Here’s a lottery scam with a happy ending.
In February of last year, a retired Seattle man sent $20,000 in a FedEx package to an address in Broward County, with the hope of collecting millions in winnings.
But federal agents, working with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, seized the cash at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The feds suspected the money was from drug-trafficking profits because the 200 $100 bills were wrapped in rubber bands, not in bank wrappers. A narcotics-sniffing dog named Boomer had alerted agents to the package, “indicating the currency was in recent close contact with illegal narcotics,” a federal complaint said.
In April 2012, the Seattle man, David L. Uhlman, told the Drug Enforcement Administration that the cash belonged to him and he had no involvement in drug trafficking. No way, agents responded. So federal prosecutors went to court to take it from him.
And Uhlman got a lawyer. This week, Miami attorney Jeffrey Weiner pulled off no small feat: He persuaded the U.S. attorney’s office to return the cash to his client. Prosecutors also agreed to pay him $5,000 in attorney’s fees. U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas signed the order Wednesday.
“I told them if they didn’t return the money and pay the legal fees, that we were ready for trial,” Weiner said Friday. “They agreed to do the right thing.”