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The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 established the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund to receive the proceeds of forfeiture and to pay the costs associated with such forfeitures, including the costs of managing and disposing of property, satisfying valid liens, mortgages, and other innocent owner claims, and costs associated with accomplishing the legal forfeiture of the property.

The Attorney General is authorized to use the Assets Forfeiture Fund to pay any necessary expenses associated with forfeiture operations such as property seizure, detention, management, forfeiture, and disposal. The Fund may also be used to finance certain general investigative expenses. These authorized uses are enumerated in 28 U.S.C. §524(c).

Forfeiture Operations Expenses

  1. Asset Management and Disposal
  2. Third-Party Interests
  3. Equitable Sharing Payments
  4. Case-Related Expenses
  5. ADP Equipment
  6. Special Contract Services
  7. Training and Printing
  8. Other Program Operations
  9. Storage, Protection, and Destruction of Controlled Substances
  10. Contracts to Identify Forfeitable Assets
  11. Awards Based on Forfeiture

General Investigative Expenses

  1. Awards for Information
  2. Purchase of Evidence
  3. Equipping of Conveyances
  4. Joint Law Enforcement Operations

Forfeiture Operations Expenses

Forfeiture operation expenses are costs associated with the day-to-day management and execution of the forfeiture program. The majority of costs incurred each year are in direct support of the forfeiture program.

1. Asset Management and Disposal

These are expenses incurred in connection with the seizure, inventory, appraisal, packaging, movement, storage, maintenance, security, and disposition of property (including destruction of contraband). Asset management expenses may also include payment of contract services to operate and manage properties, or provide other specialized services as necessary to manage and/or dispose of such properties. If the asset is currently an operating business, normal and customary expenses for operations are asset management expenses only to the extent they are not covered by business income.

2. Third-Party Interests

These are expenses incurred in payment of valid liens, secured mortgages, return of property interest to qualifying victims, and debts owed to qualified general creditors pursuant to court orders or favorable rulings on petitions for forfeiture remission or mitigation. This includes the restoration of proceeds of sales pursuant to court orders or administrative determinations.

3. Equitable Sharing Payments

These expenses are amounts paid to state and local law enforcement agencies and foreign governments for assistance in forfeiture cases. Equitable sharing payments must reflect the degree of direct participation in law enforcement efforts resulting in forfeiture.

4. Case-Related Expenses

These are expenses incurred in connection with normal forfeiture proceedings. They include fees, advertising costs, court reporting and deposition fees, expert witness fees, courtroom exhibit costs, travel, and subsistence costs related to a specific proceeding. If the case involves real property, the costs to retain attorneys or other specialists under state real property law are also covered. In addition, the Deputy Attorney General may approve expenses for retention of foreign counsel.

5. ADP Equipment

These are expenses for purchasing/leasing automatic data processing equipment utilized primarily for Program-related work.

6. Special Contract Services

These expenses are for contract services that support services directly related to the processing, data entry, and accounting for forfeiture cases.

7. Training and Printing

Expenses for training personnel on any aspect of the federal forfeiture program as well as other training necessary to maintain the competency of federal and contractor personnel dedicated to performing federal forfeiture functions. Printing expenses are to be associated with forfeiture training and performance of forfeiture functions.

8. Other Program Operations

These expenses are incurred for the forfeiture related costs that an office needs to operate, such as supplies, equipment, rent, travel, and other services, e.g., experts and consultants hired to assist in financial, property, or program audits, etc.

9. Storage, Protection, and Destruction of Controlled Substances

These expenses are incurred to store, protect and/or destroy controlled substances.

10. Contracts to Identify Forfeitable Assets

These expenses are incurred in the effort of identifying assets by accessing commercial database services. Also included in this section is the procurement of contractor assistance needed to trace the proceeds of crime into assets subject to forfeiture.

11. Awards Based on Forfeiture

These expenses are for the payment of awards for information or assistance leading to a civil or criminal forfeiture.

General Investigative Expenses

Investigative expenses are payments to reimburse any Federal agency participating in the Fund for investigative costs.

1. Awards for Information

These expenses are for awards for information or assistance directly relating to violations of the criminal drug laws of the United States or of sections 1956 and 1957 of title 18, sections 5313 and 5324 of title 31, and section 6050I of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. There is no requirement that the information provided have any relationship to a civil or criminal forfeiture under federal law.

2. Purchase of Evidence

These expenses are for the purchase of evidence of violations of the Controlled Substances Act, Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), or 18 USC 1956-1957.

3. Equipping of Conveyances

These expenses are incurred to equip, for any law enforcement function, any Government owned or leased conveyance available for official use by federal law enforcement agencies participating in the AFF.

4. Joint Law Enforcement Operations

These expenses are for the various costs incurred by state and local law enforcement officers participating in joint law enforcement operations with a federal agency participating in the Fund.

Updated: May 2013
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