Civil Forfeitures: IRS Seizing Bank Accounts from Innocent Americans without Charges or Trials
We’ve talked about the security of the banking industry many times in the past, but the story we found today should come as a huge wake-up call to those who think their money’s safe in today’s banking system.
The American Enterprise Institute ran a story earlier this week of a Family who had their entire bank account wiped out, after the IRS used civil forfeiture laws to seize all of the money in the family’s bank account.
For over 30 years, Terry Dehko has run a small successful family owned grocery store in Fraser, Michigan. In January of this year, the IRS used civil forfeiture, a process that was originally used to go after organized crime, to seize all of the money from the family’s store bank account. The IRS took over $35,000 of the family’s money, all of this without ever filing a criminal charge or allowing them to have a day in court.
What did the family do wrong?
Not a thing! In fact, the government seized the family’s money without ever charging, or convicting them of a crime.
Civil Forfeiture laws allow the government to take your money at any time, simply because they don’t like the way you’re depositing money. Last year we covered a similar story in which a small family farm had over $70,000 of their hard earned money stolen by the government through Civil Forfeiture laws.
Just like the Dehko family, the Sower Family in Middletown, Maryland, ran a small family business and had their money seized by the government.
When the Sower family went to make a large deposit, from earnings they made selling farm goods at a local farmers market, they learned they would be required to fill out paperwork at the bank. This paperwork would then be submitted to the federal government for review.
The Sowers, decided it wasn’t worth the time and hassle, and opted to roll some of their deposit over until the next month. After all it was their hard-earned money, why should the government be able to tell them how much they can or can’t deposit into their own account? This is still America, Right?
Well, apparently deciding how you handle your own money is reason enough for the government to step in and seize your bank account; which is exactly that happened to the Sower’s bank account. Just like the Dehko family, the Sower’s deposit, which was just under $10,000, tripped some sort of government surveillance trigger.
Without a trail, and without even being accused of a crime, both families found themselves penniless.
Civil Forfeitures being Abused throughout the Country.
Last year, a New Jersey man, George Reby, was stopped on a highway for speeding. Reby, who was on his way to pay for a car that he just bought on eBay, had a large amount of cash with him, $22,000 to be exact.
Having done nothing wrong, besides speeding, he expected to receive a ticket and then be on his way. Instead, he was shocked when the Tennessee police department confiscated his money.
According to the law in Tennessee, carrying a large amount of cash instantly makes you a suspected drug dealer or terrorist, and gives the police department the right to confiscate your money. No Due Process and No Recourse.
Incredible as it sounds, you don’t have to be found guilty of a crime to have your assets claimed by the government; in some states, suspicion is enough to have your money seized. In fact, in many areas of the country civil asset forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property without charging anyone with a crime.
Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on our liberty to date. Under civil forfeiture, federal, state and local governments can seize your car, your money or other property without ever charging you with a crime.
In this country we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty; but like so many of our founding principles, we seem to be losing even the presumption of innocence.