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Trend towards Increased Structuring Enforcement: A Forfeiture Boon

** This is the sixth blog entry in a series - All You Need to Know about the Government & Asset Forfeiture**

In the past, honestly earned dollars were the subject of structuring, many U.S. Attorneys' offices had been, to say the least; hesitant to criminally prosecute someone for structuring in the absence of showing that such a person is involved in other illegal activity. However, such hesitancy is diminishing. Lately, the national trend is increasingly pro-prosecution.

Further, even if a business or individual avoids jail time, they may be the subject to a significant taking of property which can cripple livelihoods and companies. In other words, while there is less energy for the criminal prosecution of structuring than for the more traditional federal crimes such as bank robbery, drug distribution and securities fraud, there is no less energy or commitment for efforts to take citizens' money. That means that forfeiture efforts represent a significant risk to people and businesses.

One of, if not the, most successful and utilized strategies the government uses to forfeit property comes from the SAR duties mentioned throughout this series. As you can guess, avoidance of CTRs is at the top of the list of available means for seizure by the government. In fact, multiple SAR task forces have been assembled to capture monies identified as being involved in structuring. However, while seizures are up, criminal prosecutions have not risen at the same rate.

The government's interest is clear. Recoveries are useful, especially in times of tight congressional budgets and a DOJ hiring freeze. This increase in personnel has more than paid for itself and will no doubt grow as time goes by.

The consequences for citizens and businesses are clear: a higher likelihood of governmental confiscation of private dollars and an increase in white collar prosecutions.

The most important thing to consider is that federal prosecutions are no laughing matter. These prosecutions involve significant fines and even more significant jail time. Even if federal agents forego criminal prosecution, the deprivation of significant assets can be devastating to persons and companies alike. 

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