U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg announced this month that the Southern District of Florida, working with partner agencies, collected $232,327,657 in asset forfeiture actions during the 2017 fiscal year.
Moreover, Greenberg’s office collected $81,953,065.05 in criminal and civil actions. Of that amount, $57,410,683.40 was collected in criminal actions and $24,542,381.65 was collected in civil actions, the press release said.
“Through great efforts and diligence, our office was once again able to secure restitution for crime victims and recover monies for the U.S. taxpayers,” Greenberg said. “We work hard not only to protect the people of our great nation, but to ensure that criminals do not profit from their crime. Today’s numbers reflect that the U.S. Attorney’s Office collects substantially more money than it spends, and provides the taxpayers with an excellent return on their investment.”
According to Greenberg, the money collected goes directly to victims of crimes or is spent on various law enforcement purposes. Federal law requires criminals to pay restitution to victims who have suffered financial loss or physical injuries.
“While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs,” according to federal officials.
Asset forfeiture is controversial in many states and is making a huge comeback under the current Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions is seeking to increase federal power over civil asset forfeiture and make the laws stricter and more far-reaching.
“I love that program,” Sessions said. “We had so much fun doing that, taking drug dealers’ money and passing it out to people trying to put drug dealers in jail.”
Only a few U.S. Attorney’s offices have published the amount of money they collected through court and forfeiture actions during the 2017 fiscal year, and all the numbers are staggering:
- The U.S. Attorney’s office for Northern Georgia helped seize more than $154 million in asset forfeiture actions.
- The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of California collected over $65.3 million and seized around $9.2 million in asset forfeiture actions.
- The Vermont U.S. Attorney’s office collected $160.6 million and helped seize $212,691 in asset forfeiture actions.
- The U.S. Attorney’s office in Maine collected 3.3 million and $915,194 in asset forfeiture actions.
Overall, the Justice Department collected over $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year of 2017.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney
If your lawful property has been seized, then you should hire a lawyer. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of Florida’s most experienced civil forfeiture defense attorneys.