Asset Forfeiture

FL Town Ordered To Surrender Millions in Forfeiture Money

Not to private citizens, but to the feds, of course

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The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour's celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals, and payments to informants across the country

After years of seizing millions from criminals, Bal Harbour's vice squad is now banned from the federal program that allowed the village police for years to seize cars, boats, and cash — and to keep a cut of the proceeds.

In a scathing letter to Police Chief Thomas Hunker, federal agents are demanding the prompt surrender of the millions reeled in last year by a team that operates from a police trailer just blocks from the opulent Bal Harbour Shops.