H.R. 1795, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives to reform the civil asset forfeiture laws, would reach far beyond the seizures of cash by state and local police that have generated controversy. In fact, it would undermine the Government’s ability to use the only tool available to combat international money laundering, kleptocracy, Russian organized crime, fraud committed by fugitives and foreign nationals, the theft of cultural property, human and wildlife trafficking and many other serious crimes, including terrorist financing. Indeed, in many ways the bill would turn the US into a money laundering “free zone”.
This analysis illustrates the unintended consequences of enacting sweeping forfeiture reform legislation instead of focusing on the narrow problem at hand, and also exposes many of the provisions of the bill as nothing more than “special interest” legislation for the benefit of defense attorneys.