from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
JOLLY, SMITH, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
GRADY JOLLY, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Silva Santos ("Silva"), a Mexican citizen, faces a
federal indictment charging money laundering and fraud that
he allegedly committed in connection with his tenure as mayor
of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Silva had various assets in
the United States and Mexico. After his federal indictment,
he took flight and has not returned to this country. The
Government subsequently filed this civil forfeiture
proceeding, seeking certain of Silva's assets that were
allegedly tied to his conduct as a corrupt Mexican official.
The district court ordered fugitive disentitlement under 28
U.S.C. § 2466 and subsequently entered final default
judgment and order of forfeiture. Silva challenges these
orders. We AFFIRM the fugitive disentitlement order and
DISMISS Silva's appeal of the default judgment of
2014, Silva was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged
with money laundering conspiracy, aiding and abetting bank
fraud, aiding and abetting mail fraud, and wire fraud. Silva
has not returned to the United States since his indictment,
and an active warrant exists for his arrest.
November 2014, the Government filed a verified complaint for
civil forfeiture in rem, seeking the forfeiture of a
residence in Brownsville, Texas, and all funds in Silva's
Bermuda bank account ("Bermuda account"). Both were
allegedly tied to Silva's misappropriated campaign
contributions and kickbacks from municipal
contracts. The Government published
public notice of the forfeiture proceeding for at least
thirty days. Notice was also sent to the known claimants,
Silva and Maria Castaneda Torres ("Castaneda").
Castaneda is Silva's alleged common law wife.
filed claims to the Bermuda account and Brownsville
residence. Castaneda only filed a claim to the Brownsville
residence. At the expiration of the time for filing, no other
claim or answer was filed.
2015, the district court held an initial pretrial conference
for the civil forfeiture action, at which time it learned
that Silva was a fugitive in the criminal proceeding. The
court then set the civil case for trial.
thereafter, Silva and Castaneda moved for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c),
contending that the Government's complaint did not
sufficiently identify underlying violations of Mexican law
that would authorize civil forfeiture under 18 U.S.C.
§§ 981(a)(1)(A), (B), or (C). Instead of responding
to this motion, the Government, inter alia, moved
for a finding of fugitive disentitlement as to Silva and, on
that basis, further moved to strike Silva's claim,
answer, and request for relief under Rule 12(c).
district court granted the Government's motions as to
Silva and ordered the Government to respond to
Castaneda's request for Rule 12(c) relief. The Government
responded to Castaneda's Rule 12(c) motion by specifying
Silva's alleged violations of Mexican law. With the
court's permission, it also amended its complaint to
allege that Silva violated four provisions of the Tamaulipas
Penal Code. The court then mooted
Castaneda's 12(c) motion to dismiss. The Government
subsequently non-suited its claim for the Brownsville home,
which left the Bermuda account as the only remaining
defendant in the forfeiture action and Silva-now a
disentitled fugitive-as the only claimant.
filed a motion for reconsideration of the order granting
fugitive disentitlement. But the district court denied
Silva's motion. The Government then moved for entry of
default judgment of forfeiture as to all funds in the Bermuda
account. Because there were no further claims against that
account, the district court ordered the clerk of court to
enter default against the account and against any known or
unknown potential claimants to it. The ...