2004 Florida Statutes
(1) Any circuit court may, after making due provision for the rights of innocent persons, enjoin violations of the provisions of s. 895.03 by issuing appropriate orders and judgments, including, but not limited to:
(a) Ordering any defendant to divest himself or herself of any interest in any enterprise, including real property.
(b) Imposing reasonable restrictions upon the future activities or investments of any defendant, including, but not limited to, prohibiting any defendant from engaging in the same type of endeavor as the enterprise in which the defendant was engaged in violation of the provisions of s. 895.03
(c) Ordering the dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise.
(d) Ordering the suspension or revocation of a license, permit, or prior approval granted to any enterprise by any agency of the state.
(e) Ordering the forfeiture of the charter of a corporation organized under the laws of the state, or the revocation of a certificate authorizing a foreign corporation to conduct business within the state, upon finding that the board of directors or a managerial agent acting on behalf of the corporation, in conducting the affairs of the corporation, has authorized or engaged in conduct in violation of s. 895.03 and that, for the prevention of future criminal activity, the public interest requires the charter of the corporation forfeited and the corporation dissolved or the certificate revoked.
(2)(a) All property, real or personal, including money, used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 895.01-895.05 is subject to civil forfeiture to the state.
(b) Upon the entry of a final judgment of forfeiture in favor of the state, the title of the state to the forfeited property shall relate back:
1. In the case of real property or a beneficial interest, to the date of filing of the RICO lien notice in the official records of the county where the real property or beneficial trust is located; if no RICO lien notice is filed, then to the date of the filing of any notice of lis pendens under s. 895.07(5)(a) in the official records of the county where the real property or beneficial interest is located; and if no RICO lien notice or notice of lis pendens is filed, then to the date of recording of the final judgment of forfeiture in the official records of the county where the real property or beneficial interest is located.
2. In the case of personal property, to the date the personal property was seized by the investigating agency.
If property subject to forfeiture is conveyed, alienated, disposed of, or otherwise rendered unavailable for forfeiture after the filing of a RICO lien notice or after the filing of a civil proceeding or criminal proceeding, whichever is earlier, the investigative agency may, on behalf of the state, institute an action in any circuit court against the person named in the RICO lien notice or the defendant in the civil proceeding or criminal proceeding, and the court shall enter final judgment against the person named in the RICO lien notice or the defendant in the civil proceeding or criminal proceeding in an amount equal to the fair market value of the property, together with investigative costs and attorney's fees incurred by the investigative agency in the action. If a civil proceeding is pending, such action shall be filed only in the court where the civil proceeding is pending.
(c) The state shall dispose of all forfeited property as soon as commercially feasible. If property is not exercisable or transferable for value by the state, it shall expire. All forfeitures or dispositions under this section shall be made with due provision for the rights of innocent persons. The proceeds realized from such forfeiture and disposition shall be promptly distributed in accordance with the provisions of s. 895.09
(3) Property subject to forfeiture under this section may be seized by a law enforcement officer upon court process. Seizure without process may be made if:
(a) The seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or search or an inspection under an administrative inspection warrant.
(b) The property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a forfeiture proceeding based upon this section.
(4) In the event of a seizure under subsection (3), a forfeiture proceeding shall be instituted promptly. Property taken or detained under this section shall not be subject to replevin, but is deemed to be in the custody of the law enforcement officer making the seizure, subject only to the order of the court. When property is seized under this section, pending forfeiture and final disposition, the law enforcement officer may:
(a) Place the property under seal.
(b) Remove the property to a place designated by court.
(c) Require another agency authorized by law to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location.
(5) The Department of Legal Affairs, any state attorney, or any state agency having jurisdiction over conduct in violation of a provision of this act may institute civil proceedings under this section. In any action brought under this section, the circuit court shall proceed as soon as practicable to the hearing and determination. Pending final determination, the circuit court may at any time enter such injunctions, prohibitions, or restraining orders, or take such actions, including the acceptance of satisfactory performance bonds, as the court may deem proper.
(6) Any aggrieved person may institute a proceeding under subsection (1). In such proceeding, relief shall be granted in conformity with the principles that govern the granting of injunctive relief from threatened loss or damage in other civil cases, except that no showing of special or irreparable damage to the person shall have to be made. Upon the execution of proper bond against damages for an injunction improvidently granted and a showing of immediate danger of significant loss or damage, a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction may be issued in any such action before a final determination on the merits.
(7) The state, including any of its agencies, instrumentalities, subdivisions, or municipalities, if it proves by clear and convincing evidence that it has been injured by reason of any violation of the provisions of s. 895.03, shall have a cause of action for threefold the actual damages sustained and shall also recover attorneys' fees in the trial and appellate courts and costs of investigation and litigation, reasonably incurred. In no event shall punitive damages be awarded. The defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs upon a finding that the claimant raised a claim which was without substantial factual or legal support.
(a) Either party may demand a trial by jury in any civil action brought pursuant to this subsection.
(b) Any prevailing plaintiff under this subsection or s. 772.104 shall have a right or claim to forfeited property or to the proceeds derived therefrom superior to any right or claim the state has in the same property or proceeds.
(8) A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the state in any criminal proceeding under this act or any other criminal proceeding under state law shall estop the defendant in any subsequent civil action or proceeding under this act or under s. 772.104 as to all matters as to which such judgment or decree would be an estoppel as between the parties.
(9) The Department of Legal Affairs may, upon timely application, intervene in any civil action or proceeding brought under subsection (6) or subsection (7) if it certifies that, in its opinion, the action or proceeding is of general public importance. In such action or proceeding, the state shall be entitled to the same relief as if the Department of Legal Affairs had instituted the action or proceeding.
(10) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a criminal or civil action or proceeding under this act may be commenced at any time within 5 years after the conduct in violation of a provision of this act terminates or the cause of action accrues. If a criminal prosecution or civil action or other proceeding is brought, or intervened in, to punish, prevent, or restrain any violation of the provisions of this act, the running of the period of limitations prescribed by this section with respect to any cause of action arising under subsection (6) or subsection (7) which is based in whole or in part upon any matter complained of in any such prosecution, action, or proceeding shall be suspended during the pendency of such prosecution, action, or proceeding and for 2 years following its termination.
(11) The application of one civil remedy under any provision of this act does not preclude the application of any other remedy, civil or criminal, under this act or any other provision of law. Civil remedies under this act are supplemental, and not mutually exclusive.
(12)(a) In addition to the authority to file a RICO lien notice set forth in s. 895.07(1), the Department of Legal Affairs, the Office of Statewide Prosecution, or the office of a state attorney may apply ex parte to a criminal division of a circuit court and, upon petition supported by sworn affidavit, obtain an order authorizing the filing of a RICO lien notice against real property upon a showing of probable cause to believe that the property was used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 895.01-895.05. If the lien notice authorization is granted, the department shall, after filing the lien notice, forthwith provide notice to the owner of the property by one of the following methods:
1. By serving the notice in the manner provided by law for the service of process.
2. By mailing the notice, postage prepaid, by registered or certified mail to the person to be served at his or her last known address and evidence of the delivery.
3. If neither of the foregoing can be accomplished, by posting the notice on the premises.
(b) The owner of the property may move the court to discharge the lien, and such motion shall be set for hearing at the earliest possible time.
(c) The court shall discharge the lien if it finds that there is no probable cause to believe that the property was used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 895.01-895.05 or if it finds that the owner of the property neither knew nor reasonably should have known that the property was used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 895.01-895.05.
(d) No testimony presented by the owner of the property at the hearing is admissible against him or her in any criminal proceeding except in a criminal prosecution for perjury or false statement, nor shall such testimony constitute a waiver of the owner's constitutional right against self-incrimination.
(e) A lien notice secured under the provisions of this subsection is valid for a period of 90 days from the date the court granted authorization, which period may be extended for an additional 90 days by the court for good cause shown, unless a civil proceeding is instituted under this section and a lien notice is filed under s. 895.07, in which event the term of the lien notice is governed by s. 895.08
(f) The filing of a lien notice, whether or not subsequently discharged or otherwise lifted, shall constitute notice to the owner and knowledge by the owner that the property was used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 895.01-895.05, such that lack of such notice and knowledge shall not be a defense in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding under this chapter.
History.--s. 5, ch. 77-334; s. 301, ch. 79-400; s. 2, ch. 81-141; s. 1, ch. 84-38; s. 5, ch. 84-249; s. 6, ch. 86-277; s. 3, ch. 87-139; s. 5, ch. 90-269; s. 76, ch. 95-211; s. 1447, ch. 97-102.
Note.--Former s. 943.464.