The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juan R. Sanchez, J.
The Government asks this Court to enter an Order of Forfeiture of a 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Defendant Mark Green purchased on April 25, 2007. The Government argues the evidence presented at trial and State Police Trooper David M. Shearn's testimony at the November 16, 2011, forfeiture hearing are sufficient to establish the requisite nexus between the property and Green's convictions for conspiracy to commit access device fraud under18 U.S.C § 1029(b)(2) (Count I) and the unauthorized use of an access device (access device fraud) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(2) (Counts II and III). The convictions were related to Green's use of fraudulent Visa and Discover cards to purchase highly expensive automobiles and to make repairs to the Mercedes-Benz. Green asserts there is no record evidence to support the specific finding he purchased the Mercedes-Benz with the fraudulent Visa or Discover cards or with proceeds either directly or indirectly traceable to his criminal activities as charged in the Indictment. He argues the Government's forfeiture motion should therefore be denied. This Court disagrees. Because the Government met its burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence Green's 2005 Mercedes-Benz is subject to forfeiture, the Government's request for a Final Order of Forfeiture will be granted.
1. On January 24, 2008, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging Mark Green with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(b)(2) (Count I); unauthorized use of access devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(2) (Counts II and III); and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1) (Counts IV and V).
2. The Notice of Forfeiture in the Indictment stated Green must forfeit the 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL500 as property which had been used to commit or facilitate the commission of the offenses charged in the Indictment and any property that constitutes proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from the commission of the offenses charged.
3. The jury found Green guilty of Counts I through III and Count V of the Indictment. Green did not challenge forfeiture of the 2005 Mercedes-Benz until the time of his sentencing hearing on September 12, 2011. This Court scheduled a hearing to consider the Government's request for an Order of Forfeiture.
4. The forfeiture hearing was held on November 16, 2011. At the hearing, State Police Trooper David M. Shearn testified-over defense counsel's objection on relevance grounds-in support of the Government's contention the Mercedes-Benz is subject to forfeiture.
5. Although there is no direct evidence Green actually purchased the 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL500 with the Visa or Discover credit cards which were in Frank Monzo's and Keith Berthrong's names, there is direct evidence he used the credit cards to prepay for repairs to the Mercedes-Benz at the Fort Washington Mercedes-Benz dealership service center. Furthermore, there is compelling circumstantial evidence he purchased the Mercedes-Benz with proceeds from his fraudulent conduct.
6. At trial, the Government established Green personally delivered the Mercedes-Benz to the Fort Washington dealership's service department for repairs. The trial testimony also established Green supplied his associates with fraudulent credit cards in the names of Frank Monzo and Keith Berthrong to use to prepay the service department for the repairs to the Mercedes-Benz. Green also admitted he had given credit cards to individuals to pay for repairs at the Upper Dublin Mercedes-Benz dealership. Secret Service Agent Sabrina Cipriano specifically testified Green stated he had given credit cards in the names of Frank Monzo and Keith Berthrong to his associates or friends, Linwood Scott and Josephine Breslin, to pay for the repairs. In three separate transactions, as charged in the Indictment and proved at trial, Green used these fraudulently obtained credit cards to pay for repairs to the Mercedes-Benz.
7. Even though Agent Cipriano testified the Mercedes-Benz was not fraudulently purchased, she also testified Green admitted using Monzo's identity to purchase goods, services, and high-priced vehicles other than the Mercedes-Benz at issue in this forfeiture proceeding. During a November 16, 2007 interview with law enforcement officers, Green admitted he:
(i) engaged in fraudulent activities as soon as he was released from prison in late 2006;
(ii) began to obtain stolen identification documents in January 2007, and immediately used the stolen identities to buy goods and services;
(iii) purchased a number of highly expensive automobiles between January and August 2007, including a Chevrolet Corvette, a Chevrolet Suburban, and a Land Rover or Range Rover, using Monzo's identity; Green told Agent Cipriano he did not recall whose identity he used to purchase a Lexus, a BMW, a Dodge Charger, an Audi, an Infiniti, and a Cadillac;
(iv) used a stolen notary stamp in the name of "Marilyn Kline" to clear the liens from the titles on these vehicles; after clearing the titles, Green sold some of the vehicles at auctions, including the Range Rover or Land Rover, which he ...