Administrative Forfeiture

Administrative forfeiture is an in rem proceeding that allows a federal government agency to forfeit property without filing a federal case, involving a judge, or doing any court litigation for that matter. Administrative forfeiture occurs when no one contests the seizure of property or assets involved in criminal activity. The administrative forfeiture proceeding is conducted directly by the federal government agency by publishing a Notice of Proposed Forfeiture once a week for at least three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the federal judicial district in which the property or assets were seized. The federal government agency shall also serve the notice to the owner of the property or assets, or to any other person whose identity and interest in the property is known or easily verifiable. If the property’s owner or an interested party does not file a claim within thirty days after the Notice of Proposed Forfeiture was published or served, the federal government agency will declare the forfeiture of the property or assets via the administrative forfeiture proceeding.

See also: civil forfeiture, criminal forfeiture.

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]