New York Law Journal

It’s a question that almost every veteran white-collar defense lawyer has been asked at some point by the spouse of a client facing conviction: “When this is over, if the government wins and he/she goes off to prison, what if anything will be left for me and our children?”

Autoren: Evan T. Barr

Most clients and their loved ones intuitively grasp that the government is likely to take away any ill-gotten gains resulting from the crime. But few appreciate that even indisputably legitimate assets are at risk.

When the government seeks to forfeit the proceeds of illegal activity, under the relation back doctrine, its claim to the tainted property arises from the moment at which the alleged offense giving rise to forfeiture began. The doctrine posits, in effect, that a defendant cannot legally possess that which he was never entitled to have in the first place.