While asset forfeiture may evoke images of drug-related offenses for most people, white-collar crimes in fact make up a significant portion of the government’s asset forfeiture activity. Such aggressive treatment of white-collar crime makes it crucial to have an expert asset forfeiture lawyer and litigator like Michael J. Wynne to tirelessly defend your assets and balance any ongoing proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction.
When used lawfully, freezing bank accounts and other assets can be a powerful vehicle for reducing the profit – and therefore, the incentive – for crimes. But if your financial accounts or commercial or residential real estate have been unjustly targeted, this action can quickly wreak havoc on your business, family and livelihood. The repercussions can be even more serious for foreign nationals, who often face asset forfeiture and perhaps prosecution without a seasoned representative on their side.
When your future depends on your defense, not just any asset forfeiture lawyer will do. Contact Michael J. Wynne to start building your case today.
Asset forfeiture is a common tactic for investigators to disrupt the financial channels behind criminal activity. However, the assets in question are typically more than just bank accounts and can include homes, cars, business equipment and any other property suspected of being tied to crime.
Asset forfeiture can be either criminal or civil, with each category carrying its own complex regulations. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture cases, in which the government seizes assets as part of a criminal case, civil forfeitures often involve law enforcement freezing, or threatening to freeze, your assets due to a suspicion of a crime. The government can seize assets thought to facilitate a crime without proving the actual crime and, in some cases, without filing criminal charges against a single person.
In civil asset forfeiture cases, the burden is on you to prove the property in question wasn’t related to criminal activity. Given the government’s low burden of proof, it often has the upper hand in these cases. That’s especially true when the defendant is a foreign national living outside the U.S. Who you choose as your civil asset forfeiture attorney is the most important decision you’ll make – one that can result in you reclaiming what’s yours or losing it forever.
Mr. Wynne regularly advises businesses on export/import restrictions and navigating the hazards of doing business with those subject to actual or threatened U.S. sanctions. He represents those accused of violating these laws and regulations, as well as those threatened by economic espionage, teaming with former federal agents across complex specialty areas.
An indictment in the U.S. when you live elsewhere can be daunting at best. Seized assets pending extradition decisions and prosecution are a major blow to any business or individual. But when foreign nationals face asset forfeiture, there’s more than just finances on the line. Your business is suddenly in jeopardy. U.S.-based family members are left without access to bank accounts that were once their lifeline. Meanwhile, you face the challenge of proving your assets weren’t obtained from or related to any crime – something that’s difficult enough to do from within the U.S., let alone abroad.
Mr. Wynne teams with Foster Global in many of these matters, particularly where potential asylum claims are involved and in cases impacting multiple family members or their interests.
A Harvard Law educated, long-serving federal prosecutor in the most complex cases, Michael J. Wynne translates his unparalleled legal defense expertise into wins for foreign nationals whose assets are unjustly frozen. More than any other Houston defense attorney, he understands the unique challenges of foreign nationals, including the decisions whether, when and how to return to the U.S. or to come to the U.S. for the first time, when building their legal defense. His intimate knowledge spans from the texts of international extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, OFAC regulatory schemes and import/export law to old-fashioned politics and diplomacy. Simply put, he knows what it takes to assemble the right team and to build, and defend, an impermeable case.
He’s also successfully assisted foreign nationals in responding to extradition requests and in obtaining release from detention in foreign jurisdictions.
Contact Mr. Wynne today for a free consultation with Houston’s top asset forfeiture lawyer.