‘Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool used by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, against criminals and criminal organizations to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains through seizure of these assets.’ -FBI
However, some police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws has incentivized wrongful forfeitures. Civil forfeiture allows police to seize -and then keep or sell - any property they allege is involved in a crime.
Asset forfeiture can happen with an arrest or a conviction of a crime. They can take your cash, cars, or even real estate and permanently took away by the government. They can even be found not guilty and not have their property returned.
Originally forfeiture was presented as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But today, aided by deeply flawed federal and state laws, many police departments use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, making seizures motivated by profit rather than crime-fighting.
People whose property has been seized through civil asset forfeiture, legally regaining such property is notoriously difficult and expensive, with costs sometimes exceeding the value of the property.