WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder is announcing policy changes to the federal government’s asset forfeiture program as part of an ongoing review.
The policy change would restrict the government’s ability to seize bank deposits to cases involving the most illegal banking transactions.
At issue are cases involving so-called structuring, a practice in which someone evades bank reporting requirements by making a series of deposits below a certain threshold.
Under the new policy, Justice Department officials would not seize structured funds unless there was evidence that they were designed to hide other criminal activity, or if there’s a compelling law enforcement interest.
Prosecutors would also be expected under the new policy to file charges within 150 days against the seized funds, or else return them.