Interest on Seized Assets - Federal Cases
In United States v. $ 277,000 U.S. Currency, 69 F.3d 1491, 1496 (9th Cir. 1995), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the trial court's conclusion that "interest earned on the money in an interest-bearing account would become part of, and would be substituted for (along with the original amount) the res itself is fully in accord with common sense."
See also United States v. $ 515,060.42 in U.S. Currency, 152 F.3d 491, 505 (6th Cir. 1998); United States v. $ 133,735.20 Seized, 139 F.3d 729, 733 (9th Cir. 1998); Larson v. United States, 84 F. Supp. 2d 218, 222 (D. Mass. 2000); but see $ 7,990.00, 170 F.3d at 845 (declining to follow $ 277,000 and $ 515,060.42).
Unlike prejudgment interest, requiring the government to pay interest actually earned merely requires the government to "disgorge benefits that it has actually and calculably received from an asset it has been holding improperly." $ 277,000, 69 F.3d at 1498. the court in $ 277,000 offered a helpful, if bucolic, analogy:
If the government seized, for example, a pregnant cow and was ultimately found not to be entitled to the cow after it had given birth, it could hardly be contended that the government had fulfilled its duty by returning the now-barren cow, but retaining the calf. Id. at 1496 .