As a part of our continuing coverage of the appeal of the Miami forfeiture case against Nidal Waked Hatum, a principal of the Waked Money Laundering Organization, the United States Attorney filed its Reply Brief today in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. The trial judge had denied entry of a forfeiture order, notwithstanding the defendant's guilty plea, and the Government appealed that issue only.
The issues argued in the 43-page Reply Brief:
(1) Criminal Forfeiture is mandatory in a money laundering case.
(2) Waked's dissipation of the property subject to forfeiture does not preclude entry of a forfeiture judgment of an equivalent amount.
(3) A forfeiture amount for Waked's money laundering conspiracy cannot be reduced or eliminated merely because Waked had repaid the defrauded bank.
(4) The District Court's subsequent misinterpretation of language in the Plea Agreement to forego entry of a forfeiture order against Waked is reversible error.
(5) The Court's alternative finding that the requested forfeiture money judgment would be Constitutionally excessive is erroneous.
The Government's argument is highly persuasive. We will advise when the opinion is handed down.