Skip to main content

Primary tabs

Criminal Resource Manual

1651. Protection Of Government Property -- Seized Property

Property seized by the United States is protected by 18 U.S.C. §  641. See United States v. Gordon, 638 F.2d 886 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 452 U.S. 909 (1981). If the property has been seized but not removed, 18 U.S.C. § 641 still applies under the theory that forfeiture actually occurred at the time the criminal act was committed. See Roma v. United States, 53 F.2d 1007 (7th Cir. 1931). Contra, Patmore v. United States, 1 F.2d 8 (6th Cir. 1924). Once the property has been taken into the custody of the United States "possession is sufficient evidence of title." See United States v. Gardner, 42 F. 829, 832 (N.D.N.Y. 1890). In the case of property seized under a revenue law, "a forcible retaking of property out of the hands of officers of the law who have it in legal custody" would also be a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2233. See also United States v. Ford, 33 F. 861, 863 (W.D.N.C. 1887); 26 U.S.C. §  7212(a) and (b). Causing injury to or removing property in order to prevent seizure under a revenue law would be a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2232. See also 10 U.S.C. § 7678.

[cited in USAM 9-66.200]