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Asset seizure training to be provided by Asset Forfeiture Watch

Asset Forfeiture Watch : 25 March, 2009  (Application Story)
Certification to be provided to law enforcement officials trained in asset seizure in attempt to increase the current criminal forfeiture levels of just 1%
Citing illicit wealth and criminal proceeds as the principal engines of major crime in the United States and around the globe, Charles Intriago, a former federal prosecutor, has announced the formation of the first international body devoted to improving the skills of law enforcement officers and prosecutors in stripping criminals of their wealth.

The Association of Certified Asset Forfeiture Specialists (ACAFS) will help law enforcement officials, prosecutors and intelligence analysts do their job better through training and networking programs that will better position them to target criminal assets and improve their agency's impact and results.

ACAFS members will receive updates on important developments and analysis to keep them ahead of new practices and trends. ACAFS training will give members the essential tools they need to enhance their productivity and skills, improve their effectiveness, increase their value and advance their careers.

Intriago, who founded the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), said asset forfeiture guts criminal organizations from their ability to continue operating and to grow.

Michael McDonald, the founding interim Executive Director of ACAFS said, 'Criminals put less than 1% of their dirty money and risk of forfeiture. They earn about $500 billion from crime each year in the US but government agencies at all levels forfeit less than $4 billion. Crime is very attractive for them and their successors."

ACAFS will create a community of expertly trained forfeiture specialists and identify ways to maximize the use of forfeiture while safeguarding the public. Members will be able to participate in a range of training courses and programs geared to providing the knowledge they need to forfeit the proceeds of crime more effectively and abundantly.

McDonald said the purpose of ACAFS is to:

* Enhance the knowledge, skills and investigative expertise of the law enforcement community worldwide to identify, remove and forfeit the proceeds of crime.

* Provide ongoing training for state, local, federal and international law enforcement agents, officers, prosecutors and analysts on subjects designed to perfect the forfeiture of criminal assets and profits.

* Develop a community of specialists to engage in productive, interactive programs to enhance their skill and the success of their asset forfeiture operations. By networking and interacting with colleagues facing similar challenges, members can broaden their perspectives and share ideas.

* Provide a central clearing house for asset forfeiture career resources, job opportunities, salary surveys and training

'Criminals have no right to keep criminal proceeds or assets. Asset forfeiture breaks down the infrastructure of their organizations and reduces the incentive to commit the crime. Asset forfeiture has many benefits: It disrupts criminal activity, opens the door for investigative success and prosecution, reduces official corruption, provides money to reimburse crime victims, and connects persons, companies and businesses that would otherwise go undetected as supporting the criminal organization," McDonald said.

Intriago added, "One of the important benefits is that forfeited criminal assets bolster law enforcement and prosecution resources to fight crime and make streets safer for all citizens."

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