Real Property Seizure and Disposal Program Improvements Needed

T-GGD-87-28: Published: Sep 25, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1987.

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GAO discussed the Department of Justice's management of seized and forfeited real property to determine whether the government received the maximum possible economic return. GAO found that: (1) as of January 1987, Justice had 866 properties valued at $170 million; (2) of the 47 property sales it reviewed, 26 had realized no net economic return; (3) because Justice did not properly identify defendants' property equity, it unnecessarily processed properties with marginal economic returns; (4) Justice experienced substantial problems in selling property because it did not comply with forfeiture requirements; (5) insurance companies were reluctant to insure forfeited properties because of the questions concerning the constitutionality of real property forfeitures; and (6) Justice lacked staff competent to deal with the complex issues involved in title transfers of forfeited properties. GAO believes that Justice should improve: (1) the accuracy of real property inventory data; and (2) compliance with established requirements before seizure.

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