Photo of Seth Fier

ThinkstockPhotos-452970107In an effort to lessen the risk that businesses and individuals performing legitimate financial transactions will have funds frozen through a prosecutor’s use of forfeiture laws, on March 31, Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidance concerning asset forfeiture in structuring offenses.  The new policy restricts the use by prosecutors of civil or criminal asset forfeiture for structuring until after a defendant has been criminally charged or found to have engaged in additional criminal activity.  A typical structuring offense is where a single currency transaction with a financial institution (generally above $10,000) is broken into a series of transactions by an individual for purposes of avoiding the filing of a currency transaction report by the financial institution.  Structuring at times accompanies charges of other criminal activity such as money laundering, but can also be charged as a standalone offense.