Author: Stefan Cassella

Application for Warrant to Seize Russian Oligarch’s Yacht

In this application for a seizure warrant, an FBI agent explains the basis for seizing a yacht owned by a Russian oligarch on the ground that in evading sanctions imposed under IEEPA to pay for the maintenance of the vessel, the owner committed bank fraud, IEEPA and money laundering offenses, and that the yacht is […]

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Seizure of Russian Oligarch’s Yacht

This is a summary and comment on the seizure of a yacht owned by Viktor Vekselberg, a sanctioned Russian Oligarch, on the ground that it constitutes the proceeds of bank fraud and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and constitutes property involved in an international money laundering offense.  The article, excerpted from […]

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NCB (Civil) Forfeiture in Malta

This is the lecture outline used by Stef Cassella to train judges and prosecutors in Malta on the application of the non-conviction-based forfeiture provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act in March 2022. NCB Forfeiture in Malta

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Testimony on Civil Forfeiture Before the Civil Rights Commission

The following is a transcript of the testimony of Stef Cassella before the South Carolina Civil Rights Commission on the use of the civil forfeiture laws.  The testimony explains how civil forfeiture works, gives examples of when it is used, and addresses the criticism that it is lacking in due process and is unfairly applied […]

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TV Interview on Forfeiture of Russian Assets

This is a clip from an interview on March 3, 2022 concerning the use of the forfeiture laws to recover the assets of Russian oligarchs in response to the invasion of Ukraine.  

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Judge Jackson on Asset Forfeiture

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Biden, has written two significant opinions on federal asset forfeiture law.  One discusses the Government’s ability to obtain a forfeiture money judgment equal to the value of property used to facilitate a drug offense when that property is not available for forfeiture.  The other […]

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Cambridge 2021 Symposium

I had the privilege of making six presentations at the 2021 Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime.  In four of them, I used PowerPoint presentations.  In response to requests for copies of those presentations, I am posting them here. Workshop 20 – Non-Conviction-Based Forfeiture Cassella — Session 12 – Trade-Based Money Laundering Cassella – Session […]

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Forfeiture and Money Laundering Training for Law Enforcement Agents

This 90-page lecture outline was provided to law enforcement agents as part of their training on asset forfeiture and money laundering.  It was presented at a training seminar for the United States Secret Service in Charleston, SC on July 28, 2021. With respect to forfeiture, it begins with an overview of why asset forfeiture is […]

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Using Civil Forfeiture to Seize Cryptocurrency

As the seizure in May 2021 of the bitcoins used to pay the ransom in the Colonial Pipeline case makes clear, civil forfeiture is the vehicle that allows the Government to recover such property when the perpetrators remain unknown or abroad.  This article from several years ago by AUSA Shirley Emehelu (D.N.J.) explains how cryptocurrencies […]

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Seizure of Bitcoin in Ransomware / Colonial Pipeline Case

The Government used the civil forfeiture laws to seize 67.3 bitcoin, valued at over $2 million, that was traceable to the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline in the May 2021 ransomware case.   The following are the warrant and probable cause affidavit showing how the FBI traced the ransom payment using blockchain analysis. Colonial Pipeline Affidavit […]

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