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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69863 Find in a Library
Title: Statement of Irvin B Nathan, Criminal Division, US Department of Justice on July 24, 1980 Concerning the Forfeiture of Criminal Assets - Before the Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Justice
Author(s): I B Nathan
Corporate Author: US Dept of Justice
Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section
Criminal Division
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20530
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Testimony is offered in support of Department of Justice efforts to obtain forfeiture of the assets of major criminals, particularly those engaged in narcotics trafficking.
Abstract: Incarceration of criminals is not sufficient to immobilize or to reduce the incentive of entrenched criminal organizations, as the immense criminal profits remain available as operating capital. Thus, forfeiture of assets illegally obtained by these individuals and organizations is one essential element of overall law enforcement strategy. Yet the complexity of forfeiture is bound up in the difficult problems of investigation and proof; i.e., ascertaining exactly what assets a potential defendant possesses, connecting particular assets with the criminal activity, indictment which may prematurely warn a defendant of potential forfeiture, proving the case at trial without confusing the jury, and collecting on the judgement of forfeiture. Obtaining forfeitures thus consumes valuable time and resources. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice and the Congress can increase the rate of forfeiture of criminal assets. First, the ability of Federal enforcement personnel to conduct sophisticated financial investigations must be improved and Federal law enforcement agencies must work together (e.g., the IRS, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration). Second, the Federal prosecutorial community must develop the expertise and the will to convert the information produced by completed financial investigations into successful forfeitures. Most Assistant U.S. Attorneys have not aggressively pursued forfeiture. Although the Department of Justice is actively responding to these needy areas, Congress should respond by rewording its statutes which state that the defendant's assets must be somehow directly connected to a particular case; instead the amount of criminal proceeds could be ascertained and any property of the defendant up to that amount would be subject to forfeiture. Finally, Congress should be able to improve abilities to obtain the financial information needed to apply forfeiture laws--as citizen banking privacy laws hinder sufficient investigation--without trespassing on privacy laws.
Index Term(s): Laws and Statutes; Organized crime prevention
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