28 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2009 Edition
Title 28 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
PART VI - PARTICULAR PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER 163 - FINES, PENALTIES AND FORFEITURES
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 163—FINES, PENALTIES AND FORFEITURES

Sec.
2461.
Mode of recovery.
2462.
Time for commencing proceedings.
2463.
Property taken under revenue law not repleviable.
2464.
Security; special bond.
2465.
Return of property to claimant; liability for wrongful seizure; attorney fees, costs, and interest.
2466.
Fugitive disentitlement.
2467.
Enforcement of foreign judgment.

        

Amendments

2000—Pub. L. 106–185, §§4(b), 14(b), 15(b), Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 213, 219, 221, substituted “Return of property to claimant; liability for wrongful seizure; attorney fees, costs, and interest” for “Return of property to claimant; certificate of reasonable cause; liability for wrongful seizure” in item 2465 and added items 2466 and 2467.

§2461. Mode of recovery

(a) Whenever a civil fine, penalty or pecuniary forfeiture is prescribed for the violation of an Act of Congress without specifying the mode of recovery or enforcement thereof, it may be recovered in a civil action.

(b) Unless otherwise provided by Act of Congress, whenever a forfeiture of property is prescribed as a penalty for violation of an Act of Congress and the seizure takes place on the high seas or on navigable waters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, such forfeiture may be enforced by libel in admiralty but in cases of seizures on land the forfeiture may be enforced by a proceeding by libel which shall conform as near as may be to proceedings in admiralty.

(c) If a person is charged in a criminal case with a violation of an Act of Congress for which the civil or criminal forfeiture of property is authorized, the Government may include notice of the forfeiture in the indictment or information pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. If the defendant is convicted of the offense giving rise to the forfeiture, the court shall order the forfeiture of the property as part of the sentence in the criminal case pursuant to to 1 the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and section 3554 of title 18, United States Code. The procedures in section 413 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 853) apply to all stages of a criminal forfeiture proceeding, except that subsection (d) of such section applies only in cases in which the defendant is convicted of a violation of such Act.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 974; Pub. L. 106–185, §16, Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 221; Pub. L. 109–177, title IV, §410, Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 246.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Subsection (a) was drafted to clarify a serious ambiguity in existing law and is based upon rulings of the Supreme Court. Numerous sections in the United States Code prescribe civil fines, penalties, and pecuniary forfeitures for violation of certain sections without specifying the mode of recovery or enforcement thereof. See, for example, section 567 of title 12, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Banks and Banking, section 64 of title 14, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Coast Guard, and section 180 of title 25, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Indians. Compare section 1 (21) of title 49, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Transportation.

A civil fine, penalty, or pecuniary forfeiture is recoverable in a civil action. United States ex rel. Marcus v. Hess et al., 1943, 63 S.Ct. 379, 317 U.S. 537, 87 L.Ed. 433, rehearing denied 63 S.Ct. 756, 318 U.S. 799, 87 L.Ed. 1163; Hepner v. United States, 1909, 29 S.Ct. 474, 213 U.S. 103, 53 L.Ed. 720, and cases cited therein.

Forfeiture of bail bonds in criminal cases are enforceable by procedure set out in Rule 46 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

If the statute contemplates a criminal fine, it can only be recovered in a criminal proceeding under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, after a conviction. The collection of civil fines and penalties, however, may not be had under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 54(b)(5), but enforcement of a criminal fine imposed in a criminal case may be had by execution on the judgment rendered in such case, as in civil actions. (See section 569 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Crimes and Criminal Procedure, incorporated in section 3565 of H.R. 1600, 80th Congress, for revision of the Criminal Code. See also Rule 69 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Advisory Committee Note thereunder, as to execution in civil actions.)

Subsection (b) was drafted to cover the subject of forfeiture of property generally. Sections in the United States Code specifically providing a mode of enforcement of forfeiture of property for their violation and other procedural matters will, of course, govern and subsection (b) will not affect them. It will only cover cases where no mode of recovery is prescribed.

Words “Unless otherwise provided by enactment of Congress” were inserted at the beginning of subsection (b) to exclude from its application instances where a libel in admiralty is not required. For example, under sections 1607, 1609, and 1610 of title 19, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Customs Duties, the collector of customs may, by summary procedure, sell at public auction, without previous declaration of forfeiture or libel proceedings, any vessel, etc., under $1,000 in value in cases where no claim for the same is filed or bond given as required by customs laws.

Rule 81 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure makes such rules applicable to the appeals in cases of seizures on land. (See also 443 Cans of Frozen Egg Product v. United States, 1912, 33 S.Ct. 50, 226 U.S. 172, 57 L.Ed. 174, and Eureka Productions v. Mulligan, C.C.A. 1940, 108 F.2d 760.) The proceeding, which resembles a suit in admiralty in that it is begun by a libel, is, strictly speaking, an “action at law” (The Sarah, 1823, 8 Wheat. 391, 21 U.S. 391, 5 L.Ed. 644; Morris's Cotton, 1869, 8 Wall. 507, 75 U.S. 507, 19 L.Ed. 481; Confiscation cases, 1873, 20 Wall. 92, 87 U.S. 92, 22 L.Ed. 320; Eureka Productions v. Mulligan, supra), even though the statute may direct that the proceedings conform to admiralty as near as may be. In re Graham, 1870, 10 Wall. 541, 19 L.Ed. 981, and 443 Cans of Frozen Egg Product v. United States, supra.

Subsection (b) is in conformity with Rule 21 of the Supreme Court Admiralty Rules, which recognizes that a libel may be filed upon seizure for any breach of any enactment of Congress, whether on land or on the high seas or on navigable waters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States. Such rule also permits an information to be filed, but is rarely, if ever, used at present. Consequently, “information” has been omitted from the text and only “libel” is incorporated.

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in subsec. (c), are set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

The Controlled Substances Act, referred to in subsec. (c), is title II of Pub. L. 91–513, Oct. 27, 1970, 84 Stat. 1242, as amended, which is classified principally to subchapter I (§801 et seq.) of chapter 13 of Title 21, Food and Drugs. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 801 of Title 21 and Tables.

Amendments

2006—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–177 amended subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (c) read as follows: “If a forfeiture of property is authorized in connection with a violation of an Act of Congress, and any person is charged in an indictment or information with such violation but no specific statutory provision is made for criminal forfeiture upon conviction, the Government may include the forfeiture in the indictment or information in accordance with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and upon conviction, the court shall order the forfeiture of the property in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 413 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 853), other than subsection (d) of that section.”

2000—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 106–185 added subsec. (c).

Effective Date of 2000 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 106–185 applicable to any forfeiture proceeding commenced on or after the date that is 120 days after Apr. 25, 2000, see section 21 of Pub. L. 106–185, set out as a note under section 1324 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.

Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment

Pub. L. 101–410, Oct. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 890, as amended by Pub. L. 104–134, title III, §31001(s)(1), Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321–373; Pub. L. 105–362, title XIII, §1301(a), Nov. 10, 1998, 112 Stat. 3293, provided that:

“short title

“Section 1. This Act may be cited as the ‘Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990’.

“findings and purpose

“Sec. 2. (a) Findings.—The Congress finds that—

“(1) the power of Federal agencies to impose civil monetary penalties for violations of Federal law and regulations plays an important role in deterring violations and furthering the policy goals embodied in such laws and regulations;

“(2) the impact of many civil monetary penalties has been and is diminished due to the effect of inflation;

“(3) by reducing the impact of civil monetary penalties, inflation has weakened the deterrent effect of such penalties; and

“(4) the Federal Government does not maintain comprehensive, detailed accounting of the efforts of Federal agencies to assess and collect civil monetary penalties.

“(b) Purpose.—The purpose of this Act is to establish a mechanism that shall—

“(1) allow for regular adjustment for inflation of civil monetary penalties;

“(2) maintain the deterrent effect of civil monetary penalties and promote compliance with the law; and

“(3) improve the collection by the Federal Government of civil monetary penalties.

“definitions

“Sec. 3. For purposes of this Act, the term—

“(1) ‘agency’ means an Executive agency as defined under section 105 of title 5, United States Code, and includes the United States Postal Service;

“(2) ‘civil monetary penalty’ means any penalty, fine, or other sanction that—

“(A)(i) is for a specific monetary amount as provided by Federal law; or

“(ii) has a maximum amount provided for by Federal law; and

“(B) is assessed or enforced by an agency pursuant to Federal law; and

“(C) is assessed or enforced pursuant to an administrative proceeding or a civil action in the Federal courts; and

“(3) ‘Consumer Price Index’ means the Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers published by the Department of Labor.

“civil monetary penalty inflation adjustment reports

“Sec. 4. The head of each agency shall, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 [Apr. 26, 1996], and at least once every 4 years thereafter—

“(1) by regulation adjust each civil monetary penalty provided by law within the jurisdiction of the Federal agency, except for any penalty (including any addition to tax and additional amount) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [26 U.S.C. 1 et seq.], the Tariff Act of 1930 [19 U.S.C. 1202 et seq.], the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 [29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.], or the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], by the inflation adjustment described under section 5 of this Act; and

“(2) publish each such regulation in the Federal Register.

“cost-of-living adjustments of civil monetary penalties

“Sec. 5. (a) Adjustment.—The inflation adjustment under section 4 shall be determined by increasing the maximum civil monetary penalty or the range of minimum and maximum civil monetary penalties, as applicable, for each civil monetary penalty by the cost-of-living adjustment. Any increase determined under this subsection shall be rounded to the nearest—

“(1) multiple of $10 in the case of penalties less than or equal to $100;

“(2) multiple of $100 in the case of penalties greater than $100 but less than or equal to $1,000;

“(3) multiple of $1,000 in the case of penalties greater than $1,000 but less than or equal to $10,000;

“(4) multiple of $5,000 in the case of penalties greater than $10,000 but less than or equal to $100,000;

“(5) multiple of $10,000 in the case of penalties greater than $100,000 but less than or equal to $200,000; and

“(6) multiple of $25,000 in the case of penalties greater than $200,000.

“(b) Definition.—For purposes of subsection (a), the term ‘cost-of-living adjustment’ means the percentage (if any) for each civil monetary penalty by which—

“(1) the Consumer Price Index for the month of June of the calendar year preceding the adjustment, exceeds

“(2) the Consumer Price Index for the month of June of the calendar year in which the amount of such civil monetary penalty was last set or adjusted pursuant to law.

“Sec. 6. Any increase under this Act in a civil monetary penalty shall apply only to violations which occur after the date the increase takes effect.”


[Pub. L. 104–134, title III, §31001(s)(2), Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321–373, provided that: “The first adjustment of a civil monetary penalty made pursuant to the amendment made by paragraph (1) [amending Pub. L. 101–410, set out above] may not exceed 10 percent of such penalty.”]

[For authority of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to consolidate reports required under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101–410, set out above, to be submitted between Jan. 1, 1995, and Sept. 30, 1997, or to adjust their frequency and due dates, see section 404 of Pub. L. 103–356, set out as a note under section 501 of Title 31, Money and Finance.]

1 So in original.

§2462. Time for commencing proceedings

Except as otherwise provided by Act of Congress, an action, suit or proceeding for the enforcement of any civil fine, penalty, or forfeiture, pecuniary or otherwise, shall not be entertained unless commenced within five years from the date when the claim first accrued if, within the same period, the offender or the property is found within the United States in order that proper service may be made thereon.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 974.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §791 (R.S. §1047).

Changes were made in phraseology.

§2463. Property taken under revenue law not repleviable

All property taken or detained under any revenue law of the United States shall not be repleviable, but shall be deemed to be in the custody of the law and subject only to the orders and decrees of the courts of the United States having jurisdiction thereof.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 974.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §747 (R.S. §934).

Changes were made in phraseology.

§2464. Security; special bond

(a) Except in cases of seizures for forfeiture under any law of the United States, whenever a warrant of arrest or other process in rem is issued in any admiralty case, the United States marshal shall stay the execution of such process, or discharge the property arrested if the process has been levied, on receiving from the respondent or claimant of the property a bond or stipulation in double the amount claimed by the libellant, with sufficient surety, to be approved by the judge of the district court where the case is pending, or, in his absence, by the collector of the port, conditioned to answer the decree of the court in such case. Such bond or stipulation shall be returned to the court, and judgment or decree thereon, against both the principal and sureties, may be secured at the time of rendering the decree in the original case. The owner of any vessel may deliver to the marshal a bond or stipulation, with sufficient surety, to be approved by the judge of the district court, conditioned to answer the decree of such court in all or any cases that are brought thereafter in such court against the vessel. Thereupon the execution of all such process against such vessel shall be stayed so long as the amount secured by such bond or stipulation is at least double the aggregate amount claimed by libellants in such suits which are begun and pending against such vessel. Similar judgments or decrees and remedies may be had on such bond or stipulation as if a special bond or stipulation had been filed in each of such suits.

(b) The court may make necessary orders to carry this section into effect, particularly in giving proper notice of any such suit. Such bond or stipulation shall be indorsed by the clerk with a minute of the suits wherein process is so stayed. Further security may be required by the court at any time.

(c) If a special bond or stipulation in the particular case is given under this section, the liability as to said case on the general bond or stipulation shall cease. The parties may stipulate the amount of the bond or stipulation for the release of a vessel or other property to be not more than the amount claimed in the libel, with interest, plus an allowance for libellant's costs. In the event of the inability or refusal of the parties to so stipulate, the court shall fix the amount, but if not so fixed then a bond shall be required in the amount prescribed in this section.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 974.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §754 (R.S. §941; Mar. 3, 1899, ch. 441, 30 Stat. 1354; Aug. 3, 1935, ch. 431, §3, 49 Stat. 513).

Changes were made in phraseology.

Transfer of Functions

All offices of collector of customs, comptroller of customs, surveyor of customs, and appraiser of merchandise of Bureau of Customs of Department of the Treasury to which appointments were required to be made by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate were ordered abolished, with such offices to be terminated not later than Dec. 31, 1966, by Reorg. Plan No. 1, of 1965, eff. May 25, 1965, 30 F.R. 7035, 79 Stat. 1317, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. All functions of the offices eliminated were already vested in the Secretary of the Treasury by Reorg. Plan No. 26 of 1950, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, set out in the Appendix to Title 5.

§2465. Return of property to claimant; liability for wrongful seizure; attorney fees, costs, and interest

(a) Upon the entry of a judgment for the claimant in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property seized or arrested under any provision of Federal law—

(1) such property shall be returned forthwith to the claimant or his agent; and

(2) if it appears that there was reasonable cause for the seizure or arrest, the court shall cause a proper certificate thereof to be entered and, in such case, neither the person who made the seizure or arrest nor the prosecutor shall be liable to suit or judgment on account of such suit or prosecution, nor shall the claimant be entitled to costs, except as provided in subsection (b).


(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), in any civil proceeding to forfeit property under any provision of Federal law in which the claimant substantially prevails, the United States shall be liable for—

(A) reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by the claimant;

(B) post-judgment interest, as set forth in section 1961 of this title; and

(C) in cases involving currency, other negotiable instruments, or the proceeds of an interlocutory sale—

(i) interest actually paid to the United States from the date of seizure or arrest of the property that resulted from the investment of the property in an interest-bearing account or instrument; and

(ii) an imputed amount of interest that such currency, instruments, or proceeds would have earned at the rate applicable to the 30-day Treasury Bill, for any period during which no interest was paid (not including any period when the property reasonably was in use as evidence in an official proceeding or in conducting scientific tests for the purpose of collecting evidence), commencing 15 days after the property was seized by a Federal law enforcement agency, or was turned over to a Federal law enforcement agency by a State or local law enforcement agency.


(2)(A) The United States shall not be required to disgorge the value of any intangible benefits nor make any other payments to the claimant not specifically authorized by this subsection.

(B) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply if the claimant is convicted of a crime for which the interest of the claimant in the property was subject to forfeiture under a Federal criminal forfeiture law.

(C) If there are multiple claims to the same property, the United States shall not be liable for costs and attorneys fees associated with any such claim if the United States—

(i) promptly recognizes such claim;

(ii) promptly returns the interest of the claimant in the property to the claimant, if the property can be divided without difficulty and there are no competing claims to that portion of the property;

(iii) does not cause the claimant to incur additional, reasonable costs or fees; and

(iv) prevails in obtaining forfeiture with respect to one or more of the other claims.


(D) If the court enters judgment in part for the claimant and in part for the Government, the court shall reduce the award of costs and attorney fees accordingly.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 975; Pub. L. 106–185, §4(a), Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 211.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§818, 827 (R.S. §§970, 979).

Section consolidates sections 818 and 827 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with changes of phraseology necessary to effect the consolidation.

The words “in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property” were inserted in conformity with the uniform course of judicial decisions. See Hammel v. Little, App.D.C. 1936, 87 F.2d 907, and cases there cited.

The qualifying language of section 827 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., requiring the claimant to pay his own costs before the return of his property was omitted as unnecessary and involving a matter more properly for regulation by rule of court. (See sections 1913, 1914, and 1925 of this title.)

(See also section 2006 of this title with respect to actions against internal revenue officers and their liability for acts in the performance of official duties.)

Amendments

2000—Pub. L. 106–185 amended section catchline and text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Upon the entry of judgment for the claimant in any proceeding to condemn or forfeit property seized under any Act of Congress, such property shall be returned forthwith to the claimant or his agent; but if it appears that there was reasonable cause for the seizure, the court shall cause a proper certificate thereof to be entered and the claimant shall not, in such case, be entitled to costs, nor shall the person who made the seizure, nor the prosecutor, be liable to suit or judgment on account of such suit or prosecution.”

Effective Date of 2000 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 106–185 applicable to any forfeiture proceeding commenced on or after the date that is 120 days after Apr. 25, 2000, see section 21 of Pub. L. 106–185, set out as a note under section 1324 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.

§2466. Fugitive disentitlement

(a) A judicial officer may disallow a person from using the resources of the courts of the United States in furtherance of a claim in any related civil forfeiture action or a claim in third party proceedings in any related criminal forfeiture action upon a finding that such person—

(1) after notice or knowledge of the fact that a warrant or process has been issued for his apprehension, in order to avoid criminal prosecution—

(A) purposely leaves the jurisdiction of the United States;

(B) declines to enter or reenter the United States to submit to its jurisdiction; or

(C) otherwise evades the jurisdiction of the court in which a criminal case is pending against the person; and


(2) is not confined or held in custody in any other jurisdiction for commission of criminal conduct in that jurisdiction.


(b) Subsection (a) may be applied to a claim filed by a corporation if any majority shareholder, or individual filing the claim on behalf of the corporation is a person to whom subsection (a) applies.

(Added Pub. L. 106–185, §14(a), Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 219; amended Pub. L. 107–56, title III, §322, Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 315; Pub. L. 109–162, title XI, §1171(c), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 3123; Pub. L. 109–177, title IV, §406(a)(1), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 244.)

Amendments

2006—Pub. L. 109–177 directed amendment of directory language of Pub. L. 107–56, §322, identical to amendment by Pub. L. 109–162. See below.

Pub. L. 109–162 amended directory language of Pub. L. 107–56, §322. See 2001 Amendment note below.

2001—Pub. L. 107–56, §322, as amended by Pub. L. 109–162, designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

Effective Date of 2006 Amendment

Pub. L. 109–162, title XI, §1171(c), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 3123, provided in part that the amendment made by section 1171(c) of Pub. L. 109–162 is effective Oct. 26, 2001.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 106–185, §14(c), Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 219, provided that: “The amendments made by this section [enacting this section] shall apply to any case pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act [Apr. 25, 2000].”

§2467. Enforcement of foreign judgment

(a) Definitions.—In this section—

(1) the term “foreign nation” means a country that has become a party to the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (referred to in this section as the “United Nations Convention”) or a foreign jurisdiction with which the United States has a treaty or other formal international agreement in effect providing for mutual forfeiture assistance; and

(2) the term “forfeiture or confiscation judgment” means a final order of a foreign nation compelling a person or entity—

(A) to pay a sum of money representing the proceeds of an offense described in Article 3, Paragraph 1, of the United Nations Convention, any violation of foreign law that would constitute a violation or an offense for which property could be forfeited under Federal law if the offense were committed in the United States, or any foreign offense described in section 1956(c)(7)(B) of title 18, or property the value of which corresponds to such proceeds; or

(B) to forfeit property involved in or traceable to the commission of such offense.


(b) Review by Attorney General.—

(1) In general.—A foreign nation seeking to have a forfeiture or confiscation judgment registered and enforced by a district court of the United States under this section shall first submit a request to the Attorney General or the designee of the Attorney General, which request shall include—

(A) a summary of the facts of the case and a description of the proceedings that resulted in the forfeiture or confiscation judgment;

(B) certified 1 copy of the forfeiture or confiscation judgment;

(C) an affidavit or sworn declaration establishing that the foreign nation took steps, in accordance with the principles of due process, to give notice of the proceedings to all persons with an interest in the property in sufficient time to enable such persons to defend against the charges and that the judgment rendered is in force and is not subject to appeal; and

(D) such additional information and evidence as may be required by the Attorney General or the designee of the Attorney General.


(2) Certification of request.—The Attorney General or the designee of the Attorney General shall determine whether, in the interest of justice, to certify the request, and such decision shall be final and not subject to either judicial review or review under subchapter II of chapter 5, or chapter 7, of title 5 (commonly known as the “Administrative Procedure Act”).


(c) Jurisdiction and Venue.—

(1) In general.—If the Attorney General or the designee of the Attorney General certifies a request under subsection (b), the United States may file an application on behalf of a foreign nation in district court of the United States seeking to enforce the foreign forfeiture or confiscation judgment as if the judgment had been entered by a court in the United States.

(2) Proceedings.—In a proceeding filed under paragraph (1)—

(A) the United States shall be the applicant and the defendant or another person or entity affected by the forfeiture or confiscation judgment shall be the respondent;

(B) venue shall lie in the district court for the District of Columbia or in any other district in which the defendant or the property that may be the basis for satisfaction of a judgment under this section may be found; and

(C) the district court shall have personal jurisdiction over a defendant residing outside of the United States if the defendant is served with process in accordance with rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


(d) Entry and Enforcement of Judgment.—

(1) In general.—The district court shall enter such orders as may be necessary to enforce the judgment on behalf of the foreign nation unless the court finds that—

(A) the judgment was rendered under a system that provides tribunals or procedures incompatible with the requirements of due process of law;

(B) the foreign court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant;

(C) the foreign court lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter;

(D) the foreign nation did not take steps, in accordance with the principles of due process, to give notice of the proceedings to a person with an interest in the property of the proceedings 2 in sufficient time to enable him or her to defend; or

(E) the judgment was obtained by fraud.


(2) Process.—Process to enforce a judgment under this section shall be in accordance with rule 69(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(3) Preservation of property.—

(A) In general.—To preserve the availability of property subject to a foreign forfeiture or confiscation judgment, the Government may apply for, and the court may issue, a restraining order pursuant to section 983(j) of title 18, at any time before or after an application is filed pursuant to subsection (c)(1) of this section.

(B) Evidence.—The court, in issuing a restraining order under subparagraph (A)—

(i) may rely on information set forth in an affidavit describing the nature of the proceeding or investigation underway in the foreign country, and setting forth a reasonable basis to believe that the property to be restrained will be named in a judgment of forfeiture at the conclusion of such proceeding; or

(ii) may register and enforce a restraining order that has been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in the foreign country and certified by the Attorney General pursuant to subsection (b)(2).


(C) Limit on grounds for objection.—No person may object to a restraining order under subparagraph (A) on any ground that is the subject of parallel litigation involving the same property that is pending in a foreign court.


(e) Finality of Foreign Findings.—In entering orders to enforce the judgment, the court shall be bound by the findings of fact to the extent that they are stated in the foreign forfeiture or confiscation judgment.

(f) Currency Conversion.—The rate of exchange in effect at the time the suit to enforce is filed by the foreign nation shall be used in calculating the amount stated in any forfeiture or confiscation judgment requiring the payment of a sum of money submitted for registration.

(Added Pub. L. 106–185, §15(a), Apr. 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 219; amended Pub. L. 107–56, title III, §323, Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 315.)

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsecs. (c)(2)(C) and (d)(2), are set out in the Appendix to this title.

Amendments

2001—Subsec. (a)(2)(A). Pub. L. 107–56, §323(4), inserted “, any violation of foreign law that would constitute a violation or an offense for which property could be forfeited under Federal law if the offense were committed in the United States” after “United Nations Convention”.

Subsec. (b)(1)(C). Pub. L. 107–56, §323(2), substituted “establishing that the foreign nation took steps, in accordance with the principles of due process, to give notice of the proceedings to all persons with an interest in the property in sufficient time to enable such persons” for “establishing that the defendant received notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to enable the defendant”.

Subsec. (d)(1)(D). Pub. L. 107–56, §323(3), substituted “the foreign nation did not take steps, in accordance with the principles of due process, to give notice of the proceedings to a person with an interest in the property” for “the defendant in the proceedings in the foreign court did not receive notice”.

Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 107–56, §323(1), added par. (3).

Effective Date

Section applicable to any forfeiture proceeding commenced on or after the date that is 120 days after Apr. 25, 2000, see section 21 of Pub. L. 106–185, set out as an Effective Date of 2000 Amendment note under section 1324 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.