Historical Perspective on Asset Forfeiture Issues
T-GGD-96-40: Published: Mar 19, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 1996.
GAO discussed the Departments of Justice's and Treasury's asset forfeiture programs. GAO noted that: (1) the asset forfeiture programs present a high risk for abuse and fraud because of program mismanagement and internal control weaknesses; (2) Marshals Service mismanagement, ineffective oversight, slow disposition, and poor recordkeeping of seized property has resulted in excessive costs and millions of dollars in lost revenue; (3) the Justice asset forfeiture program lacks closing procedures to ensure the proper recording of all seized property in its property management system; (4) the Customs asset forfeiture program lacks adequate safeguards over seized property and has incomplete and inaccurate accounting and reporting of seized property; (5) the agencies have made many improvements to their asset forfeiture programs, agencies need to additionally enhance their tracking systems and to develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure proper accountability for and stewardship over seized property; and (6) although consolidating the management and disposition of seized assets could reduce administrative costs and duplicative efforts, the agencies cite legislative acts and federal reporting requirements as barriers to developing a joint plan for consolidation.