Criteria governing administrative and judicial remission and mitigation.
(a) Remission.(1) The Ruling Official shall not grant remission of a forfeiture unless the petitioner establishes that:
(i) The petitioner has a valid, good faith, and legally cognizable interest in the seized property as owner or lienholder as defined in this part; and
(ii) The petitioner is innocent within the meaning of the innocent owner provisions of the applicable civil forfeiture statute, is a bona fide purchaser for value without cause to believe that the property was subject to forfeiture at the time of the purchase, or is one who held a legally cognizable interest in the seized property at the time of the violation underlying the forfeiture superior to that of the defendant within the meaning of the applicable criminal forfeiture statute, and is thereby entitled to recover his or her interest in the forfeited property by statute. (If the applicable civil forfeiture statute contains no innocent owner defense, the innocent owner provisions applicable to 21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4) shall apply.) Unless otherwise provided by statute, in the case of petitioners who acquired their interest in the property after the time of the violation underlying the forfeiture, the question of whether the petitioner had knowledge of the violation shall be determined as of the point in time when the interest in the property was acquired.
(2) The knowledge and responsibilities of petitioner's representative, agent, or employee in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section are imputed to the petitioner where the representative, agent, or employee was acting in the course of his or her employment and in furtherance of the petitioner's business.
(3) The petitioner has the burden of establishing the basis for granting a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeited property, a restoration of proceeds of sale or appraised value of forfeited property, or a reconsideration of a denial of such a petition. Failure to provide information or documents and to submit to interviews, as requested, may result in a denial of the petition.
(4) The Ruling Official shall presume a valid forfeiture and shall not consider whether the evidence is sufficient to support the forfeiture.
(5) Willful, materially-false statements or information, made or furnished by the petitioner in support of a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeited property, the restoration of proceeds or appraised value of forfeited property, or the reconsideration of a denial of any such petition, shall be grounds for denial of such petition and possible prosecution for the filing of false statements.
(b) Mitigation.(1) The Ruling Official may grant mitigation to a party not involved in the commission of the offense underlying forfeiture:
(i) Where the petitioner has not met the minimum conditions for remission, but the Ruling Official finds that some relief should be granted to avoid extreme hardship, and that return of the property combined with imposition of monetary and/or other conditions of mitigation in lieu of a complete forfeiture will promote the interest of justice and will not diminish the deterrent effect of the law. Extenuating circumstances justifying such a finding include those circumstances that reduce the responsibility of the petitioner for knowledge of the illegal activity, knowledge of the criminal record of a user of the property, or failure to take reasonable steps to prevent the illegal use or acquisition by another for some reason, such as a reasonable fear of reprisal; or
(ii) Where the minimum standards for remission have been satisfied but the overall circumstances are such that, in the opinion of the Ruling Official, complete relief is not warranted.
(2) The Ruling Officials may in his or her discretion grant mitigation to a party involved in the commission of the offense underlying the forfeiture where certain mitigating factors exist, including, but not limited to: the lack of a prior record or evidence of similar criminal conduct; if the violation does not include drug distribution, manufacturing, or importation, the fact that the violator has taken steps, such as drug treatment, to prevent further criminal conduct; the fact that the violation was minimal and was not part of a larger criminal scheme; the fact that the violator has cooperated with federal, state, or local investigations relating to the criminal conduct underlying the forfeiture; or the fact that complete forfeiture of an asset is not necessary to achieve the legitimate purposes of forfeiture.
(3) Mitigation may take the form of a monetary condition or the imposition of other conditions relating to the continued use of the property, and the return of the property, in addition to the imposition of any other costs that would be chargeable as a condition to remission. This monetary condition is considered as an item of cost payable by the petitioner, and shall be deposited into the Assets Forfeiture Fund as an amount realized from forfeiture in accordance with the applicable statute. If the petitioner fails to accept the Ruling Official's mitigation decision or any of its conditions, or fails to pay the monetary amount within twenty (20) days of the receipt of the decision, the property shall be sold, and the monetary amount imposed and other costs chargeable as a condition to mitigation shall be subtracted from the proceeds of the sale before transmitting the remainder to the petitioner.
Title 28 published on 2012-07-01
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