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Raking It in-- Forfeiture Issues 2011

Raking It in-- Forfeiture Issues 2011

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Law enforcement agencies across the country are addicted to seizure and forfeiture funds, often seizing money and other property without filing criminal charges. Now, budget cuts are making this "addiction" worse, with consequences for the average citizen.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are addicted to seizure and forfeiture funds, often seizing money and other property without filing criminal charges. Now, budget cuts are making this "addiction" worse, with consequences for the average citizen.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Charles B. "Brad" Frye on Jun 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/18/2014

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Raking It In – Forfeiture Funds Making Up for Lean Budget Times
Asset seizures and forfeitures have long been used to supplement law enforcement budgetsacross the country. But now, in lean economic times, those funds are becoming more and moreimportant.In Pennsylvania, at a time of budget-cutting and belt tightening, at least one county account isflush with cash as Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced recentlythat forfeitures and seizures of cash, cars and real estate related to drug arrests last year totaled$283,000, the most in the county's history. The funds were funneled into county coffers throughdirect cash grabs of $150,000 and real estate and car sales of $133,000, Morganelli said. Therecord year came as a result of big busts in Bethlehem and Easton, according to Morganelli, and acountywide crackdown on gang activity.And, in North Providence, Rhode Island, the Police Department has received $900,000 in drugseizure forfeiture funds by virtue of the United States Attorney’s Office. Peter F. Neronha, theUnited States Attorney for that district, announced in mid-June that the Police Department is oneof four law enforcement agencies in the area to share in $4.5 million netted by the U.S.Attorney's Office as a result of the prosecution of a Chinese drug manufacturer, GenesciencePharmaceutical Company, and its CEO for illegally marketing Human Growth Hormone in theUnited States.But, forfeiture funds augmenting law enforcement budgets have been in the news for years. Asfar back as 2008, reporter John Burnett of National Public Radio (NPR) reported on the problemof law enforcement agencies becoming “addicted” to forfeiture funds:Federal and state rules governing asset forfeiture explicitly discourage law enforcementagencies from becoming dependent on seized drug money or allowing the prospect of those funds to influence law enforcement decisions.There is a law enforcement culture — particularly in the South — in which policeagencies have grown, in the words of one state senator from South Texas, "addicted todrug money."Part of the problem lies with governing bodies that count on the dirty money and, in

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