Asset Forfeiture

Matt Smith / WHYY

A recent report from the Pennsylvania Attorney General shows that law enforcement across the state made over $15 million through the use of civil asset forfeiture between 2017 and 2018.

This controversial legal mechanism allows police departments and district attorney offices to profit from property seized during arrests, even if a suspect is never convicted of a crime. This property — which is often tied to drug suspects — ranges from cash, cars and homes to jewelry and flat screen televisions.

Cash Grab: As Asset Forfeiture Quietly Expands Across PA, Abuses Follow

Apr 25, 2019
Matt Smith / Keystone Crossroads

Berks County narcotics detectives were ready to pounce.

Despite years of criticism of the state’s asset forfeiture laws, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a new human trafficking law that expands law enforcement’s ability to seize assets of the accused, without any statutory oversight of where seized property and proceeds end up.