New York City Criminal Forfeiture Defense Attorney

forfeiture - Law Offices of Hope C. Lefeber

Forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property that is connected to illegal activity. The federal government uses these laws as a weapon in white-collar criminal cases to obtain enormous judgments against criminal defendants. Federal prosecutors often seek forfeiture in addition to restitution, which can result in the government recovering significant sums of money in criminal cases. Despite this trend, few federal criminal defense attorneys focus on forfeiture when preparing their clients’ cases. As a result, the government often obtains crippling money judgments against criminal defendants.

New York City federal criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber always focuses on forfeiture as a part of the criminal charges against a defendant and works to minimize the financial impact of criminal charges on her clients.

Hope Lefeber - Forfeiture Defense in New York City

New York City white-collar criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber has been defending people accused of federal crimes for more than 30 years. She started her career as an enforcement attorney with the United States Securities & Exchange Commissions (SEC) where she learned first-hand how the government prosecutes federal white-collar criminal cases. Today, she uses that experience to defend people who have been accused of federal white-collar crimes.

Ms. Lefeber frequently represents people who have been charged with financial crimes in and around New York City. She has represented high-profile clients including Fortune 500 Company business executives lawyers, doctors, professors, individuals involved in securities transactions, educators and students, medical professionals, corporations, non-profits and people from all walks of life who have been charged or investigated by the government.

Ms. Lefeber has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for her clients who meticulously prepares every case she handles. She is hands-on in the defense of her clients and thoroughly reviews and investigates every piece of information the government will try to introduce as evidence as she challenges the government’s allegations in her efforts to seek justice for her clients.

Forfeiture in Federal Criminal Cases

Federal statutes and the Constitution allow the government to seize property that is connected to illegal activity. However, the government’s abuse of forfeiture laws has resulted in too many people having property taken from them with little recourse for recovery.

The following categories of property are subject to seizure by the government under federal forfeiture laws:

  • Contraband - property that is illegal to own, such as smuggled goods, drugs, or illegal firearms
  • Proceeds from illegal activity - money and property that can be traced to illegal activity, such as profits from illegal financial transactions
  • Tools or instrumentalities used in the commission of a crime - property that was used to commit a crime, such as computers, cars, boats, and real estate

In addition to seizing property and assets that were used to commit a crime, the federal government can also seek a money judgment against a defendant for assets that do not exist when the claim is filed but that a defendant will earn or acquire in the future. These are called substitute assets. The results of this type of seizure can be devastating.

While there are some cases in which the government seizes property before trial, forfeiture is most often used after conviction to punish a defendant. Once someone has been convicted of a crime, the government can file a civil forfeiture action, which requires a lower burden of proof to win. In a civil forfeiture case, the government only needs to show that a criminal defendant obtained the property to be seized around the time the crime was committed and that it is unlikely that the property came from another source. Unlike a criminal case, where the government must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, in a civil forfeiture claim the government only needs to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence. Because federal law authorizes a forfeiture judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the illegal activity, the government will seek a monetary judgment in cases where there is no specific property that can be seized.

Hope Lefeber - Defending You Against Federal Forfeiture Claims in New York City

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a white-collar crime in federal court, contact an experienced federal white-collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Getting a lawyer involved as early in the process as possible may deter federal prosecutors from pressing charges, and an attorney can protect your rights and help prevent you from inadvertently admitting something that could harm your case.

New York City federal criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber has more than 30 years of experience defending people accused of crimes in federal court. She is a fierce and aggressive advocate for her clients’ rights, and meticulously prepares every case she takes on. Ms. Lefeber takes a hands-on approach to her clients’ cases, and will thoroughly evaluate and investigate every piece of evidence the government intends to offer in her pursuit of justice for her clients.

Contact Ms. Lefeber today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case by calling 610-668-7929 or completing the online form.