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Asset Forfeiture
 


Asset Forfeiture Home Page

The FBI's Asset Forfeiture/Victim Witness Unit combines two important missions. The Asset Forfeiture Program promotes the use of asset forfeiture as a tool to dismantle criminal organizations. On the other side, the Victim Witness Program exists to assist victims and witnesses in FBI cases who have suffered direct or threatened harm as a result of a crime.

Many criminals are motivated by greed and the acquisition of material goods. Therefore, the ability of the government to forfeit property connected with criminal activity can be an effective law enforcement tool by reducing the incentive for illegal conduct. Asset forfeiture" takes the profit out of crime" by helping to eliminate the ability of the offender to command resources necessary to continue illegal activities.

The use of asset forfeiture in criminal investigations aims to undermine the economic infrastructure of the criminal enterprise. Criminal enterprises in many ways mirror legitimate businesses. They require employees, equipment, and cash flow to operate. Criminal enterprises also generate a profit from the sale of their "product" or "services." The obvious difference is that the profit generated from criminal enterprises is derived from criminal
activity. Asset forfeiture can remove the tools, equipment, cash flow, profit, and, sometimes, the product itself, from the criminals and the criminal organization, rendering the criminal organization powerless to operate.

To accomplish its goals, the Asset Forfeiture/Victim Unit provides training, resources, and operational assistance to Field Offices and entities in FBI Headquarters to ensure that asset forfeiture is incorporated into as many investigations as possible, where appropriate and allowed by law, to deter criminal activity and dismantle criminal enterprises. The Asset Forfeiture/Victim Witness Unit is the point of contact with the Department of Justice and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies pertaining to the use of asset forfeiture in FBI investigations.

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Asset Forfeiture Home Page