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Guide to Federal Government Sales Department of Justice

Guide to Federal Government Sales - Department of Justice

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Image of the Department of the Justice's LogoDepartment of Justice

U.S. Marshals Service

What is sold

The U. S. Marshals Service (USMS) sells property to the public that has been forfeited under laws enforced and administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its investigative agencies (the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and certain other Federal law enforcement agencies. More than 14,000 items of property are sold annually with gross sales of $200 million.

The property consists of both residential and commercial real estate, business establishments, financial instruments, and a wide variety of personal property such as vehicles, boats, aircraft, jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, and other personal property.

How items are sold

Forfeited property is sold through a variety of methods including auction, sealed bid, and Internet sales. Most forfeited property is sold by professional auctioneers and brokers who are under contract to USMS. The contractors, usually auctioneers, sell vehicles, boats, jewelry, art, antiques, aircraft, and other personal property. Normally, real property is sold by real estate brokers through multiple listing services. Some forfeited property is sold by the U.S. General Services Administration under an agreement with USMS. USMS also occasionally conducts sales.

How sales are advertised

Generally, forfeited property is advertised for sale in the classified section of major newspapers in the area where the property is located. Advertisements for the sale of special interest items can also be found in national association and trade publications, in specialized periodicals, and on the websites of USMS and some of its contractors. USMS does not maintain a list of forfeited property for sale or a mailing list to notify prospective buyers of upcoming sales.

Special restrictions/conditions

The law under which USMS disposes of forfeited property provides no authority for donations.

DOJ employees, USMS contractors, their families, and criminal defendants cannot bid on or purchase forfeited property.

Guaranteed payment such as cash or certified check is required. Some of the sales contractors may accept credit cards.

Forfeited property is usually sold at its fair market value. USMS reserves the right to reject any and all bids in a given forfeiture sale.

For more information

USMS maintains a National Sellers List (NSL) that is available to the public. The NSL is a list of USMS contractors and other Federal agencies that sell property to the public for USMS. The NSL may be accessed by consulting either the USMS web-site at or the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) website at

You may request a copy of the NSL by calling the USMS fax-on-demand service at (202) 307-9777. You also may order a copy of the NSL from FCIC by sending your name, address, and a check or money order for $1.00 payable to "Superintendent of Documents" to:

Federal Citizen Information Center
Dept. 319K
Pueblo, CO 81009
1 (888) 8 PUEBLO toll-free (that's 1-888-878-3256)

Contact the district U.S. Marshal who is listed under the U.S. Marshals Service of the Department of Justice in the "U.S. Government" listings of the telephone directories of the major cities in your state, or write:

U.S. Marshals Service
Office of Public Affairs
OS #3, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20530-1000

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

See the "Department of Treasury" section for more information on this agency's forfeited sales program.

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