According to policies adopted by the Attorney General that involves handling seized cash, all cash seized from illegal activity (except when used as evidence) is to promptly be deposited into the Seized Asset Deposit fund pending forfeiture. Exceptions to this policy may be made by the Chief of Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering but only in extraordinary circumstances. These funds are to be later transferred to the US Marshall within 60 days of forfeiture or within 10 days after the individual has been indicted, whichever comes first. When appropriate, photos and video evidence of seized cash should be taken to later use in court.
These policies also state that all seized cash retained for evidence purposes that amount to a sum less than $5000, permission is not needed from the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section to retain the money for court. If the sum of money retained for evidence is greater than $5000, then a request for exemption must be sent to the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. These requests must be filed by the United States Attorney’s Office or the Criminal Division Section who has jurisdiction for prosecuting, for reviewing the prosecution of the particular case. These exceptions have little flexibility with the given time limits, and if an exception is granted, it will only be on an interim basis, as the retention of currency will only be permitted when it serves as significant tangible evidence in a case. For example, if the currency bears fingerprints, presents incriminating packaging, or has traceable narcotic residue on bills, this would be sufficient to serve as tangible evidence. If only a portion of seized cash bears tangible evidence, then only that portion may be retained to serve as evidence. The remaining balance should be deposited in accordance with Department policy.
Avoidance of the effect of a court order is not a significant evidentiary purpose. If only a portion of the seized cash has evidentiary value, only that portion with evidentiary value should be retained. The balance should be deposited in accordance with Department policy.
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