On March 31, Attorney General Holder announced that DOJ would narrow the circumstances in which it seeks forfeiture in connection with “structuring” offenses.  Structuring occurs when, instead of conducting a single transaction in an amount that would require a financial institution to make a report or maintain a record, a violator conducts a series of currency transactions, purposely keeping each transaction at an amount below the relevant threshold to avoid triggering the record-keeping requirement.  Although it is a stand-alone offense, structuring often occurs in connection with other criminal activity.  Under the new policy, prosecutors will not seek judicial warrants to seize accounts involved in structuring unless (1) criminal charges have been filed, (2) the prosecutor develops probable cause of additional criminal activity and a supervisor approves that determination, or (3) the U.S. Attorney or the Chief of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section personally determines that seizure would serve a compelling law-enforcement interest.  Through its new policy, DOJ also imposed additional protections after a seizure has taken place.  Prosecutors must promptly direct a seizing agency to return funds once the prosecutor determines that there is insufficient evidence to prevail at trial; a criminal indictment or civil complaint must be filed within 150 days of the date that funds are seized, otherwise the funds must be returned; and when a government agency reaches a settlement in connection with a structuring offense, it must submit a written agreement approved by a federal prosecutor.