Alberta makes criminals pay

Do the crime, lose your car
In Alberta the 2008 legislation under Bill 50, the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payments Act, has allowed the government to gain $11.4 million from sales of real estate, cars and seizure of cash from people linked to crime.

Attorney General Alison Redford says the legislation passed which allows the government to seize such property is doing what it was supposed to do. If a person uses their car or their home to make or sell drugs and they have been able to purchase this vehicle or home from the profits of their crimes, then it could be subject to seizure. The money goes back to fund victim support agencies or to compensate victims of crime.

Last year there were 50 vehicles seized and $250,000 paid to victims of crime. The most current compensation is returning about $54,000 to the victims of an Internet vehicle sale which was fraudulent.

Over the past year, more than $11 million in real estate, cars, and cash linked to criminal activity have been removed from Alberta communities through new provincial legislation.

The Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act allows the Civil Forfeiture Office to ask the court to seize property acquired illegally as well as property used to carry out illegal acts.

Up to December 2009 there have been 64 vehicles tied to the drug trade removed from Alberta communities. The latest change has been that Civil Forfeiture lawyers have successfully argued for the forfeiture of two homes in the Calgary area used for marijuana grow operations. With almost 600 plants found in one of the homes with a street value of approximately $1,000 per plant. This gives an annual criminal profit of $1.5 million.

This latest move is to help discourage criminals from turning their homes into grow houses. The Calgary Police are optimistic that this will help them in reducing the grow-ops in the the Calgary neighbourhoods.