Fort Wayne Outlaws Forfeiture Case

November 18, 2013

All Posts, News

In what appears to be a test case in the American campaign to outlaw motorcycle clubs, the United States Department of Justice is trying to seize the American Outlaws Association clubhouse in Fort Wayne. The forfeiture attempt is part of a racketeering case filed in July 2012 and titled United States v. Bowser et al.

Civil forfeiture is one of the most potent weapons in the federal arsenal. Forfeiture proceedings are difficult and expensive to fight. Forfeiture may be granted on only a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. The forfeitures are often grossly disproportionate to the alleged crime and the connection between contested property and a convicted person is often tenuous.

For example, in 2008 former Mongols Motorcycle Club president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos agreed to a plea and sentencing agreement in which Cavazos gave the name and insignia of his former motorcycle club to the government. Multiple federal judges in multiple cases ruled that Cavazos couldn’t do that but more than five years later the federal government is still trying to seize the Mongols name and patch.

The Patch Pullings

The proposed Fort Wayne forfeiture results from a plea agreement signed last August by a defendant named Dax G. Shephard.

Shephard confessed that he told other members of the Outlaws that members of the “Iron Coffins Motorcycle Club had been making disparaging comments about the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.” Shephard and several other club members drove to a garage in Butler, Indiana and forcibly took an Iron Coffins patch from one person and took Iron Coffin shirts from two others. According to the confession at least four punches were thrown.

Shephard also confessed to participating in the expulsion from the club of a former Outlaw named Brian Glaze. Glaze had stolen $17,000 from the club. Shephard and others “confronted Glaze about stealing the money from the Outlaws MC treasury” and “instructed Glaze to give him his jewelry, vest, shirts, and belt, all of which contained the OMC logo.” Shephard also watched as a tattoo artist “blacked out many of the OMC tattoos on Glaze’s body. The blacking out of the tattoos caused Glaze to bleed significantly.”

Shephard pled guilty to racketeering and was sentenced last August to 46 months in prison and 60 months of supervised release and was fined $5,000.

The Small Print Taketh Away

Part of the boilerplate in Shephard’s plea deal was a government drafted confession that the Outlaws is a criminal racket and an agreement by Shephard to forfeit his interest in the Outlaws’ clubhouse at the corner of West Main and Cherry streets in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

U.S. Marshalls posted a preliminary motion of forfeiture on the property on October 3rd. On October 29th, officers of the AOO Black Region filed a Petition for Relief from Preliminary Order of Forfeiture with Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt arguing, among other things, that the clubhouse wasn’t Shephard’s to give away. Ten days ago the government filed a counter-motion that asked the judge to ignore the Petition for Relief because it had not been properly signed.

Judge Pratt has not yet ruled on either motion or scheduled a motion hearing on the matter.




12 Responses to “Fort Wayne Outlaws Forfeiture Case”

  1. Meh Says:

    A very old small business technique is to have all property owned by another entity then rented or leased to the actual user. If the business implodes, the other entity owning the land/building/equipment can either be neutral or even a creditor come bankruptcy proceedings.

    IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) so see one for specifics. A compartmented organizational topology may be useful for damage control.

  2. CN Says:

    I guess there’s still MC’s out there who don’t have Club Houses. I can remember one National MC who liked it that way & kept it that way, maybe they still do, I really don’t keep up to speed on them. This same MC didn’t always fly their colors either. You could be at a Road House Tavern full of them and never know it or at a Bike Week and be talking to one and again, not a clue. Their bikes had no insignia and their tarts were below the T Shirt line. It kept them off the public & LEO radar as well as serving as a pretty good intelligence gathering practice. The MC remained strong without the advertising. They weren’t hiding. Funerals & mandatory runs always were for colors, everything else was discretionary. Seemed like a good strategy, still does. Presently, there’s no law against it. Meeting in private homes or back rooms at bars affords flexibility and perplexes LEO and other unwanted attention not to mention cutting down on over head costs. Logistics is the only possible shit part. I’m not a proponent of abandonment of Club Houses. Certainly MC’s have every right to own & fashion where they meet and we’ve all had some pretty righteous times at our Club Houses over the decades. However, should the DHS mentality continue to erode the freedoms we enjoy we can always fall back on the old tried & true ways of years ago. The important thing is that we plan now for what happens next. Being proactive beats reactive heads & antlers every time. What’s happens, what they get away with today with “that other MC” is exactly what’s coming down the road for every other MC once precedent gets set. We must remember that outwitting these government goons really isn’t something we can’t do if we don’t mind sacrificing our comfort for some quick thinking and hard work. The last thing the pigs want to do is any extra work and in some cases we have made it too damned easy for them for far too long. Out smarting halfwits can actually be fun.

  3. Hated and Proud Says:

    After reading Rebels story about the website problems a few days ago, it has dawned on me that yes, is probably the alphabets morning paper. I hope they can see what their actions look like when put in perspective.

    Anyone in a 1%er club should know, that those clubs are NOT criminal organizations, and the fact that the federal government essentially scares you into signing that they are, it will continue to erode our freedoms (Well said CN).

    I was sitting around the other day speaking to other 1%ers, and I asked, how is it that these other clubs have time for that type of bullshit activity they say goes on. between parties, funerals, concerts, toy runs, charity stuff and motorcycle shows/rallies, there is no time for any of that type of activity.

    This case appears to me to have been federally started, meaning i believe there was some alphabet dude that created all this because they wanted to get the Outlaws away from there for some reason, even if they got a clubhouse elsewhere. I am almost positive. I KNOW they do this and have seen it before. Look what happened in Atlanta with whoever D.B.S. was/is.

    As far the the dude that took the cash, if he did it, then so be it. Blacking out tattoos, you should have known that would happen if you went out bad. If no one can trust you, you dont deserve to be trusted by a 1%er club.

  4. Snow Says:

    Support your local OUTLAWS mc
    Fuck the alphabet soup
    Best wishes for the AOA.
    Respect, Snow.

  5. Hated and Proud Says:

    thanks Snow

  6. Sieg Says:

    The FedBacon conceives of, and jumps-off almost 100% of the crimes they later indict good Brothers for. All it takes is for them to get a good hold on one weak link.

    When they took us down, they did it through two “brothers” who had years in, in one case, thirty-plus years. They waved those 10-20-30 year bits at them, and they folded.

    Once they got their rats, the designed a crime. Since none of us were doing anything that would rate more than a misdemeanor prosecution, they designed a crime that would rate a felony, and made sure it happened in two states.

    Since the AOA is a legally incorporated entity, they SHOULD have a hard time seizing the clubhouse, or anyone’s “share” in it. SHOULD. If rule of law is followed, which, since it’s FedBacon, it won’t be.

    I wouldn’t think to tell a club’s lawyers how to do their gig, but I’d bet there is language somewhere in their incorporation dox that basically says “if you leave or break the rules, you get zip”. If that’s the case, the law would be on the O’s side. FWIW.

    Snow, where ya been???

    5 to 1

  7. Snow Says:

    Killing myself to live my friend, hope all’s well in your world.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.
    Much respect, Snow

  8. Sieg Says:

    Snow, it’s all we can do.

    Wish I could say I was staying on Ogden Avenue, but I’m still down in the FedBeast. Get out for a bit a few times a week, and get access to a smart-phone now and then. Out on 1 May, so I am officially short…as I was when I went in! Lost my business, hanging on to my house by a thread, sold off most of my stuff to try to keep it, but it’s all good-one foot in front of the other!

    5 to 1

  9. Snow Says:

    ” One foot in front of the other ” Truer words than most want to accept. Stay strong my friend the bad times always pass in due time, meanwhile, to repeat the words of some of our fellow AGer’s, the bastards can go fuck themselves, eat shit then die.
    Much Respect,

  10. Sieg Says:

    Snow, ya kno Sarge always said “ya don’t hafta think, or worry, or even care, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll end up where yer sposed to be”. Seems to have worked so far!

    WARTHOG does have the true meaning of life nailed-down…FUCK ‘EM ALL.

    Stay well, my friend, and keep it greezy-side down.

    5 to 1

  11. Indiana Biff Says:

    there is an IC prospect on here. what gives

  12. David Says:

    I have met 1%’s and have friends that are 1%’s, some of the best people you will ever meet. They will tell the way it is. I think it is bs the way the government is make them out to be organized crime organizations. I have seen quite a few MC’s raise funds and make donations to help their community.

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