To make sure that crime does not pay, federal law allows the forfeiture of property used to facilitate crimes or those assets which are obtained through ill-gotten gains. Forfeiture proceedings can be pursued either with criminal charges or through civil means. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee works with our federal law enforcement agency partners to identify, seize, and forfeit property in an effective and powerful strategy in the fight against crime as part of the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture program. Some examples of the ways in which our office has successfully used forfeiture as a tool include:
Dr. Raymond Sean Brown, of McDonald, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to using misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud Medicare. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit $6.765 million U.S. currency seized from his bank accounts in December 2012, and pay an additional $717,000 in cash.
- James Michael West and several co-defendants were convicted in Knoxville of their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. As a result, numerous residential and commercial properties, having a collective value in the millions of dollars, were forfeited by the United States. Included were recently renovated properties in the historic Market Square Mall area of downtown Knoxville.
- Morris Roller and Jeffory Carl Young were convicted in Chattanooga for their role in a marijuana conspiracy. This conviction resulted in the forfeiture of ten parcels of real property in Cannon County with a resale value of more than $1.2 million. Eight of the ten properties forfeited are in the process of being transferred to the State of Tennessee for public use as part of a land trust in accordance with the law which authorizes the Attorney General to transfer forfeited property to a state if appropriate.
For more information on the national asset forfeiture program visit http://www.justice.gov/jmd/afp.