ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has voided the government's seizure of western North Carolina properties, and he rebuked prosecutors for engaging in what he called "absurd contortions" of forfeiture law.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (http://avlne.ws/XfAfbp ) the U.S. Attorney's Office maintained the seizures were valid because money used to buy the properties was mixed with the proceeds of crimes committed by James W. "Bill" Bailey Jr.
But Judge Martin Reidinger sided with about 30 property owners who argued in court filings that the government far overreached its bounds in seeking forfeiture.
The 65-year-old Bailey was sentenced to 32 years in a prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to securities fraud, mail fraud and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors said his Ponzi scheme cheated investors out of more than $13 million.
Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com