Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $880,882)
The Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) will help communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provide for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. This competitive grant announcement focuses on initiatives in eight areas: 1) preventing and reducing violent crime through community-based data-driven approaches; 2) providing funding for neighborhood-based probation and parole officers; 3) reducing mortgage fraud and crime related to vacant properties; 4) hiring of civilian support personnel in law enforcement (training staff, analysts, dispatchers, etc.); 5) enhancing forensic and crime scene investigations; 6) improving resources and services for victims of crime; 7) supporting problem-solving courts; and 8) national training and technical assistance partnerships.
Under category 3, the Utah Attorney General's Office will develop an asset preservation, seizure, and forfeiture team that will serve law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies throughout the state to combat mortgage fraud and lessen its impact on citizens, financial institutions, and the economy.
The Utah Preservation of Assets and Asset Seizure Team (UPAST), in close coordination with federal agencies, will perform comprehensive financial investigations of criminal enterprises that are committing mortgage fraud in Utah. These financial investigations will be performed parallel to the criminal investigations that are being performed by the state, local, and federal agencies who solicit UPAST's services. Assets of the criminal organization will be located and preserved for restitution early in the investigation. Assets will be forfeited in situations where the seizure and forfeiture of assets is warranted. The team's actions will provide for victim restitution, will aid in the prosecution of criminal organizations, and will remove the economic structure of the illegal enterprise. The team will also provide financial investigation training for law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to increase their capabilities in the seizure and forfeiture of assets obtained by unlawful activity.