Why might the government seize my assets for a federal criminal conviction?
If a federal court convicts you of a criminal charge, you may face a variety of penalties. You likely know you face time in prison, but are you aware the government may also seize your assets?
According to the US Department of Justice, the government uses asset seizure because it is an effective way to accomplish two main goals.
Provide compensation to victims
Seizing your assets can provide money the government can then use to pay compensation to any victims in your case. This restitution is something you will often receive as part of your sentence. If the government takes your assets, it will reduce the restitution you have to pay out of pocket.
However, it is likely that you will be unable to pay it at all, especially if you receive a lengthy prison sentence. You will not have access to money to give for restitution, so the government sees using your assets as a better solution.
Serve as further punishment
Another reason why the government may do this is to further punish you. The only assets it will take are those you used in the commission of your crime or that you were able to obtain due to your criminal activities. For example, if you were embezzling money and used it to buy a house, the government could take that property.
In this situation, the government sees the assets as part of your criminal actions to which you have no legal claim. It is taking back property you should have never had to begin with and punishing you by depriving you of it and any financial gains you could have made from it in the future.