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John Wiley Price’s Attorney: Forfeiture Case Is A Sham

The lawyer for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price calls the government’s forfeiture case against Price “nothing more than a sham or a ruse” to gather more evidence for a criminal investigation.

Yesterday, Price’s attorney Billy Ravkind filed his response to the government’s move to seize a large amount of money, including $200,000 in cash found in a safe during an FBI raid on Price’s home.

Price and his assistant Dapheny Fain are under investigation for alleged bankruptcy fraud, bribery and money laundering. Fain is also part of the forfeiture case. She claims half of the money in the safe.

Fain’s attorney, Tom Mills says a forfeiture case before anyone has been indicted and before a criminal trial is unusual – but legal.

“They’re going to try to get as much discovery as they can before they go to the grand jury for indictment,” said Mills. “That’s the play. That’s what’s happening.”

Federal investigators routinely decline comment on active cases. In court filings, the government claims the money was the result of a criminal enterprise and should be seized. Attorneys for Price and Fain say the money was from legitimate business dealings.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.