CNBC reported Tuesday on the increasing number of cash seizures performed under the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Program. Last year, the government seized more than $4 billion in cash under the program.
The majority of assets seized under the program in the past years have been pure cash, but the government can also take possession of other assets, including artwork, coin collections and airplanes. The DOJ reports on the type of assets, also including U.S. currency, seized that are valued over $1 million each year.
Out of the 230 asset forfeitures valued over $1 million in 2014, the government took possession of a variety of property, including four airplanes—three in Texas and one in Alaska—as well as $22.4 million in real estate and $1.2 million in "assorted fragrances." The level of detail isn't great, but it gives a sense for the resale value of many of the assets the government is looking for.
The map below shows asset forfeitures per capita for each state as well as the 230 seizures worth more than $1 million in 2014.
Aspiring businessman Joseph Rivers made headlines recently when he was stopped in New Mexico by DEA agents, who seized $16,000 in cash on drug-related suspicion. Rivers was not charged with a crime.
The number of seizures of assets valued at more than $1 million was less than a percent of the total number of seizures in 2014, so a drop in the bucket in terms of scale. But the value of assets represented by forfeitures worth over $1 million was nearly a fifth of the total value of assets seized.
Multimillion-dollar seizures in 2014 included funds from the Bernard Madoff case that went to the victim fund, as well as assets seized under the Toyota settlement on vehicle defects.
Where does the cash from these seizures and the resale of assets go? Stay tuned on Thursday to see the beneficiaries of the asset forfeiture program.