Attorney General's Guidelines on Seized and Forfeited Property


II. Definitions

  1. Adoptive Seizure refers to the federal adoption and forfeiture of property seized exclusively through the efforts of state or local agencies. Investigative bureaus empowered by statute or regulation may adopt such seized property for forfeiture where the conduct giving rise to the seizure is in violation of federal law. Forfeitures of seized property accepted in this manner have the same effect as if the property had originally been seized by the investigative bureau.
  2. Appraised Value means the estimated fair market value at the time of seizure of the same or similar property. For vehicles, this will generally mean the average wholesale value in the N.A.D.A. Appraisal Guides. For personal property, this will generally mean estimated fair market value. For real property, businesses and certain personal property, the value shall be determined by experts qualified to make such determinations.
  3. Cash means currency, negotiable instruments or securities.
  4. Department component refers to agencies, divisions, offices, sections or units of the Department of Justice.
  5. District refers to the federal judicial district.
  6. The Fund refers to the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund as established by 28 U.S.C. § 524(c)(1).
  7. Investigative bureau refers to Department of Justice agencies authorized by federal statute to investigate and enforce forfeiture statutes. These agencies are: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It also refers to other federal agency investigative units whose forfeitures result in deposits into the Fund (e.g., U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms).
  8. Joint investigation means cases in which one or more foreign, state, or local agencies participates in an investigation with a federal law enforcement agency empowered to forfeit property.
  9. Law enforcement means the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity and the execution of court orders arising from such activity.
  10. Net proceeds means the forfeited cash or gross receipts from the sale of forfeited property less allowable asset management and case related expenses, third party interests and any award based on the value of the forfeiture.
  11. Official use means utilization by a law enforcement agency in the direct performance of law enforcement activities.
  12. Property means tangible personal and real property, other than cash, when used in the context of the equitable transfer of property.
  13. Seized Asset Deposit Fund refers to the holding account administered by the U.S. Marshals Service for seized cash pending resolution of forfeiture cases.
  14. Sharing means the transfer of cash, property or proceeds realized through federal forfeitures pursuant to these guidelines.
  15. State and local agencies refers to state and local law enforcement agencies.
  16. Transfer and "sharing" are synonymous under these guidelines.