28 CFR § 9.8 - Remission procedures for victims.

§ 9.8 Remission procedures for victims.

This section applies to victims of an offense underlying the forfeiture of property, or of a related offense, who do not have a present ownership interest in the forfeited property (or, in the case of multiple victims of an offense, who do not have a present ownership interest in the forfeited property that is clearly superior to that of other petitioner victims). This section applies only with respect to property forfeited pursuant to statutes that explicitly authorize restoration or remission of forfeited property to victims. A victim requesting remission under this section may concurrently request remission as an owner, pursuant to the regulations set forth in §§ 9.3, 9.4, and 9.7. The claims of victims granted remission as both an owner and victim shall, like claims of other owners, have priority over the claims of any non-owner victims whose claims are recognized under this section.

(a) Remission procedure for victims.

(1) Where to file. Persons seeking remission as victims shall file petitions for remission with the appropriate deciding official as described in §§ 9.3(e) (administrative forfeiture) or 9.4(e) (judicial forfeiture).

(2) Time of decision. The deciding official or his designee as described in § 9.1(b) may consider petitions filed by persons claiming eligibility for remission as victims at any time prior to the disposal of the forfeited property in accordance with law.

(3) Request for reconsideration. Persons denied remission under this section may request reconsideration of the denial, in accordance with §§ 9.3(j) (administrative forfeiture) or 9.4(k) (judicial forfeiture).

(b) Qualification to file. A victim, as defined in § 9.2, may be granted remission, if in addition to complying with the other applicable provisions of § 9.8, the victim satisfactorily demonstrates that:

(1) A pecuniary loss of a specific amount has been directly caused by the criminal offense, or related offense, that was the underlying basis for the forfeiture, and that the loss is supported by documentary evidence including invoices and receipts;

(2) The pecuniary loss is the direct result of the illegal acts and is not the result of otherwise lawful acts that were committed in the course of a criminal offense;

(3) The victim did not knowingly contribute to, participate in, benefit from, or act in a willfully blind manner towards the commission of the offense, or related offense, that was the underlying basis of the forfeiture;

(4) The victim has not in fact been compensated for the wrongful loss of the property by the perpetrator or others; and

(5) The victim does not have recourse reasonably available to other assets from which to obtain compensation for the wrongful loss of the property.

(c) Pecuniary loss. The amount of the pecuniary loss suffered by a victim for which remission may be granted is limited to the fair market value of the property of which the victim was deprived as of the date of the occurrence of the loss. No allowance shall be made for interest forgone or for collateral expenses incurred to recover lost property or to seek other recompense.

(d) Torts. A tort associated with illegal activity that formed the basis for the forfeiture shall not be a basis for remission, unless it constitutes the illegal activity itself, nor shall remission be granted for physical injuries to a petitioner or for damage to a petitioner's property.

(e) Denial of petition. In the exercise of his or her discretion, the ruling official may decline to grant remission where:

(1) There is substantial difficulty in calculating the pecuniary loss incurred by the victim or victims;

(2) The amount of the remission, if granted, would be small compared with the amount of expenses incurred by the Government in determining whether to grant remission; or

(3) The total number of victims is large and the monetary amount of the remission so small as to make its granting impractical.

(f) Pro rata basis. In granting remission to multiple victims pursuant to this section, the ruling official should generally grant remission on a pro rata basis to recognized victims when petitions cannot be granted in full due to the limited value of the forfeited property. However, the ruling official may consider the following factors, among others, in establishing appropriate priorities in individual cases:

(1) The specificity and reliability of the evidence establishing a loss;

(2) The fact that a particular victim is suffering an extreme financial hardship;

(3) The fact that a particular victim has cooperated with the Government in the investigation related to the forfeiture or to a related prosecution or civil action; and

(4) In the case of petitions filed by multiple victims of related offenses, the fact that a particular victim is a victim of the offense underlying the forfeiture.

(g) Reimbursement. Any petitioner granted remission pursuant to this part shall reimburse the Assets Forfeiture Fund for the amount received to the extent the individual later receives compensation for the loss of the property from any other source. The petitioner shall surrender the reimbursement upon payment from any secondary source.

(h) Claims of financial institution regulatory agencies. In cases involving property forfeitable under 18 U.S.C. 981(a)(1)(C) or (a)(1)(D), the ruling official may decline to grant a petition filed by a petitioner in whole or in part due to the lack of sufficient forfeitable funds to satisfy both the petition and claims of the financial institution regulatory agencies pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981(e)(3) or (7). Generally, claims of financial institution regulatory agencies pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981(e)(3) or (7) shall take priority over claims of victims.

(i) Amount of remission. Consistent with the Assets Forfeiture Fund statute (28 U.S.C. 524(c)), the amount of remission shall not exceed the victim's share of the net proceeds of the forfeitures associated with the activity that caused the victim's loss. The calculation of net proceeds includes, but is not limited to, the deduction of allowable government expenses and valid third-party claims.