Outlaws member had no legal interest in forfeited properties

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A member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who claimed an interest in property forfeited to the government after two fellow members pleaded guilty to racketeering charges did not have an interest under the law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Monday.

Michael Knoll and Dax Shephard were among the 51 members of the Outlaws indicted for various crimes, including racketeering, money laundering and extortion. Under their plea agreements with the government, Knoll agreed to forfeit any interest in properties he had in Indianapolis; Shephard agreed to forfeit his interests in the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne properties.

Outlaws member Bob Henson filed a motion to intervene, claiming interest in the properties. But the statement he filed with the court mentioned only the Indianapolis properties and how he was the leader of the club since the raid in 2012. His statement said his interest included giving brothers a place to live and delegating chores and people to pay the utilities.  He offered no statement regarding the Fort Wayne property.

He also sought to have an expert witness testify on constitutional issues related to forfeiture of memorabilia and personal effects by the government, but the District Court denied the motion since it determined he had no legal interest in the properties.

Henson claimed he had an “equitable” interest in the Indianapolis properties created by his caretaking role for the Outlaws, but he stated he didn’t take that role until after the initial raid in 2012. Since he had no interest in the property at the time of the commission of the acts giving rise to the racketeering charges, his claim must fail, Judge Iliana Rovner wrote in United States of America v. Michael A. Knoll and Dax G. Shephard; Appeal of: Bob Henson, 14-3027.

Also, he presented no evidence demonstrating a “legal right, title or interest in the property,” as necessary under the law. The judges found the District Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Henson’s motion to allow the expert witness to testify.

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