For U.S. Attorney’s Office, Forfeiture From Crimes Pays (Sometimes in Dinosaur Bones)

02 Jan 2013 12:06 PM | Anonymous

For U.S. Attorney’s Office, Forfeiture From Crimes Pays (Sometimes in Dinosaur Bones)
The federal government runs a multibillion-dollar business in Lower Manhattan with an unusual and diverse revenue stream.

In the last year, the government's prosecutorial branch in Manhattan has taken in about $160 million from an online poker operation and more than $2 billion from a failed Ponzi scheme. Last week, it even secured a Tyrannosaurus skeleton from Mongolia valued at more than $1 million.

This business is the asset forfeiture unit of the United States attorney's office in Manhattan. In 2012, the unit recovered about $3 billion in crime proceeds - the largest amount ever recovered by a single United States attorney's office since the Justice Department established the asset forfeiture program four decades ago. It also accounts for 68 percent of the national total last year from the country's 93 United States attorney's offices, according to government figures.

"Asset forfeiture is an important part of the culture here and an example of the government being efficient and bringing home the bacon," Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a recent interview.

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