Blog

Does the Excessive Fines Clause Apply to Civil Forfeiture Actions Filed in State Court?

On November 28, 2018, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Timbs v. Indiana, a case in which the Court will decide whether the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment applies to the states in civil asset forfeiture cases.  This article summarizes the facts of the case, the constitutional issue raised, the arguments of counsel, and […]

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Podcast: Asset Forfeiture and AML Compliance

In this podcast, John Byrne of AML Right Source interviews former federal prosecutor Stef Cassella on the use the government makes of the asset forfeiture laws in money laundering and other cases.  The conversation covers the types of cases in which the government uses criminal and non-conviction-based forfeiture, the due process protections that are built […]

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Alternative Approaches to Pursuing and Disrupting Terrorist Financing

This lecture outline discusses the alternative approaches to disrupting terrorist financing, ranging from the criminal prosecution of terrorists coupled with the confiscation of their assets to the non-conviction-based forfeiture of the assets of terrorist organizations.  It highlights both terrorism-specific statutes such as 18 U.S.C. 981(g) as well as other statutes that have been instrumental in […]

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Intro to Money Laundering and Forfeiture for a Foreign Audience

These two lectures introduce the concepts of money laundering and asset forfeiture, as applied under federal law in the United States, to a foreign audience.  They were presented at the seminar on Governance and Anti-Corruption at the International Law Institute in Washington DC on November 7, 2018. Introduction to Money Laundering for a Foreign Audience […]

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The Doctrine of “Unexplained Wealth” and the Confiscation of Criminal Proceeds

These are the lecture notes from a presentation at the 2018 Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime discussing the doctrine of “unexplained wealth” and whether it is appropriate to use it as the basis for the confiscation of assets without other evidence that the person committed a criminal offense and that his property is traceable […]

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Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Updates

This lecture — delivered September 27, 2018 at a law enforcement training conference in Western New York — discusses four recent Supreme Court cases affecting the Government’s ability to enforce the civil and criminal forfeiture laws.  It begins with Honeycutt (the joint and several liability case) and the resulting divergence in the lower courts on how […]

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DIRTY MONEY: An Independent Review of Money Laundering in Lower Mainland Casinos conducted for the Attorney General of British Columbia

The attached 250-page report by our colleague Peter German is an analysis of how casinos in British Colombia were used by international criminal organizations to launder criminal proceeds.  It includes numerous recommendations regarding ways to prevent such exploitation of casino operations in the future. German_Gaming_Final_Report

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Nature and Basic Problems of Non-Conviction-Based Confiscation in the United States

This is a draft of a paper I will present at the conference on the “Prevention, Investigation and Sanctioning of Economic Crime” sponsored by the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg, Germany, June 18-21, 2018.  The paper, entitled, “Nature and Basic Problems of Non-Conviction-Based Confiscation in the United States,” discusses the way that civil, or non-conviction-based, asset […]

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Forfeiture 101 for ATF Counsel

On April 24, 2018, I had the opportunity to give a two-hour introduction to asset forfeiture at the meeting of all ATF counsel in New Orleans.  The first part of the lecture answers three questions: why do forfeiture, what can be forfeited, and what is the procedure for forfeiting property.  The last part is specific […]

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Using Civil Forfeiture in International Cases

In March 2018, I gave two presentations on behalf of the World Bank / UNODC StAR Initiative in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the use of civil (or “non-conviction-based”) asset forfeiture in international cases involving money laundering, fraud, kleptocracy and other offenses.  The first presentation sets forth a series of examples of cases in which non-conviction-based […]

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