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Court Decides What to Do with Money Uncovered During Crime


On March 1982, a police officer assisted in the arrest of a man after a search of his rented car. The search was allegedly based on probable cause. Drug paraphernalia amounting to $8,605 was found on the floor behind the driver’s seat and several suitcases of marijuana were also found in the trunk of the car. The police officer states that the man confessed that he was a runner from Florida who brought marijuana to the New York City area for sale and returned to Florida with the proceeds of the sales. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the man was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges but was permitted to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

The property clerk contends that the $8,605 is the proceeds of or derived from the sale of a controlled substance and is therefore subject to forfeiture pursuant to administrative code. The code provides that where moneys or property have been unlawfully obtained or stolen or are the proceeds of crime or derived through crime or derived through the use or sale of property prohibited by law from being held, used or sold, a person who so obtained, received or derived any such moneys or property, or who so used, employed, sold or held any such moneys or property or suffered the same to be used, employed, sold or held, or who was a participant or accomplice in any such act, or a person who derives his claim in any manner from or through any such person, shall not be consider to be the lawful claimant entitled to any such moneys or property.

The property clerk also argues that the assignee of the man cannot possibly meet his burden under administrative code and that the money should therefore be declared to be forfeited. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the subdivision states that a claimant of property, who derives his title by assignment, must establish that his assignor had a lawful title in such money and lawfully obtained possession thereof and that such money was held and used in a lawful manner.

The man argues that the felony and misdemeanor charges against him were dropped, that he was not found guilty of any crime, and that the $8,605 he had in his possession when arrested had been given to him by one man in Jamaica for the purchase of trucks. The man asserts that he has purchased vehicles in the United States for the same man in the past.

The assignee argues that since his assignor, pleaded guilty only to disorderly conduct and not to a felony or misdemeanor criminal charge, it has been conclusively determined that the money is not the proceeds of a crime, and must be turned over to him.

The police officer asserts that he had probable cause to stop and search the car that the man drove. He does not tell us the basis for his conclusion that he had probable cause. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said the district attorney may have concluded that the officer acted without probable cause and that drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession would be suppressed at a Mapp hearing. Without the evidence, a prosecution for drug crimes could well has resulted in a judgment of acquittal.

The property clerk argues in affect that an independent determination must be made in the proceeding forfeiting the money. He urges that since the money was found in the proximity of, or commingled with the contraband, it must constitute the proceeds of the sale of drugs. The argument overlooks the man’s claim that the funds were advanced to him by a man for a legitimate enterprise, which were purchase of trucks. A Queens Sex Crime Lawyer said the factual claim, supported by the man’s affidavit, raises a factual issue which hinders a decision without trial. The conflicting claims of the parties resolved at trial.

It is hard to contest or argue if the evidence showed were contrary of what you are saying. If you want to fight for your right, the NY Criminal Lawyers can be your legal partner to prove your innocence. If you are troubled because of drug allegations or you are caught with possession of controlled drugs, you can ask assistance from the NY Drug Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

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