[Payment of Storage Fees for Goods Seized by the United States]

B-207318: Feb 2, 1983

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GAO was asked to render an opinion as to which agency bears the responsibility for paying storage costs when goods are seized by the United States. GAO held that, after the U.S. Marshals Service takes custody of property seized by the United States pursuant to the execution of a warrant in rem, it becomes the obligation of the Marshals Service, rather than the agency under whose substantive statutory authority the goods were seized, to pay unpaid storage costs that are the responsibility of the government. Since the Marshals Service has the statutory responsibility to seize and hold property attached pursuant to in rem action, the appropriations for the Marshals Service should be used to pay such expenses. A permanent judgment appropriation is not available to pay storage charges assessed against the United States where the Marshals Service has the responsibility to pay such charges once it seizes the property pursuant to the execution of a warrant in rem.

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