Oversight Hearings on Asset Forfeiture Programs

T-GGD-90-56: Published: Jul 24, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Department of Justice's and the U.S. Customs Service's asset forfeiture programs. GAO found that: (1) the volume of seized assets has increased from $33 million in 1979 to $1.4 billion in 1989; (2) inadequate management information has caused deficiencies in providing accurate and timely data; (3) a lack of adequate staff with property management expertise made it difficult to effectively manage the program; and (4) real property disposal delays caused difficulties in obtaining title insurance. GAO believes that: (1) the administrative forfeiture of all uncontested cash seizures should be permitted; (2) program managers continue to manage hundreds of millions of dollars worth of seized property with inaccurate and incomplete information; (3) legislation should be enacted to warrant clear title to forfeited real property; and (4) effective oversight is needed to resolve forfeiture problems.

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