United States District Court, District of Arizona
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO RETURN PROPERTY AND DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO COMPEL
ROBERT J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter comes before the Court on defendant Ivory Crow’s Motion to Return Property Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g) and 41(e) (Dkt. 307) and defendant Ivory Crow’s Motion to Compel (Dkt. 310). The Court has reviewed the pleadings filed in support of, and in opposition to, the motions, and the file herein.
On August 14, 2013, defendant pleaded guilty to 48 counts of theft of government funds and 47 counts of bank fraud. Dkts. 260, 261, and 270. The underlying basis for the charges involves the stealing and cashing of Treasury checks intended for 88 recipients in the amount of $566, 757.25. Dkt. 165. At the change of plea hearing, defendant admitted to knowingly wrongfully cashing these checks, depositing some into three different bank accounts belonging to three different women: Ms. Angela Deaner, Ms. Bystella Stewart, and Ms. Emilia Gracia. Dkt. 224, at 20-25. Some of the stolen funds were ultimately seized or otherwise returned to the Department of Treasury. See Dkt. 309.
Defendant argues, however, that the government “stole” $70, 000.00 from him when it froze, or otherwise deprived him of, the following funds: (1) $22, 000.00 in Ms. Stewart’s account; (2) $14, 500.00 in Ms. Deaner’s account; and (3) $26, 000.00 in Ms. Gracia’s account. Dkt. 307.
On February 2, 2015, under Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g), formerly Rule 41(e), defendant filed a motion for return of property, requesting that $70, 000.00 be returned to him as unlawfully seized. Dkt. 307. On February 13, 2015, the government filed a response, alleging that the Court lacks jurisdiction over defendant’s motion and that no property belonging to defendant was ever seized. Dkt. 309.
On February 23, 2015, defendant filed a motion to compel the government to “unfreeze” several of his accounts, apparently including accounts belonging to the three women. Dkt. 310.
On March 2, 2015, defendant filed a reply to the government’s response to his motion to return property. Dkt. 311. There, defendant appears to suggest that $70, 000.00 was taken from “[his] saving account.” Id.
a. Motion to Return Property
The government argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction over defendant’s motion because Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g) governs searches and seizures, and no search warrant was ever issued to seize any of defendant’s property. Dkt. 309. The Court should reject this argument.
Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g) is not limited to property held following an unlawful search or seizure. Any person aggrieved by “the deprivation of property” may file a Rule 41(e) motion to require the government to return the property. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g); Gov't of Virgin Islands v. Edwards, 903 F.2d 267, 273 (3d Cir. 1990) (finding ...