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Articles Posted in Civil asset forfeiture

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pexels-pixabay-259027-300x200A civil forfeiture complaint involving $1,047,535 seized by police from a money mule bank has been filed before the court in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, alleged that said money was acquired through a fraudulent transaction called business email compromise scheme, or BEC, made by Boyang Group, Inc. The company that was defrauded of millions of dollars by Boyang Group is reportedly based in the Virgin Islands.

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pexels-andre-furtado-3989612-300x200Drug money seized from a DEA task force investigation will fund five of Lockport Police Department’s in-car camera equipment, news sources report. The amount of money recovered throughout the area totals $23,363.43–half of which the City Council approved to be allocated for Lockport’s capital budget.

The forfeiture amount will cover the purchase of two advanced camera equipment per vehicle: placed in front and the rear to simultaneously record settings in addition to a police officer’s body cam. It is said to have night-vision technology suitable for reading license plates in the dark. While the remaining portion of the funds will be allocated for the purchase of new desks and chairs in LPD’s briefing room.

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Police officer In yet another case of police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws, the office of the Michigan State Attorney General announced last week the filing of seven felony charges against a former police officer for his alleged embezzlement of $68,000 in asset forfeiture funds. The case has renewed calls to reform the existing civil asset forfeiture laws and stop the current practice of seizing civil assets for profit in the guise of fighting crime.

Sean Boucher, 45, was a detective at the Hazel Park Police Department when he allegedly used profits from seized civil assets as a personal enterprise between 2013 to 2017. He resigned from service in September 2017. Before resigning, he was originally put under administrative leave and then suspended by the police department a day later.

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AirpoOn February 3rd, a woman in Detroit Metropolitan Airport outbound for Amsterdam was caught smuggling $60,000 worth of cash, news sources report. U.S Customs and Border Protection seized the money and held the woman under custody. According to a CBP spokesperson, the passenger is not facing any allegations. It is not known whether the woman has retained a civil asset forfeiture attorney.

The passenger was said to initially have declared $1,000 with the CBP officers. However, upon inspection of the woman’s luggage, envelopes of cash were hidden in a package of sanitary pads. Although reasons behind the woman’s choice to hide the cash are not known, suspected illicit behavior alone legally allows U.S Customs and Border Protection officers to seize large amounts of undeclared cash.

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annie-spratt-E9NE0qcq74k-unsplash-300x225The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) announced that they collected approximately $242,000,000 in criminal, civil, and assets forfeiture. In the figures provided by EDVA, 86% of the $242,000,000 are from civil forfeitures.

Virginia earned a D- for its civil forfeiture laws in a recent national review. Besides a low standard of proof, the burden of proving innocence heavily resides on the property owners in this state. The law enforcement agency is also allowed to retain 100% of the confiscated proceeds; 90% goes to the participating agency, and the remaining 10% is to the Department of Criminal Justice Service. Although the law intends to prevent possible crimes, this “policing for profit” aspect may distort the priorities of the police officers.

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