Asset Forfeiture

Historical Perspective on Asset Forfeiture Issues Gao ID: T-GGD-96-40 March 19, 1996

As asset forfeiture programs grew during the 1980s, GAO found that property was not being properly cared for after it was seized, resulting in revenue lost to the government when the items were sold. Much has been accomplished in this area since then, but significant problems remain. In addition, the Justice and Treasury Departments continue to run two similar seized asset management and disposal programs despite legislation requiring them to coordinate and consolidate postseizure administration of certain properties. Further, Treasury is establishing a separate asset-tracking system but plans to continue sharing information with Justice. This testimony provides a historical perspective on the programs at Justice and Treasury, including why GAO flagged the programs as "high risk"; discusses problems that were identified; and discusses efforts to solve the problems.

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