GOVERNMENT'S BROAD POWER
Most people are stunned to find out the breadth of the government’s power to forfeit property. What the government may take is practically unlimited. Common items include land, homes, bank accounts, cash, vehicles, boats, computers, antiques, and jewelry. More shocking, is the little evidence the government sometimes has when it commences a forfeiture action. In many cases where the government pursues forfeiture of property there is no crime charged, indeed, there is not even probable cause sufficient to charge a crime.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
In forfeiture proceedings, time is of the essence. It is crucial to respond immediately to the Government's notice. Moreover, it is very important that the response is timely, thorough and precise because the law is designed so that if any requirement is missing the Government prevails.
TWO COMMON TYPES OF FORFEITURE
There are two common types of government asset forfeitures. The first is generally in connection with a criminal investigation or arrest. The authorities find currency or property upon the person arrested or investigated, or they find money or property linked with that person in some way, such as an automobile, house, boat or bank account. They then seize it alleging that it was obtained as a result of an illegal activity, such as money from the sale of narcotics. Or, they may claim that the property was purchased with the proceeds of an illegal activity, such as a home purchased with drug money.
The second common type of forfeiture occurs at airports and border crossings. Federal agents find a person in an airport, or crossing the border with a large amount of cash. There is no evidence to suggest that an independent crime has been committed, like transporting an illegal substance, but find that the amount of currency is so large or unusually wrapped, that they “believe” it must be from an illegal activity or source. The agents then seize the property and issue a “custody receipt” for it. Thereafter, all the government has to do is show a “prima facie case”, i.e. a presumption that illegality is involved, and then the burden shifts to you to prove that the property should be given back.
WE CAN HELP!
Regardless of how your involvement with asset forfeiture began, we at the Law Offices of Omer Rangoonwala, are well-equipped to help you take effective action. There are a number of ways we may be able to retrieve your property. If you did not have knowledge that the property was being used illegally, or if there was no crime committed, you may be entitled to have your property returned. It may also be possible to negotiate a resolution with federal or state prosecutors.
To discuss your situation, contact us at 909-598-3311 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
Civil Asset Forfeiture - Attorney - Lawyer