The Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) leads the Department's asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering enforcement efforts. AFMLS provides leadership by: (1) prosecuting and coordinating complex, sensitive, multi-district, and international money laundering and asset forfeiture investigations and cases; (2) providing legal and policy assistance and training to federal, state, and local prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, as well as to foreign governments; (3) assisting Departmental and interagency policymakers by developing and reviewing legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives; and (4) managing the Department's Asset Forfeiture Program, including distributing forfeited funds and properties to appropriate domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies and to community groups within the United States, as well as adjudicating petitions for remission or mitigation of forfeited assets. To this effect, AFMLS is comprised of five units and associated teams:
The Forfeiture Unit litigates civil forfeiture cases for the Division and, in appropriate cases, in partnership with United States Attorneys' Offices. The Unit also prosecutes professional money launderers with an emphasis on gatekeepers to the financial system such as attorneys and accountants. It also provides support to the Division in cases involving significant or complex criminal forfeiture allegations. The Unit also serves as the Division's experts on domestic forfeiture and, in this role, provides advice to other Division attorneys and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
The International Unit is comprised of two teams. The International Assistance Team assists U.S. prosecutors in the restraint and forfeiture of assets located abroad, litigates in U.S. courts to assist foreign governments seeking restraint and forfeiture of assets in the United States, and authorizes certain actions to forfeit funds held in correspondent accounts. The International Assistance Team also represents the Department in multilateral organizations to raise international standards for combating financial crime and provides technical assistance to foreign governments on legislation, mutual legal assistance, and best practices in anti-money laundering and forfeiture. The Kleptocracy Team is responsible for implementing the Department's Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative through investigation and litigation to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption.
Money Laundering and Bank Integrity Unit
The Money Laundering and Bank Integrity Unit investigates and prosecutes complex, multi-district, and international criminal cases involving financial institutions and individuals who violate the money laundering statutes, the Bank Secrecy Act, and other related statutes. The Unit's prosecutions generally focus on three types of violators: financial institutions, including their officers, managers, and employees, whose actions threaten the integrity of the individual institution or the wider financial system; professional money launderers and gatekeepers who provide their services to serious criminal organizations, e.g., Mexican drug cartels; and individuals and entities engaged in using the latest and most sophisticated money laundering techniques and tools.
Policy and Training Unit
The Policy and Training Unit is comprised of two teams. The Policy Team conducts outreach to USAOs and other components to identify policy issues. They advocate for policy, regulatory, and legislative changes, and develop and implement strategic initiatives to promote the use of forfeiture and money laundering as a fundamental law enforcement tool. They also handle a variety of policy issues involving victims, equitable sharing, real property, intellectual property, and emerging technologies. The Training Team publishes model curriculum for USAOs; offers seminars, conferences, and other training in relevant topic areas; and develops the Section's publications.
Program Operations Unit
Program Operations Unit is responsible for all Remission, Restorations, Adoptions, Real Property transfers, large dollar sharing requests, Sharing program oversight/compliance and assistance in business enterprise/complex asset seizures and forfeitures. Program Operations is also responsible for incoming and outgoing funds control over seized and forfeited proceeds, Claims Administration in large victim pool cases and international asset recovery support to agents, prosecutors and the AFMLS International Unit.