Forfeiture Case vs. Timothy Mark Garcia in New York Re-Opened

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (Apr. 5) – The United States government has asked United States District Court Judge Richard J. Holwell of the Southern District of New York to re-open the docket of the forfeiture case filed against Timothy Mark Depakakibo Garcia that has been administratively “closed in error.”

Assistant United States Attorney Rua M. Kelly wrote Judge Holwell a letter dated March 19, 2009 that was only made public last Thursday (April 2, 2009), saying the U.S. government is making the request based on Memorandum from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts dated June 15, 1973.

The two-page letter concerns the case of U.S. v. All right, Title and Interest in Real Property and Appurtenance Located at Trump Park Avenue Condominium, Unite 6A (502 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 04 Civ. 8918 (RJH).

The condominium unit at 502 Park Avenue in New York was purchased by Timothy Mark D. Garcia and his mother, Clarita D. Garcia in January 2004 for US$765,000.

The forfeiture case was stayed on March 10, 2005 “to allow the Philippine prosecution and investigation to proceed” as the property was said to have been “purchased with funds derived from offenses against the Philippines and thus constitutes property involved in illegal money laundering transaction” in violation of Title 18, Sections 1956 and 1957.

Under the Stipulation and Order to Stay Action on March 10, 2005 reached by both parties in the case, the U.S. government “will submit status reports to the Court and to counsel of the Claimants on the Philippine investigation and prosecution every 90 days.

It also added that the “Government shall promptly notify the Court of the disposition of the Philippine prosecution.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly also informed the Court that on “Feb. 27, 2009, the Government received a request from the Philippine government, seeking provisional arrest with a view toward extradition for claimant Timothy Mar Garcia, as well as Clarita Garcia, Ian Carl Garcia, and Juan Paulo Garcia, in connection with charges by the Philippine Special Prosecutor for the crime of Plunder.”

Kelly added that on March 5, 2005, a complaint for the provisional arrest of Timothy Mark Garcia was presented by the Government to Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz, who signed the complaint and an arrest warrant.

On March 5, 2005, Timothy Garcia was “arrested by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents and presented in this District.”

The Court was also informed that Clarita Garcia was arrested and presented in the Eastern District Court of Michigan in Detroit and Ian Carl and Juan Paulo Garcia were arrested in the Northern District of California. All four are currently detained.

Clarita Garcia, 58, and her husband, retired Major General Carlos F. Garcia, and their three children – Timothy Mark, 25, Ian Karl, 30, and Juan Paulo, 27, are all facing plunder charges in the Philippines. Plunder carries a penalty of 30 years to life in prison.

General Garcia, a former comptroller of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and others were accused of  “willfully, unlawfully, and criminally amass, accumulate, and acquire ill-gotten wealth in the form of funds, landholdings, and other real and personal properties in the aggregate amount of not less than 303-million pesos (US$6.2-M).”

The source of funds used by Timothy and his mother, Clarita, was believed to be the unexplained 303-million (US$6.2-M) acquired by General Garcia. The Garcias were able to transfer $2 million from the Philippines to the United States.

Except for General Garcia, the rest of the members of the family are all US citizens and are subjects to extradition.

In addition to extradition, Juan Paulo and Ian Karl are detained in the Northern District of California in San Francisco for bulk smuggling charges related to $100,000 being transported to the United States from the Philippines in 2003.

Timothy Mark and Clarita Garcia are only facing extradition charges and have no other criminal charges.
General Garcia is serving his two-year sentence for perjury in the Philippines. The Garcia couple, as well as their three children, will face plunder charges in the Philippines as soon as the Garcia family members are extradited to the Philippines.

Before purchasing the Trump condominium unit, Clarita Garcia deposited on Jan. 15, 2004 $308,327, approximately $200,000 in cash and in two certified checks from the Bank of the Philippine Islands totaling $108,327 into the Citibank account in New York she holds jointly with Timothy Garcia.

The Garcia also transfer red over $1-M from Export and Industry Bank in the Philippines to the United States in a three-month period. On Jan. 21, 2004, $357,418 was wire transferred from General Garcia’s account in the Philippines to Clarita and Timothy Garcia’s Citibank account in New York.

On Feb. 3, 2004, $265,673 was again wire-transferred by Gen. Garcia to the same account of Clarita and Timothy.

On Feb. 20, 2004 and on March 11, 2004, $263,809 and $176,324 were transferred from Merceditas Garcia, sister of General Garcia, to the same bank account of Clarita and Timothy Garcia, respectively.

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