Attorney: Man entitled to $900k seized from safe by DEA after tax issue resolved

By Kent Faulk

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Jabari Mosley is entitled to get back nearly $900,000 in cash seized by federal drug agents from a safe in 2010 now that he's paid up with the IRS and a misdemeanor tax charge has been resolved, one of his attorneys said Tuesday.

"I think he's entitled to it," said Joel Dillard, an attorney representing Mosley.

Mosley, formerly of Shelby County, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre to serve a year of supervised federal probation for his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of not filing a 2009 tax return. She also ordered him to pay a $7,000 fine.

The probation is to begin as soon as Mosley is released from an Arizona prison where he is now serving a sentence for a marijuana violation. Mosley was sentenced in 2012 in Arizona and is to be released in March 2015.

Federal prosecutors had sought to have Mosley sentenced to a year in prison, but with it to run concurrent with his Arizona sentence, which would have meant he wouldn't have had to serve additional time anyway.

One of Mosely's attorneys, Tommy Spina, told the judge he was concerned the Federal Bureau of Prisons would ignore the concurrent sentence and pick Mosley up at the end of his Arizona prison term and take him to federal prison to serve an additional year. If that happened, it would "subvert" the plea agreement Mosely has with prosecutors, he said.

Bowdre said instead of imposing a prison sentence that he would serve while finishing his Arizona sentence, she ordered that he begin serving a 12-month probation sentence after he gets out of the Arizona prison. He still would serve the same amount of prison time and probation, she said.

Spina said Mosley had initially paid $51,000 on his 2009 taxes, but still owed $60,000 and had not filed his completed tax return when the charge was filed. He said Mosley paid the additional $60,000 last week, along with his 2009 return.

Mosley had pleaded guilty to the tax charge under a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in May. The misdemeanor charge claimed he did not file a tax return for 2009, a year he received gross income of $544,807 from five businesses –Driven Properties & Investments, R&D Nationwide Transports, Paramount Auto, Netcom Solutions, and Pinnacle Entertainment.

Mosley apologized to the judge for not filing his 2009 return and said he wouldn't do it again. He said he wanted to get oujt and help raise his son. "I know this time in custody has made me a better man," he said.

The tax charge stems from the time in May 2010 when he brought a safe to a locksmith because he had lost the combination. After opening the safe the locksmith found $894,800 in cash and called police. The money was turned over to a DEA task force officer after a Birmingham police drug detection dog was brought in and indicated the presence of a controlled substance within the safe, according to court records.

The resulting investigation led to Arizona lawmen making a traffic stop in November 2010 and finding more than 1,600 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a limousine Mosley was pulling on a trailer. The drugs had a wholesale street value of rough $3 million, authorities have said.

More than $11,000 in cash was also seized during the Nov. 12, 2010 traffic stop, according to court records. Six days later another $25,000 was found at Mosley's home Chelsea.

Mosley filed a lawsuit to get the money from the safe returned. Federal prosecutors also filed lawsuits to seize the cash taken from the safe and his home.

Dillard also told Judge Bowdre that another judge, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon, had ordered action in the money seizure cases be stayed until Mosley's current "troubles" are completed.

When those seizure cases may resume - that will be up to Kalllon to decide - and what federal prosecutors might argue is not clear.

Dillard said the misdemeanor tax case was the only case that had been pending in Alabama against Mosley and was the only charge that resulted from the seizure of the safe. As a result, Mosley should be allowed to get the seized money back from the safe and his house returned, he said.

Dillard said it is not against the law to horde money under Alabama law. He cited Alabama law 40-9-1(18), that excludes certain property from ad valorem taxation, including:

"The following items of personal property when owned by individuals for personal use in the home or usually kept at the home of the owner and not carried as stocks of merchandise, namely: Libraries; phonographs; pianos and other musical instruments; paintings; precious stones, jewelry, plate silverware, ornaments and articles of taste; watches and clocks; wagons, buggies, bicycles, guns, pistols, canes, golf sticks, golf bags and sporting goods; money hoarded; radios; mechanical and electrical refrigerators; electrical appliances."

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