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U.S. Attorney's Complaint to Seize Toledo's Kalpis

U.S. Attorney's Complaint to Seize Toledo's Kalpis

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Government's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for forfeiture of Toledo Museum's Etruscan kalpis (water vessel).
Government's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for forfeiture of Toledo Museum's Etruscan kalpis (water vessel).

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Published by: Lee Rosenbaum, CultureGrrl on Jun 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/21/2012

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIOWESTERN DIVISION
 United States of America,Plaintiff,v.One Etruscan Black-Figured Kalpis,Circa 510-500 B.C.,Defendant.))))))))))NOW COMES plaintiff, the United States of America, by Steven M. Dettelbach, UnitedStates Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Guillermo J. Rojas, Assistant U.S.Attorney, and files this Verified Complaint in Forfeiture, respectfully alleging, on informationand belief the following in accordance with Supplemental Rule G(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:
I. NATURE OF ACTION AND JURISDICTION
 1. This is an action to forfeit a seized property to the United States. The seizedproperty consists of One Etruscan Black-Figured Kalpis (i.e., water jug), Circa 510-500 B.C.(hereinafter “defendant property”).Case No. 3:12-cv-1582JudgeVERIFIEDCOMPLAINT IN FORFEITURE
Case: 3:12-cv-01582 Doc #: 1 Filed: 06/20/12 1 of 10. PageID #: 1
 
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2. The United States Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) constructivelyseized the defendant property from the Toledo Museum of Art (“TMA”), 2445 Monroe Street,Toledo, Ohio 43620, on June 7, 2012. HSI is a component of the United States Immigration andCustoms Enforcement (“ICE”), United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). Byagreement between HSI and TMA, the defendant property remains in the physical possession of TMA for safekeeping.
 
The Kalpis is currently valued by the Italian government at €500,000(approximately $665,435).3. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over an action commenced by theUnited States under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, and over an action for forfeiture under 28 U.S.C. §1355(a).4. This Court has in rem jurisdiction over the defendant properties pursuant to 28U.S.C. § 1355(b)(1)(A), because the acts or omissions giving rise to the forfeiture occurred inthis district; and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355(b)(1)(B), incorporating 28 U.S.C. § 1395, becausethe action accrued, and the defendant property was found, in this district.5. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355(b)(1)(A), because theacts or omissions giving rise to the forfeiture occurred in this district; and pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 1395, because the action accrued, and the defendant property was found, in this district.6. The Court will have control over the defendant property pursuant to the service of an arrest warrant in rem pursuant to Supplemental Rule G(3)(b), which the Plaintiff will executeupon the property pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355(d) and Supplemental Fed. R. Civ. P. G(3)(c).
Case: 3:12-cv-01582 Doc #: 1 Filed: 06/20/12 2 of 10. PageID #: 2
 
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II. BASIS OF FORFEITURE
 7. The United States repeats and re-alleges paragraphs 1-6.8. Under 19 U.S.C. § 1595a(c)(1)(A), merchandise may be seized and forfeitedwhen it is illegally introduced into the United States and was stolen, smuggled, or clandestinelyimported. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2314, it is illegal for a person to knowingly transport in interstateor foreign commerce any merchandise which has been stolen, converted or taken by fraud.9. The defendant property constitutes stolen merchandise that was transported ininterstate or foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314, and is subject to forfeiture asmerchandise illegally introduced into the United States, under 19 U.S.C. § 1595a(c)(1)(A).
III. FORFEITURE COUNT
 10. The United States repeats and re-alleges paragraphs 1-9.11. In approximately January 2010, the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, Italy, initiated acultural property investigation, regarding the defendant property. This investigation resultedfrom a request for assistance from the Italian Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (“TPC”)Operation Unit in Rome.12. The defendant property was identified by the TPC as a Terracotta “EtruscanBlack-Figured Kalpis,” circa 510-500 B.C., attributable to the Micali Painter who operated atVulci, Italy, at the end of the 6th Century B.C. The TPC and HSI determined that the defendantproperty was located at TMA, and HSI Special Agent (“SA”) Douglas E. Bort was assigned byHSI to serve as the lead local investigator.13. The defendant property came to the attention of Italian authorities in connectionwith an Italian criminal investigation of Giacomo Medici, an Italian citizen, who was suspectedof purchasing and then exporting antiquities that were illegally excavated from Italy.
Case: 3:12-cv-01582 Doc #: 1 Filed: 06/20/12 3 of 10. PageID #: 3

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