IV. Agency Budget Summaries
ASSETS FORFEITURE FUND
- RESOURCE SUMMARY
- All Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Funds are 100 percent drug-related.
- The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 established the Justice Department's Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF), into which forfeited cash and the proceeds of the sale of forfeited properties are deposited. Most assets are forfeited because they were used in or acquired as a result of, violations of racketeering, money laundering, or drug trafficking statutes.
- Until December 1994, the fund was administered by the Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture, Office of the Deputy Attorney General. Since that time, that fund has been administered by the Asset Forfeiture Management Staff, Justice Management Division.
- The AFF supports Goal 2, "Increase the safety of America's citizens by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence" and Goal 5, "Break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply" of the National Drug Control Strategy. The AFF funds may be used for several purposes:
- Asset Management Expenses. These include expenses incurred in connection with the seizure, inventory, appraisal, packaging, movement, storage, maintenance, security, and disposition (including destruction) of assets.
- Other Asset Specific Expenses. These include case-specific expenses incurred in connection with normal proceedings undertaken to perfect the United States' interest in seized property through forfeiture. Such expenses include fees and other costs of advertising, translation, court reporting, expert witness fees, courtroom exhibit services, travel, and subsistence related to a specific proceeding, and other related items. Also included are payments of qualified third party interests, such as expenses incurred in the payment of valid liens, mortgages, and ownership interests pursuant to court order or a favorable ruling on a petition for remission or mitigation of the forfeiture.
- Equitable Sharing Payments. These include distributions of the net proceeds (after recovering direct costs) of forfeitures to foreign governments and to state and local law enforcement agencies in proportion to the degree of their direct participation in the law enforcement effort that resulted in the forfeiture.
- Program Management Expenses. These include expenses incurred in carrying out forfeiture program responsibilities that are not related to any one specific asset or to any one specific seizure or forfeiture (e.g., audits and evaluations). Also included are expenses of forfeiture related automated data processing; contracting for services directly related to the processing of and accounting for assets and forfeiture cases; forfeiture-related printing and graphic services; asset seizure and forfeiture training; the storage, protection, and destruction of controlled substances; and contracting for services directly related to the identification of forfeitable assets.
- Investigative Expenses. These include certain specific expenses incurred in support of, or in furtherance of criminal investigations. Current authorities provide (1) awards for information or assistance directly related to violations of the criminal drug laws of the United States or of Sections 1956 and 1957 of Title 18, Sections 5313 and 5324 of Title 31, and Section 6050I of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or leading to a civil or criminal forfeiture by any Federal agency participating in the Fund; (2) purchases of evidence of any violation of the controlled Substances Act, the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, RICO, or 18 U.S.C. 1956 and 1957; and (3) equipping of conveyances for law enforcement functions.
- Other Uses. These include payments under the permanent indefinite portion of the fund for overtime salaries, travel, fuel, training, equipment, and similar costs incurred by state or local law enforcement officers in a joint law enforcement operation with a Federal law enforcement agency participating in the fund.
- Transfers to Other Accounts. These reflect the transfer to other accounts of proceeds in excess of the amounts required for the above activities. Congress provided for excess funds, if any, to be transferred to the Bureau of Prisons (1988-1989), the U.S. Attorneys (1989), and the Special Forfeiture Fund (1990-1997). Title 28 U.S.C. 524(c)(8)(E) provides for the use of any remaining excess balance by the Attorney General for any federal law enforcement, litigative/prosecutive, and correctional activities, or any other authorized purpose of the Department of Justice.
- The FY 1998 level totals $416 million, which includes $23 million in definite authority and $393 million in permanent indefinite authority. In addition, $72.7 million in unobligated Super Surplus funds in FY 1998 have not be allocated, and therefore, that portion (if any) that would be applied to drug control programs is not known. For that reason, funding from that source is not included in the above drug control resource summary table.
- The FY 1998 program level includes $410 million for state and local assistance, investigative and prosecution activities in support of Goal 2 of the National Drug Control Strategy and $6 million for investigative and prosecution activities, as well as for international drug-trafficking activities which support Goal 5 of the Strategy.
- Deposits to the fund are estimated at $418 million for FY 1998, including interest earned on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) balances ($2 million) which is not available for general operations of the Fund. Though this estimate represents a decrease of $27.6 million from FY 1997 receipts of $445.6 million, receipts to the AFF continue to remain above the FY 1996 level of $334.1 million.
- Equitable sharing with foreign, state, and local governments is expected to be $196 million in FY 1998, approximately 46.8 percent of the total deposits to the fund.
- The FY 1999 drug control budget request totals $430 million, an increase of $14 million over FY 1998 levels. The $14 million increase is in the permanent indefinite part of the fund. The funding increase will result in larger allocations to federal law enforcement agencies for investigative expenses, including award payments.
- Included in the FY 1999 $430 million request is $23 million in definite authority and $407 million in permanent indefinite authority. The drug control request resource distribution includes $419.6 million for Goal 2 activities and $10.4 million to support Goal 5 activities.
- Based on current projections, receipts to the Fund in FY 1999 will be $440 million, including interest earned on the BCCI balances ($10 million) which is not available for general operations of the Fund.
- At the end of 1997, a total of 27,659 seized assets were on hand, including $612.6 million on deposit in the Seized Asset Deposit Fund, $49 million in cash seizures not on deposit, 1,505 real properties valued at $202.7 million, 21 businesses valued at $6.2 million, and 16,539 other assets with an estimated value of $311.5 million.