Justice Department officials confiscated billions of dollars in private property between 2010 and 2011 “without any judicial involvement” in the decision to make the seizures, according to a new inspector general report.
“The DOJ Criminal Division defines forfeiture as ‘the taking of property derived from a crime, involved in a crime, or that which makes a crime easier to commit or harder to detect without compensating the owner,’ the DOJ inspector general explained in a new report on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s seizures.
In administrative forfeitures, the government has sixty days to notify the owner of the property that it was seized by the government.
“Interested parties have until the date specified in the notice to contest the forfeiture,” the IG adds. “If the forfeiture is not contested, the DEA issues a Declaration of Forfeiture and ownership of the property is transferred to the government.”
If the property owner does contest the administrative forfeiture, “administrative forfeiture proceedings are terminated, and the government has 90 days to proceed with a civil or criminal forfeiture action or return the property and initiate forfeiture action at a later date.”