The Department of Justice took $4.5 billion in private property including cash, cars and homes from Americans in 2014, which includes both civil and criminal forfeitures, according to a report from the Institute for Justice.
A majority, or 87 percent, of the forfeitures by the government from 1997 to 2013 were civil forfeitures, while only 13 percent were criminal.
“Under civil forfeiture laws, the government can seize this property on the mere suspicion that it is connected to criminal activity,” stated the report, titled “Policing for Profit." “No charges or convictions are required.”
“Every year, police and prosecutors across the United States take hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, cars, homes and other property -- regardless of the owners’ guilt or innocence,” the report also stated.
Proceeds from the sale of the personal property become revenue for the federal government.