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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Tippecanoe files civil forfeiture lawsuit against El Rodeo, others for $3.4M"

Ron Wilkins has the long story this evening on the Lafayette Journal Courier site. A few quotes:

Police confiscated more than $3.4 million during their November raids at El Rodeo restaurants and other eateries throughout the state, and now Tippecanoe County wants to keep that money.

In a civil forfeiture lawsuit filed Friday, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor’s office accuses El Rodeo’s owners and other parties in the businesses of obtaining the money illegally. Therefore, the suit claims, the defendants should forfeit the money.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said in a written response to the Journal & Courier that the suspects in the Nov. 18 raids have not been criminally charged and the cases are under investigation. They, therefore, should be considered innocent until proven guilty in court. * * *

In order to win a civil forfeiture case, the prosecutor must prove through a preponderance of the evidence that the gains were illegally attained, [Attorney General] Zoeller said.

The suit names at least 25 restaurants and several individuals associated with the restaurants of operating criminal enterprises and engaging in money laundering for concealing the proceeds of criminal activity. Specifically what criminal activity allegedly took place is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also accuses the restaurants of theft, alleging that the businesses failed to report the correct amount of money they owed the state in taxes.

Harrington said Marion County prosecutors have filed a similar civil forfeiture suit there.

ILB: This sounds similar to this post from Feb. 7, 2013. A quote:
A lawsuit seeks to allow the State of Indiana to keep millions of dollars and property seized during an investigation into Acapulco Mexican Restaurants.

The Dearborn County Prosecutor’s Office recently filed the lawsuit on behalf of the State of Indiana against the owners of the southeast Indiana restaurant chain which was raided by Indiana State Excise Police in September.

Related posts here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 18, 2014 06:34 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts