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

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.