asset forfeiture

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Gilgamesh Dream Tablet Is Finally Returned to Iraq

It was looted years before Hobby Lobby bought it in 2014

(Newser) - Update: A 3,500-year-old clay tablet looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago and bought by Hobby Lobby in 2014 is now officially Iraq's property again. The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet was formally returned at a repatriation ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution Thursday, CNN reports. Fareed Yasseen, Iraq's...

Feds Awarded North Korean Cargo Ship

Wise Honest likely to end up as scrap

(Newser) - A North Korean cargo ship seized earlier this year for allegedly violating sanctions is now the property of the United States government. A federal court in New York ordered for the Wise Honest to be forfeited to the US government and for the Treasury Department to "dispose" of it,...

High Court's Decision Could Rein In a Controversial Police Practice

Supreme Court rules that constitutional ban on high fines does apply to states

(Newser) - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Constitution's ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help efforts to rein in police seizure of property from criminal suspects—a practice that has dramatically increased in recent decades, the AP reports. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg...

Man's Quest to Get Land Rover Back Reaches Supreme Court

The case involves the Bill of Rights

(Newser) - The Supreme Court left little doubt Wednesday that it would rule that the Constitution's ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help an Indiana man recover the $40,000 Land Rover police seized when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin....

Nurse Who Saved Up for Clinic Loses $41,377 to US Customs

The agency will only return the money if she agrees not to sue; she's suing

(Newser) - Anthonia Nwaorie is in the middle of a custody battle—for her money, reports the Washington Post . The 59-year-old registered nurse and US citizen from Katy, Texas, had saved up for years in order to open a clinic in Nigeria that would provide free medical care. In October, she carefully...

Oft-Criticized Law Enforcement Practice Is Set to Get Easier

Jeff Sessions says DOJ plans to loosen asset forfeiture policies

(Newser) - The Justice Department will soon make it easier for local law enforcement to seize cash and property—permanently—from crime suspects and reap the proceeds. "We plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures," Attorney General Jeff Sessions told local prosecutors Monday in Minnesota. "No criminal should be...

Assets Seized by Cops Top Those Stolen by Burglars

In 2014, more property was taken via legal civil asset forfeiture than burglary

(Newser) - When it comes to taking property that isn’t theirs, burglars are facing some stiff competition: law enforcement officers. In 2014, the Washington Post reports, the federal Treasury and Justice departments accumulated more than $5 billion via civil asset forfeiture—the controversial practice of law enforcement seizing cash and property...

No Crime? No Problem. DEA Nabs Guy's Life Savings

Joseph Rivers fighting $16K seizure under civil forfeiture laws

(Newser) - Last month, Joseph Rivers boarded a Michigan train bound for Los Angeles with $16,000 in cash and a dream of making a music video. Instead, DEA agents, who asked to search Rivers' bags during a stop in New Mexico, seized his life savings still in a bank envelope, suspecting...

Why Cops Can (and Do) Take People's Stuff
 Why Cops Can 
 (and Do) Take 
 People's Stuff 
in case you missed it

Why Cops Can (and Do) Take People's Stuff

'Civil forfeiture' fills law enforcement coffers every year

(Newser) - A drive through Tenaha, Texas, can cost you thousands of dollars—because police in this sleepy town are known for pulling over out-of-state cars and confiscating anything they want. Highway robbery? Maybe, but it's called "civil forfeiture," a legal practice that allows police to take money or...

Late Madoff Investor to Return $7.2B to Victims

Nearly half cash losses now recovered

(Newser) - The pool of funds available to Bernie Madoff's victims is about to expand by $7.2 billion, thanks to a deal with the biggest beneficiary of the Ponzi scheme. The estate of Florida philanthropist Jeffry Picower has agreed to “return every penny received from almost 35 years of investing...

Madoff's Wife to Give Up $80M; Bernie Hit for $170B

(Newser) - Ruth Madoff struck a deal with federal prosecutors today to forfeit nearly $80 million in assets and retain only $2.5 million in cash, the Wall Street Journal reports. The wife of swindler Bernard Madoff reached the agreement with the US attorney's office in Manhattan. Meanwhile, a US judge entered...

Judge Okays Bankruptcy for Bernie Madoff

Makes personal assets more easily available to victims

(Newser) - Bernard Madoff’s victims can force him into bankruptcy and seek any assets that weren’t proceeds of his crimes, a federal judge ruled today, over objections from federal prosecutors, the SEC, and the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Madoff’s firm. The judge ruled that bankruptcy had the best...

France Will Battle US for Madoff Chateau

Rival prosecutors preparing to grab Riviera pad

(Newser) - A legal tug-of-war is getting underway over the Madoffs' Riviera chateau, reports the New York Post. Bernard and Ruth Madoff's $1 million French pad is among the assets US federal prosecutors want the couple to forfeit to help reimburse scammed investors, but French authorities—who have opened a criminal inquiry...

Madoff Lists $826M in Assets
 Madoff Lists $826M in Assets 

Madoff Lists $826M in Assets

List reveals couple's homes, cash, luxury goods mostly in Ruth's name

(Newser) - A list of the Madoffs' assets released yesterday falls a long way short of the tens of billions investors and prosecutors are looking for, the Wall Street Journal reports. A $700 million valuation for Bernard Madoff's investment business made up the bulk of the roughly $826 million in assets listed,...

Texas Cops Accused of Racist Highway Robbery

Black motorists given the choice of handing over property or facing felony charges

(Newser) - Cops in a small Texas town are accused of seizing the property of innocent black motorists to pad their salaries, the Chicago Tribune reports. A federal lawsuit alleges that Tehana police have abused the state's asset-forfeiture law—intended to penalize drug-runners—to extort money and other valuables from out-of-town drivers...

Ruth Madoff in Court Battle to Keep $70M

Lawyers argue wife's assets have nothing to do with scam

(Newser) - Ruth Madoff is battling in court to hang onto $70 million in assets she claims have nothing to do with her husband's alleged $50 billion scam. Lawyers for the Madoffs are seeking to protect the assets—including $17 million in cash, $45 million in bonds, and the $7 million Manhattan...

Where Does All That Seized Money Go?

Asset forfeiture: an ugly side of the drug war

(Newser) - What would you do with a few million in drug money? Last year, state and federal authorities seized about $2 billion from Mexican smugglers. The feds have to put any seized money into a dedicated fund, but the rules are looser for states. In Texas and Georgia, for example, sheriffs...

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