More Government Attacks on Farmers – Feds Steals $70,000 from Small Farms Bank Accounts

farmer painting

Over the last couple of months, we have detailed numerous examples of how the government seems to be targeting small family farmers. From Michigan raiding small family farms and making it a crime to breed free range pigs, to the federal government’s attempts to make it illegal for kids to work on farms, the attacks on farmers seem to be escalating.

In the government’s latest assault on the small family farm, we learned about a family who is fighting the federal government after it seized their bank account and stole $70,000 of their hard-earned money.

It seems the Sower family, who owns the South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice under the post-9/11 “Bank Secrecy Act”. The act makes it illegal to deposit less than $10,000 if you have deposits totaling more than that. Never mind the fact that it’s your money, the feds can literally freeze and seize your account if you don’t deposit your money in accordance with the federal governments new rules.

From May 6, 2011, through Feb. 27, 2012, the Sowers say that they deposited over $295,000 in earnings. They made 36 separate transactions, each totaling under $10,000. During that period, the federal government is claiming that the Sowers receipts, from their farmer’s market sales, came to just over $320,000. And that’s where the trouble begins.

In February of this year, the Sowers earned over $10,000 from their farmers market sales. When they went to deposit the money 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? The Feds had no warrant, no reason to suspect the Sowers were involved in terrorist activities and no reason to suspect that they were laundering money. But thanks to the “Bank Secrecy Act” that was passed shortly after 9/11, none of that seems to matter. In fact, it seems the Feds can do just about anything they want with your money.

According to the ACT:
A bank must file a Currency Transaction Report for each transaction in currency (deposit, withdrawal, exchange, or other payment or transfer) of more than $10,000 by, through, or to the bank. Multiple currency transactions totaling more than $10,000 during any one business day are treated as a single transaction if the bank has knowledge that they are by or on behalf of the same person.

After the Sowers visit to their bank, they were reported to the Federal Government who then seized their bank account of $70,000.  Although the Sower family legitimately earned every cent in that account, committed no real crime, and in my opinion was just trying to maintain their privacy, the Department of Justice in now in the process of suing to keep $63,000 of family’s money.

Both Randy and Karen Sowers told The Frederick News-Post that they have done nothing wrong and had never heard of this structuring law until Treasury Department showed up at their farm to question them about deposits.

They told the local paper,

“The level we deposited was what it was and it was about the same every week,” Randy Sowers said. ” “We deposited money in the bank. That’s what we did,” he said. “That’s all there is to say.”

Without funds to operate, the family might not be able to do business this year. The government has yet again destroyed another small family farm, making the large corporate mega-farms that much more powerful. But maybe that’s exactly what they want. After all, this never would have happened to those large corporate owned farms. Those farms are Exempt.….

According to the Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual

Any entity (other than a bank) whose common stock or analogous equity interests are listed on the New York Stock Exchange or the American Stock Exchange or have been designated as a NASDAQ National Market Security listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market are exempt from the Bank Secrecy Act.

So once again, small business owners become the target of persecution while large corporate entities seem to fly right under the radar. Apparently the feds feel that corporations are above the law and would never engage in illegal activities.

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  1. This pisses me off! If we don’t get some people in government that give a crap, we’re in trouble. Why would a terrorist deposit money in an American bank anyway? There does seem to be an underlying motive here.

    • Simple answer, the government is taking it to fund in variant departments to destroy capitalism, help Obama’s re-election campaign, and or in taking the money to pay off its debts to other countries.

    • The American People don’t care what obama does. The Great Deceiver will get his Agenda Completed because the American People believe every word he speaks. They have to get back to Facebook and Dancing with the Stars.
      America deserves what it gets and it won’t be fun but that is what Americans want. The more Americans get screwed the more they like it.
      AMERICANS DON’T CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!
      You could have Hitler as President and Americans knowing his history would still vote for him.

      • uuuummmmm i thought Bush passed the Patriot Act. *sigh* typical republican. blame Obama who took office after the mess was made right? I guess the secret communist plot perpetrated by Obama to make it so everyone can go to the doctor and live a healthy life is the real terrorist plot too.

        • Please explain how forcing me to pay for the health care of others is anything other than theft. Also, please point out where the congress or president is authorized – in the Constitution – to enact a national health care law. And last, but certainly not least, please explain how we are going to pay for it, seeing how we already borrow 45 cent of every dollar that we spend.

        • Obama signed the PATRIOT act extension. If you weren’t such a goddamned hypocrite, you’d be denouncing him for that alone.

    • The Bank Secrecy Act, aka, money laundering act, was first made a law in 1970. It has had a couple of addendums added after 9/11. Obama didn’t have anything to do with this law. It forces due diligence on anyone running a business large enough to deposit over 10k daily. In 2011 the Observer reported that Wachovia, at one time a major US bank, was implicated in laundering money for Mexican drug lords, through its lax laundering controls, a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. It moved money in and out of Casas de Cambio without proper due diligence.

    • This is an atrocity , I absolutely hate these evil do’ers , they are what’s know as the brood of vipers in scripture , the Bible says they are out to KILL , STEAL & DESTROY , AN THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEIR DOING ! I also know again according to scripture they will be DESTROYED ! THE DAY CAN’T COME TO SOON FOR ME !

      • I knew it wouldn’t take long before acts of government stupidity and over-reach turned into a holy war… on a blog’s comments section.

    • Don’t get me started ……..there crooks , drug dealers , counterfeiters and killers ………….. Do u know that your doctor that went threw years and years and years of medical school learns nothing about nutrition lol pretty crazy huh there just drug pushers

  2. I really can’t believe how much abuse the American public is willing to take. Our founders would have never allowed this to happen, but I guess this country went to sleep long ago. They were to busy getting fat, watching reality T.V. and arguing over what drunk celebrity looked better to notice.

    Remember these are the same people who are talking about seizing 401k’s to pay down the debt. Your money is an illusion at this point, it can be seized by this corrupt government without notice or recourse.

  3. Folks, we all have to play by the same rules, terrorist or not. The Bank Secrecy Act which requires notice when deposits of $10,000 or more are deposited or exchanged was put in place to stop terrorists from being able to fund their own efforts in our country. If we want protection from those folks, we have to play by the same rules. Shame on the farmers for trying to manipulate the banking system when all they needed to do was fill out a form, which is required from all businesses! And perhaps there are other inconveniences caused by this law. But until it is changed, we all are required to abide. Don’t forget who put this bill into action. Yep… your dearest Republican leader, Bush. Be sure to send him your attorney bills when you have lost.

    • Angel, did you NOT read what they said? Are you daft? They said that the deposits were less than 10k. Get a fricken clue!

      • – there is a seperate form to be filled out if someone appears to structures their deposits to avoid the $10,000 reporting requirement. So, someone who changes behavior based on not wanting to fill out a CTR form (typically not filled out by the person, but by a bank employee), would be reported on a SAR, which would probly raise more flags frankly than if they just did the deposit. This is likely a case of hiding income from taxes, which is why the money was seized.

    • Bullshit dude, why you gotta throw an former president under the bus when he isnt in power anymore, its your lame king president whom is for communism whom is in power with his cronies doing this corrupted schemes. lets point fingers at people in congress and, in these federal departments now. obama is asking for our hard earned money to illegally fund his re-election campaign, totalling more than trillion dollars. but oh yea they wont prosecute him his immune from prosecution and, because hes half black. the leftwing doesnt want to go after it because it would cause an social justice breakdown.

      we been losing money before bush came into power, since your pointing fingers at bush, you need to also point fingers at the clintons too. their equally if not worse! they had Randy weaver, and branch davidian’s sweeped not by the ATF but an an overaxaggerated Democrat whom worked for the ATF whom is anti-gun, then secretary rottan clinton begged us DELTA FORCE to off them and, all of those innocent women and, children. those farmers dont wear burkas, and their kids aren’t for the stupid cheap ass aclu, they know how to earn a living by earing for their keeps where most likely your offspring and, or neices and nefews are lazier than shit, because you wont put your foot down and tell them to do something. wheres your huevos ohh that right you most likely play video games with them for hours on end.

      • @hisbilly: you are one clueless dolt if you still think that there is a lick of difference between republicans and democrats. they BOTH serve the same masters. get that through your thick skull. they are PLAYING YOU with that rep/dem malarkey to keep us divided. actually…you know what? after re-reading your last comment, I’m pretty sure that you’re a clueless dolt by choice. enjoy that…and learn how to spell. it might help you not sound QUITE so retarded. and for the record, I hate obama’s ass too. almost as much as I hate bush.

    • Perhaps we should just comply with anything that the government demands of us – in the name of fighting terrorism, of course. Maybe they can just throw some cameras up in my living room for my own protection. Why not? I don’t break the law, so I shouldn’t have any objection to them doing that, right? Better yet, we should all volunteer for daily cavity searches so that the government is satisfied that we’re not smuggling nukes in our rectal cavities. That way, we could all sleep better at night.

      If you honestly believe that reporting requirements are about fighting terrorism and not about keeping the IRS informed of your personal financial situation, then you are seriously misguided. If you are so willing to give up your privacy rights because the “almighty government” says that you’ll be safer, then please feel free to surrender all of your rights to them. I’d rather they stay out of my business.

      “But until it is changed, we all are required to abide”. Would you have abided by the law and arrested Rosa Parks for not moving to the back of the bus? Not all laws are moral and constitutional. Some deserve outright rebuke.

      P.S. Can you please tell me where the government derives the power to obtain the details of my financial transactions without a warrant?

    • Bullshit. Terrorists keep their money offshore in the Cayman islands, just like Romney does. They’re not depositing cash in American retail banks.

  4. This iThis is how the federal government establishes their dominance in crushing capitalism.

    heres a simple answer, keep less than 10 thousand in the bank and, the remaining hidden in cash, gold silver, copper around in caches like our grandfathers and grandmothers did during the depression. off the grid survival provides an easy DIY on putting survival supplies in caches, why not do so with earnings of sales from these small farms. Mexican laborers whom work for these farmers still do that to this day, especially when they save their earnings for years in paper bags and end up buying an nice car and or truck for work and family.

    • If you bothered to read and understand what is going on here, the reporting isn’t for having over $10k in bank, you could have millions and never have it reported. The reporting is done solely for depositing over $10,000 in CASH at one given time, so you could even deposit a check for say $50,000 and no reporting but deposit $50k in cash, and there is reporting. And to be clear, reporting is no big deal. Working in a bank I have filled out hundreds, some people I have done dozens on, no big deal. As long as it is legitimate, you have no problems.

  5. I do believe that the federal government keeping any of the money that was seized is a crime if there is no evidence of wrong-doing. And I agree that keeping your wealth stockpiled and out of computerized banking is by far the safest and most secure way to make sure situations like this never arise.

    However, I do want to point out that the Bank Secrecy Act has nothing to do with 9/11. This law was passed in 1970. For whatever purposes you may wish to believe. And don’t blame a president… blame the hundreds of decision-making officials within government, the people and companies that influence them, and the people who don’t bother to influence them.

    • Thank you corecollapse for speaking the truth. The reporting deposits of over $10,000 was originally put into place when the RICO Act really too shape. It was also, incidentally, enacted to make sure that individuals were being taxed on all income totaling over certain amounts, but that was just a pleasant side effect. People need to calm down and see all “news” for what it is anymore, skewed to elicit a given response. i wld find the whole article more believable if the writer bothered to use spellcheck and understood even a modicum of grammar.

  6. I hope everyone keeps this stuff in mind when they go to the polls this November. That they don’t just vote Democrat because that’s what they’ve always done, or that they don’t want to appear racist. Not just for the president but for every left leaning, progressive out there try to get into office and your pocket as well as every aspect of your life. A government large enough to give you everything you want , is large enough to take everything you have away. Unfortunately it may already be too large.

    • I’m not sure Carol Lee expecting a change in the situation by going to the polls will help. I think, after taking all the articles I’ve read on this site into consideration, that there is an even greater need to prepare/prep. Something is eventually going to happen here in the U.S. and the only REAL positive action an individual can take is by preparing and being prepared for a bad situation, like in the seven yrs of famine in Egypt in the Bible. What’s happened and is happening in the U.S. has done too much damage and it’s too late. There’s a storm a comin’ and we need to be prepared for it.

  7. Listen guys, Do I feel what is happening is crappy to these hard working folks, yes. But am I surprised that it did, no. If you go into a bank with 12k for deposit, then when you find out you have to fill out a goverment form due to being over 10k decide to only deposit 9k, the bank is required to fill out a suspisioucs activity form, that they don’t have to tell them about. enough of those and the men in black come a knockin. not that surprising.

    sorry for the misspellings(i dont care enough to go back and fix them lol)

  8. Post 9/11 bank secrecy act? This act was passed in 1970 to prevent money laundering. How does the situation of a family farm failing to fill out a required form have anything to do with terrorists? Seems like a lot of paranoid speculation to me.

  9. WHY is it that not a single person on here knows how to spell? Seriously? You guys are my comrades in anti-big government and you don’t know the difference between your and you’re. You KNOW that it will be up to us to continue civility after everything happens. Respect yourselves and our future! Look like men, not idiots!
    YOUR means it belongs to you (your house, your nose)
    YOU’RE is a conjunction of You and Are ( you’re an American)

    You guys are all intelligent and on the right track with your views and levels of concern. Don’t let poor grammar stand in the way of other people taking you seriously. It’s why all those liberal commie bastards think we’re idiots.

    • sorry, fightlikealady, I did not see your self-correction. Speaking as a lifelong liberal commie bastard, I suggest that it would be useful to examine the left-right paradigm that is being used to divide us, and realize that most ordinary people want the same things: the chance for an existence that is not dictated by arbitrary, outside forces. The Republican vs. Democrat scam is just a smokescreen these days for the real issue: tyranny vs. liberty. Obama (NDAA) is just expanding on the foundations laid by Bush (Patriot Act). There really is no discernible difference.

    • It’s just spelling, it’s not the important issue, if you want to gripe about spelling get on facebook and get on them for crap like Yolo and Cray. Your waisting time on here about it.

      • Well Ryan, Thanks for that. Someone points out that spelling and grammar are important in order to be taken seriously and you bring up a site and two new acronyms that are teh stupidest things ever, used by the stupidest people on the planet.

        Let’s be serious folks, no one takes teh toothless redneck on TV seriously because he looks and sounds like an idiot. The sheeple take our two party candidates serious because they are well spoken, well dressed and can read the proper english that is placed on the telle-prompter for them.

        If everyone here would pay more attention to spelling and grammar we would look less like a rabble of illiterate conspiracy theoriss and more like an intelligent, legitamate militia of the people and a force to be rekoned with.

  10. So I blame this farmers current problem on the bank. First off it is the banks responsibility to advise their customer that a CTR for the over $9999 transactions. Also if the customer’s regular business involves regular “CASH” transaction deposit or withdrawals over that amount there is another form that can be filled out that will exempt them from this need every single time (similar to the exemption for listed corporations on the NYSE). I would be willing to bet this farmer belongs to one of those major national corporate banks. I bet this never would have happened at a credit union, banks are not supposed to accept deposits $10k or over in cash without that form. This farmer needs to sue his bank!!!

    • It is quite unfortunate that the sharing of views turns in to so much arguing. As one of the above posts said “You guys are all intelligent and on the right track with your views and levels of concern…” funnel your passions and concerns to make a difference? We are the people…

    • Actually it’s not the bank responsibility to inform the customer that a CTR needs to be filled out before a transaction is made. Just because a person or business make multiple large amount transactions does not mean that they become “exempt”. They have to file to become exempt due to the nature of their business.

      What happened to them sucks, but don’t just go blaming banks and say that credit unions don’t follow the same Federal Rules.

  11. This is simply the most deplorable article I have ever read. Those people deserve better than that! Of course, thats what you get for paying your taxes and being a decent citizen. Now if they were a part Corporate America or A piece of shit on welfare the Feds would just leave them be. You know the country has gone to hell when its harder to be middle class than to be destitute. Thank you for posting this and keeping people like me informed.

  12. The only thing I can suggest is to stop depositing money in banks altogether. It’s not like we’re making killer amounts of interest keeping our money in these crooked institutions. Time to start stuffing that mattress with green again.

  13. The idea that having money and spending or depositing any amount should be watched by the government is insane. A terrorist could do the same damage with $10000 as they could with $500. Giving up or freedoms and liberties to be watched by anyone is wrong. This is not about security its about control. God help us. God bless America

  14. This is yet more proof that we need to end the banks, end the corporations and end the government.

  15. Obviously, theSowers (& other small farmers, separately or as members of something like a cooperative)need to get themselves listed on the stock exchange!

  16. well, well, well…..this IS about republicans and democrats..republicans and democrats dont want us having money they want the corporations to stay in control 1) because the corporations help ALL politicians by backing their causes and 2)because when we do get a little money and are able to see what is going on they dont want us to have an uprising. The government is stealing from us hard working people all the time. Every single regulation they pass will effect ALL of us in one way or another. I am waiting for the day that I will not be able to share my extra food that I grow with my neighbors because its not inspected, waiting for them to shut down my house because i have solar power and they want to force me to pay the coop that provides power here, get me for storing extra food because i am waiting for the big collapse. They want to put drones in the air and police our every move. The government has to much power in our lives. The government is antiquated and needs to be broken down and restructered. They need to get the hell out of our business and get back to worrying about foriegn affairs. The government thinks that we are stupid and cannot think for ourselves it is getting to the point where they are telling us what we can and cant do with our bodies, they tell us what to eat drink smoke and soon will be telling us when we can shit. They are trying to put women back into the 50’s and seem to think that people can live off a 1950’s wage. Capitalism is dead for the average American. Unless you have money to start a business you cant do it and try saving up when you are making minimum wage and the average rent is 450 or higher a month. Its ridiculous. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the people with money dont care, as long as they have their lavish lifestyle they think of no one else…unless of course it is in a foriegn country. Peace!!

  17. Karma is a bitch aint it….why pick on such a small thing when there are much bigger things to discuss..If you are this way about grammar i would hate to think of what you are like in other manners…i am sure you are always correcting people and expect them to be perfect in all they say and do…even though you are not…that is what most people would call a hypocrite…look past the grammar and get a feel for what the person is saying…quit looking for ways to critcize people for their flaws and look for the goodness..

    • ness, Perhaps I should not point this out, but I know I am an asshole so deal with it. Go look up the deffinition of hypocrite before you use it again.

  18. Remember this case the next time some idiot tells you that the government protects us from big business. The ENTIRE purpose of economic regulations is to favor the biggest bribe-payers at the expense of small businesses and consumers.

  19. You know , sometimes I wish we could just stop talking about all this government is doing on ALL levels , and just rise up & take action against these pockets of festering pus that spread their disstruction on we the people ! After all I would say they are pretty much out numbered .

  20. The gov does not want small farm to survive. This way they control what the public eats and what you get when they try to lock us up. The only way these freeloaders can make money is to steal it from those who work for it. You can protect yourself from crooks, but this type is protected with your tax dollars.

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