Care and Disposal of Forfeited Conveyances by Law Enforcement Agencies

Gao ID: 122596 October 14, 1983

GAO discussed before a congressional subcommittee the care and disposal of conveyances seized by Federal law enforcement agencies. As of April 1982 there were over 4500 conveyances, valued at $82.1 million, being held by seven law enforcement agencies. Seized conveyances devalue while awaiting forfeiture because of inadequate care and maintenance. GAO believes that, while some of the devaluation can be attributed to changing market conditions, the poor condition of the vehicles being held and ineffective sales practices are the major contributors to devaluation. The forfeiture process is time-consuming and revision or removal of the $10,000 limit on administrative forfeitures might be advisable. GAO suggested that improvements be made in the funding process for care and protection of forfeited conveyances, including the creation of a special fund for such maintenance from the sales proceeds of all forfeited conveyances. Agencies frequently retain seized vehicles for their own use, despite the fact that the conveyances do not always meet agency needs and that use of the proposed special fund could obviate the need for such "forcefitting," in addition to providing better congressional oversight of such activities. GAO believes that better management information is needed on agency seizures because most agencies rely on manual records of seizure actions.

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