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Understanding Forfeitures

Understanding Forfeitures: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Case Details and Forfeiture Among TEOAF High-Forfeiture and Major Cases

Amy Richardson
Noreen Clancy
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 70
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  • Book Info
    Understanding Forfeitures
    Book Description:

    The Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture (TEOAF) administers the Treasury Forfeiture Fund (TFF), which receives deposits of nontax forfeitures made by current and former Treasury agencies. Participating agencies use TFF funds to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises. This report examines the relationship between targeted funding support of major financial investigations and the forfeiture outcomes of such investigations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4867-7
    Subjects: Law, Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The Treasury Forfeiture Fund (TFF) receives the nontax-forfeiture deposits from agencies that are currently, or were historically, part of the U.S. Treasury. Assets that are forfeited due to criminal activity are deposited into the TFF.¹ Funds from the TFF are reinvested back into the agencies contributing to the TFF to support future investigations that may lead to additional forfeitures. The crimes that, when successfully prosecuted, fuel the fund are at the heart of many of today’s societal scourges—drug trafficking, money laundering, smuggling of undocumented immigrants, identity theft, and organized crime. High levels of forfeiture from the prosecution of these...

  10. CHAPTER TWO High-Forfeiture Cases
    (pp. 7-20)

    TEOAF evaluates its success, and the success of the cases that deposit into the TFF, primarily by the level of forfeiture. TEOAF also recognizes that some of the cases it funds may not result in large forfeitures but still further the cause of justice through other means, such as preventing distortions to the U.S. monetary system (e.g., counterfeiting cases) or high-profile cases that send strong policy signals and have a deterrent effect (e.g., the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, case).¹ Yet, all other things being equal, a higher-forfeiture case is preferred as a more punitive case and one that...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Major Cases
    (pp. 21-32)

    The major-case funding initiative was established in 2002 to provide a mechanism for additional support for investigations conducted by agencies that participate in the TFF that are anticipated to be high in forfeiture. Many high-forfeiture cases do not require additional funding: Their costs are fully borne by the agencies conducting the investigation. But in other cases, the investigation requires additional funding to fill a specific need for which resources are not available. For example, agents may need to travel internationally to obtain evidence or conduct interviews, but the field office budget cannot absorb that cost. Alternatively, an investigation may require...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Recommendations for Major-Case Funding
    (pp. 33-38)

    Major-case funding appears to be serving the purpose for which it is intended: supporting the investigations of cases that are likely to be relatively high in forfeiture. TEOAF anticipates that there is a risk associated with the cases it funds and that not all will produce forfeiture. From the sample of cases examined for this analysis, three IRS-CI major cases did not produce forfeiture. For one IRS-CI case and one USSS case, it is too soon to tell whether they will produce forfeiture.

    The quantitative analysis presented in Chapters Two and Three was supplemented by interviews with agents from IRS-CI...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Tracking Future Major Cases Through a Database
    (pp. 39-40)

    We developed a prototype database that connects case information with funding and forfeiture information using the data collected from IRS-CI and the USSS on a sample of high-forfeiture cases that closed between 2002 and 2006. These same data were the basis for the analyses in Chapters Two and Three, where we examined whether certain variables correlated well with certain outcomes. Previously, TEOAF has reviewed details of the cases it has funded, including expenditures and resulting forfeitures, but has not tracked that information in a systematic fashion.

    The prototype database currently includes case information on high-forfeiture cases and cases funded through...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion
    (pp. 41-42)

    Major-case funding appears to be serving the purpose for which it was intended—to provide discretionary funds to support significant investigations with forfeiture potential. Most agents whom we interviewed reported that major-case funding provided greater resource flexibility as they investigated cases and believed that the funding had been critical to the success of the case. Our analysis also suggests that major-case funding is associated with higher forfeitures. From our relatively small sample of high-forfeiture cases examined, those receiving major-case funding produced higher forfeiture values than those that received other types of TEOAF funds. In addition, the major cases that we...

  15. APPENDIX A Interview Guide
    (pp. 43-46)
  16. APPENDIX B Analytic Framework
    (pp. 47-50)
  17. References
    (pp. 51-52)