles seized pursuant to warrants based on probable cause to believe they were subject to forfeiture, including a a) 2012 Ford F450; b) 2013 Chevrolet Silverado; c) 2014 Ford F150; d); 2014 Dodge 4WD Quad Cab Ram 1500 and e) 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited;[2] and
3) Property subject to a consensual restraining order entered on February 27, 2017, restraining defendant from transferring, liquidating, or encumbering a) three parcels of real property as listed in the forfeiture notice of the indictment; as well as b) any funds remaining in defendant's MassMutual Individual Qualified Defined Benefit Plan ...

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