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US Marshals May Have Bought ‘Extravagant’ Decorations With Money Taken From Citizens

Sen. Chuck Grassley asked the United States Marshals Service to defend itself against allegations that it bought “extravagant office decorations” with money gained through asset forfeiture.

Asset forfeiture is a practice where law enforcement officials can seize citizens’ assets without convicting or charging them with a crime.

Grassley asked USMS Director Stacia Hylton in a letter to respond to allegations that the USMS purchased expensive, custom window treatments — even though they were already provided for in the building’s lease — as well as custom wallpaper, artwork, crown molding, furniture, decorations, chair rails, granite installation and a $10,000 conference table.

How much money was spent is unclear, but the number could be staggering.

Section 524(c)(1)(I) of Title 28 requires that funds obtained through asset forfeiture must be spent on “overtime salaries, travel, fuel, training, equipment, and other similar costs of State or local law enforcement officers that are incurred in a joint law enforcement operation with a Federal law enforcement agency participating in the Fund.”

Grassley said the allegations came at the direction of Kimberly Beal, assistant director of the USMS Asset Forfeiture Division.

A USMS spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that it had received the letter and would respond after reviewing the allegations. Hylton must respond by March 27.

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