U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz delivered opening remarks to more than 180 law enforcement attendees at the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Training in Boston. The training, put on by the U.S. Attorney’s Office - District of Massachusetts, educated law enforcement professionals in federal asset forfeiture, money laundering, and emerging technology for investigations in the field.
Good morning and welcome to today’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Training.
As many of you are aware, uncovering assets during an investigation and charging defendants for concealing the source of those assets can be complex and time consuming. Following the money trail isn’t usually easy and often requires a certain skill set and patience.
Asset forfeiture and money laundering investigations are important enforcement tools that can be used against a wide spectrum of crimes including drug trafficking, gaming, public corruption and a whole host of fraud schemes, including health care fraud and mortgage fraud.
The truth of the matter is that the asset forfeiture statutes take away the driving incentive for most criminals – money. Whether it is white collar crime, violent crime or terrorism related crime, money is the common denominator and driving force behind many of these crimes.
I think it goes without saying that forfeiture is a critical tool from a prosecutorial perspective. For that reason, it is the practice and policy of my office to review each and every criminal case for forfeiture potential in order to maximize the use of the statutes.
In addition, the forfeiture unit brings civil forfeiture actions against property that cannot be forfeited through a federal criminal action. These types of cases are initiated for a variety of reasons including seizing assets so that they are not dissipated prior to the filing of a federal indictment, or may be done by federal agency adoption of cases from our state and local partners. Many of which are present at today’s training.
All in all, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has had enormous success in forfeitures. In the past five years, our office has forfeited more than $245 million in assets.
These figures represent forfeitures with many different federal agencies including the DEA, FBI, FDA, U.S. Postal, IRS, ICE, U.S. Secret Service, ATF and NOAA.
These figures also represent forfeiture work that involved our state and local partners. In fact, over the past five years, through the equitable sharing program (which you will hear more about today), more than $44 million has been distributed to dozens of our law enforcement partners.
Clearly, it is the partnership between the United States Attorney’s Office and all of you that enabled us to obtain these significant results and I want to applaud your efforts.
Staying one step ahead of the criminal element requires us to be current and trained on the latest technology and methods. For our state and local partners today, we hope this training will be particularly helpful to you in light of the new state money laundering statute which was passed last November.
On behalf of the United States Attorney’s Office and its Asset Forfeiture Unit, thank you for your hard work, your continued efforts and your attendance at today’s training.
For the agenda, visit: http://go.usa.gov/rhHB