September 26th, 2013
Do you still keep a hefty portion of your savings in a U.S. bank?
If so you may want to reconsider your options. Because if the following report from the Institute of Justice is any indication, nothing you hold in a private bank account account is safe anymore.
The IRS thinks so.
For over 30 years, Terry Dehko has successfully run a grocery store in Fraser, Mich., with his daughter Sandy. In January 2013, without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos’ store bank account (more than $35,000) even though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
Their American Dream is now a nightmare.
Federal civil forfeiture law features an appalling lack of due process: It empowers the government to seize private property from Americans without ever charging, let alone convicting, them of a crime. Perversely, the government then pockets the proceeds while providing no prompt way to get a court to review the seizure.
On September 25, 2013, Terry and Sandy teamed up with the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court. A victory will vindicate not just their right to be free from abusive forfeiture tactics, but the right of every American not to have their property wrongfully seized by government.
Every year the government of the United States seizes tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money and redistributes these funds to “black” projects which are often unaccounted for. On September 10th, 2001, for example, Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the D.O.D. had lost around $2.3 Trillion. The funds were unaccounted for and any investigation into where they went ended the following day when the office holding the records in question was reportedly destroyed in the Pentagon attack.
No one was held to account. No one went to jail. No one was punished.
There are no warrants, no charges, no court proceedings. They just take it. And if you don’t comply, they’ll send an IRS SWAT team through your front door and imprison you.
What’s frightening about the experience of Terry and Sandy Dehko is that just months prior to their seizure of their assets the Internal Revenue Service completed an audit indicating that all of their records were legitimate, and their small business was operating within the guidelines of Federal tax law.
When surveillance state flagging algorithms spotted them depositing suspicious amounts of money just below the $10,000 required federal reporting limit into their bank account, a necessity for the Dehkos because their insurance only covered up to $10,000 in losses, they were red flagged by automated monitoring systems as possible money launderers.
Their $35,000 was subsequently seized after the IRS filed a secret warrant (a lot of that going around these days) accusing them of “structuring.” Because of the nature of civil forfeiture laws they now have to fight for their own money and prove their activities were legal. The IRS required no proof whatsoever.
An accusation was enough.
These heavy handed practices will not get any better going forward, especially considering the fiscal state of our nation.
The IRS and other government agencies are booming, hiring on thousands of new employees for enforcement, and arming them with assault weapons and ammunition for those who reuse to comply.
Last year the government took in over $4 billion in forfeiture money. How much of that was from Americans like the Dehkos, who did nothing wrong?
Do you need any more reason to get out of the banking system, or will you wait until they take everything you’ve worked for?
Related: Help the Institute of Justice stop civil forfeiture