Today, the Department of Justice announced a change to the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), effective immediately, which will allow federal law enforcement agencies to advertise certain public forfeiture notices online, at a reduced cost, at www.forfeiture.gov. This will save approximately $6.2 million each year in administrative costs. Those savings will remain in the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund and be used to fight fraud, drug trafficking and violent crime.
Traditionally, law enforcement agencies have published public forfeiture notices in newspapers. Starting in 2007, the department began advertising public forfeiture notices that were part of judicial proceedings on the Internet. This saved approximately $1.5 million per year.
The department will now begin also advertising administrative forfeiture notices online as well. These are notices that do not require judicial involvement. Because of the volume of administrative forfeiture notices, the department expects savings to increase fivefold, for a combined total savings of $7.7 million per year.
Taxpayers deserve to know that we’re using their money responsibly, and by lowering administrative costs, the department can focus more resources towards protecting Americans and upholding our nation’s laws. Today’s change simplifies the notification process and increases the availability of information, ensuring that more of the ill-gotten gains from criminal activities will be available to fight crime.
The department currently offers the benefits of this online platform to other federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Secret Service. By expanding this program to even more agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, we can save additional taxpayer dollars.
This initiative is part of Attorney General Eric Holder’s SAVE Council, which was established in July 2010 to direct and oversee efforts to identify and implement best practices for saving taxpayer money, realizing efficiencies and monitoring the department’s savings progress.
For more information about the Attorney General’s SAVE Council, visit http://www.justice.gov/ag/save-council.html.