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civil-forfeiture cases

Civil forfeiture has been used to restore money stolen by fraud and other schemes by corrupt politicians.[50] Civil forfeiture targets cybercrime, fraud, and scams in high finance at Wall Street, and money-laundering on a global scale.[38] It enables police to have sufficient power to “return money to crime victims” in instances of swindling or fraud.[13] Civil forfeiture laws were helpful in enabling authorities to seize and return swindled funds by the Bernard Madoff fraud.[13]

Proponents argue that government has sufficient safeguards in place so that individuals can challenge seizures if the need arises.[15] Justice William H. Rehnquist said in a Supreme Court decision that federal forfeiture in drug-related cases was not a punishment but served nonpunitive purposes such as encouraging people to be careful that their property was not used illegally.[14] A lobbyist for the Maryland State Police named Thomas Williams argued that bills to require police to keep better records of seized property would cost law enforcement more time and money, and that trying to track seizures by multi-agency task forces would not be easy.[37] Proponents say that when claimants contest the seizures, they rarely win back their money, suggesting that the “system is working properly”.[13] Proponents say the system is monitored to make sure seizures are properly done.[13] In addition, the funds enable police forces to equip themselves further for more effective crime prevention; for example, a $3.8 million drug bust let officers equip their cars with $1,700 video cameras and heat-sensing equipment for a seven-member fo