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Asset Forfeiture by U.S. Marshals

Did you know that the United States Marshals Service has an Asset Forfeiture Division? The Asset Forfeiture Program was intended to combat criminal activity by disrupting illegal enterprises, depriving criminals of the proceeds of illegal activity, and deterring crime. Many complain that the program invites corruption by federal agents.

The U.S. Marshals Service plays a role in identifying and evaluating assets forfeited by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The agency also manages and disposes of the majority of the property seized for forfeiture. For this reason, the United States Marshals Service acts as the primary custodian of seized property for the program.

The types of property subject to civil asset forfeiture proceedings might include e:

  • cash
  • financial instruments
  • real estate
  • commercial businesses
  • vehicles
  • jewelry
  • art
  • antiques
  • collectibles
  • vessels
  • aircraft

As of September 30, 2020, the Asset Forfeiture Division of the United States Marshals Service estimates having more than 19,000 assets valued at more than $2.78 billion. In fiscal year 2020, more than $246 million was shared with participating state and local law enforcement agencies.

Created in 1984, the Asset Forfeiture Program is governed by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act. In addition to the U.S. Marshals Service, other participants include:

  • Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Department of Justice Criminal Division;
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF);
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI);
  • U.S. Attorneys’ Offices;
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPS);
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
  • Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General;
  • Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security; and
  • Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

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