Asset Forfeiture & Seizures

The most common penalty people think of when they are charged with a crime is incarceration.  However, that is not the only penalty available to the government.  Under both Arizona and Federal law, the government may have the ability to fine you or seize your property.  For example, an Arizona felony conviction has the potential to carry up to a $150,000.00.  Moreover, if you are accused of profiting from your crime, then the government may attempt to seize anything they believe your purchased with the profit.  A common example is a fraud scheme where the accused bought a home with the profits of the alleged scheme.

However, anyone who has practiced in this area of knows that the government may overreach with their seizure or take a “throw everything again the wall and see what sticks approach” to these cases.  I have seen cases where a small amount of property is at issue, but the government come in and seizes waste sums of property (i.e bank accounts, automobiles, jewelry, houses) unrelated to the allegations are taken; or the government takes the separate and legitimate property of the accused’ spouse.

Seizure and Forfeiture can arise in many of the following types of cases:

  • Drug Crimes
  • Fraud Schemes
  • Taking The Identity of Another
  • Homicides
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Racketeering
  • Business Opportunity Schemes
  • Vehicular Crimes (vehicle forfeiture)
  • Telemarketing Fraud

The ability of the government to seize property can arise from either criminal conviction or brought as a separate civil forfeiture proceeding.  In addition, many fraud schemes charges start as civil consumer protection cases (i.e. telemarketing fraud, business opportunity schemes) but later turned into criminal charges.

If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney. For more information about Arizona Criminal Law or a specific legal problem, please contact Lawrence Koplow online or by phone at (602) 494-3444.