Sunday, September 29, 2013

Feds Steal $35K From Small Grocer's Bank Account Despite Finding "No Violations" To Justify the Grab
...So you have to report deposits of over $10,000, but keeping deposits under $10,000 is considered suspicious, even if your insurance company insists on the practice. Get it?

Under the circumstances, IRS agents dropped by for a friendly chat in 2010, and then again in 2012. After the second visit, the feds sent the Dehkos a letter saying that “no violations [of banking laws] were identified.”

And then, nine months later, the IRS emptied the Dehkos' bank acount of $35,000 without warning.

In the Dehkos' case, the IRS used civil asset forfeiture, which requires no criminal action or proof of guilt on the part of a property owner to seize that property—technically, it's a legal action against the property itself. Not surprisingly, it's a hugely lucrative practice for government agencies and a hugely controversial one for everybody else. Last year, Pennsylvania Judge Dan Pellegrini called the practice “state-sanctioned theft.” Shelby County, Texas, was forced to return money and property that its officers essentially stole from motorists just passing through. Amidst much screaming from mugged constituents, Washington, D.C.'s city council is considering reforming (thought not abandoning) the practice. Some Tennessee lawmakers want to dump it altogether.

But the use of asset forfeiture, both civil and criminal, soared at the federal level under the current administration, growing from $500 million in 2003, to $1.8 billion in 2011.

The Dehkos have been charged with no crime, and still await a chance to ask a judge to force the IRS to return the money....