The Asset Forfeiture Division was established in 1993 as an independent Division overseeing all criminal and civil forfeiture litigation in the Southern District of Florida. The mission of the Asset Forfeiture Division is to promote, facilitate, and enforce compliance with the laws of the United States using criminal and civil forfeiture to disrupt and deter criminal activity, to dismantle criminal enterprises, and to separate criminals and their associates from the profits of their illegal activities.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) assigned to the Asset Forfeiture Division assist Criminal Division AUSAs with forfeiture-related issues in criminal prosecutions and have overall responsibility for all issues involving asset forfeiture, including investigations, seizures, and final disposition of assets. Asset Forfeiture Division AUSAs also handle all civil forfeiture matters in the District. The District emphasizes criminal forfeiture and is consistently among the top districts nationwide in judicial forfeiture recoveries. Forfeited funds are used, as permitted by federal law, to support federal, state and local law enforcement activities; and, in appropriate cases, to provide full or partial restoration to victims of criminal activity.
In addition to forfeiting the proceeds and instrumentalities of criminal activities like drug trafficking, healthcare and mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, environmental crimes, and others, the District has forfeited criminal proceeds in a number of foreign jurisdictions, including the Channel Islands; Dominican Republic; Hong Kong; Monaco; and Morocco, to name a few. The Division has also used federal forfeiture laws to recover and return cultural heritage property such as stolen moon rocks, an Egyptian sarcophagus, and pre-Colombian artifacts, on behalf of foreign governments.
Asset Forfeiture Division AUSAs have also taught and lectured about forfeiture and money laundering on behalf of the Department of Justice; Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC); UNDOC and World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative; and other organizations in Argentina, Guatemala, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Nicaragua, Perú, Romania, and Switzerland.