Blog

How Does the Government Use Civil Forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture is portrayed by its critics as a heavy-handed tool that state and local police departments use to take small amounts of money from motorists and others without due process of law.  This view has produced, in its latest incarnation, something called the FAIR Act, H.R. 1525, a bill to hobble the government’s ability […]

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Confiscation: Hurdles and Best Practices

This lecture was presented as part of a training program for prosecutors and judges in Tallinn, Estonia on March 30, 2023.  It covers four topics: why is it important to include the confiscation of assets in a criminal case; what categories of property can be confiscated; what is the procedure for confiscating assets; and how, […]

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Yachts and Airplanes: What Procedures and Legal Theories Are Being Used to Forfeit Russian Assets in the United States?

This is a link to my article, “Yachts and Airplanes: What Procedures and Legal Theories Are Being Used to Forfeit Russian Assets in the United States?,” which was published on Februrary 6, 2023, in Eucrim, the European Criminal Law Associations’ Forum. The article discusses the legal theories federal prosecutors in the United States are using […]

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Anti-Financial Crime Summit — Money Laundering Investigations

On December 6, 2022, I had the opportunity to give a presentation at the Anti-Financial Crime Summit in London.  The presentation focused on the role that financial institutions are called upon to play in criminal money laundering and asset forfeiture investigations in the United States, with special emphasis on the role of correspondent bank accounts.  […]

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The Importance of Non-Conviction-Based Forfeiture as a Law Enforcement Tool

On November 30, 2022, I had the opportunity to make a (virtual) presentation on non-conviction-based asset forfeiture at a conference of criminal prosecutors in Brazil.  The text of my presentation — which discussed the structure and concept of NCB forfeiture, the procedures and due process safeguards that apply, and the instances where it is used […]

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Interview with AMLRightSource

I had an opportunity recently to do an interview with John Byrne of AMLRightSource on the use of criminal and civil asset forfeiture.  The interview (about 25 mins) appears on John’s blog.  This is the link. The interview covers the purposes of forfeiture, how the forfeited property is used, the due process protections built in […]

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Explanation of Non-Conviction-Based Forfeiture – Lisbon Conference

On July 5, 2022, I had the opportunity to give a presentation at a conference in Lisbon, Portugal, sponsored by the Basel Institute for Governance and International Centre for Asset Recovery.  The conference was designed to support the adoption of non-conviction-based forfeiture as a tool for asset recovery in the Portugese-speaking countries including Portugal, Brazil, […]

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Cullen Commission Final Report

The Cullen Commission is an official body in Vancouver, British Columbia, inquiring into the need to enact legislation enhancing the province’s criminal money laundering statutes and related asset forfeiture laws.  In 2021, I submitted a written report to the Commission along with sworn testimony summarizing the money laundering and asset forfeiture laws in the United […]

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Seizure Warrant for Aircraft Owned by Russian Oligarch

On June 6, 2022, a magistrate judge in New York issued warrants to seize two U.S.-manufactured aircraft owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich based on probable cause to believe that they were re-exported from third countries to Russia after February 22, 2022 — the date when the re-export of such items to Russia was prohibited […]

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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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