What May Be Financed

(What May Be Financed) "In Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, monies were available under a permanent indefinite appropriation to finance the following:

(1) The operational costs of the forfeiture program, including handling and disposal of seized and forfeited assets, and the execution of legal forfeiture proceedings to perfect the title of the United States in that property.
(2) The payment of innocent third party claims.
(3) The payment of equitable shares to participating foreign governments and state and local law enforcement agencies.

Forfeiture Reform

(Forfeiture Reform) "Forfeiture was especially controversial during the 1980s and 1990s (Hyde, 1995; Levy, 1996), but in 2000, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) (Pub. L. No. 106-185) was passed. One major feature of the legislation was improved: due-process protections for property owners. And before CAFRA in 2000, the burden of proof fell on property owners. This process all changed with CAFRA. CAFRA did not, however, alter the burden of proof for civil forfeiture proceedings.

Justice Department Preference for Federal Forfeiture

"As a general rule, if property is seized as part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation and/or the criminal defendants are being prosecuted in federal court—or it is anticipated that a federal prosecution will be pursued—the forfeiture action should be commenced administratively by a federal agency or pursued in federal court regardless of whether a federal, state, or local agency made the seizure.1

History of Civil Forfeiture

History of Civil Forfeiture: "Unlike a criminal proceeding in which legal action is brought against an individual, in civil forfeiture, the government proceeds against the property directly, as if the property somehow acted to assist in the commission of a crime. It is a scheme based on 18th-century maritime law that permitted courts to obtain jurisdiction over property when it was virtually impossible to obtain jurisdiction over the property owners—pirates, for example—guilty of violating the law.

Funds Forfeited and Held by Government Agencies 2000-2008

"• In 2008, for the first time in history, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF) held more than $1 billion in net assets—that is, money forfeited from property owners and now available for federal law enforcement activities after deducting various expenses. A similar fund at the U.S. Treasury Department held more than $400 million in net assets in 2008. By contrast, in 1986, the year after the AFF was created, it took in just $93.7 million in deposits.

Forfeited Fund Balances

"Total assets, which present as of a specific time the amounts of future economic benefits owned or managed by the AFF/SADF [Assets Forfeiture Fund and Seized Asset Deposit Fund], increased in FY 2008 to $3,120.7 million from $3,056.5 million in FY 2007, an increase of 2.1 percent. If seized assets, which are not yet owned by the government, are backed out, the adjusted assets of the Fund increased to $1,892.2 million in FY 2008 from $1,790.6 million in FY 2007, an increase of 5.7 percent.