Filtering by Category: Asset Forfeiture

A Recipe for Disaster

Here's an interesting follow up thought to our earlier post about asset seizure for depositing less than $10,000 in cash too often.

Commercial sales of marijuana are now legal in the state of Colorado but are still illegal at a Federal level, despite the Department of Justice's (temporary?) decision to not enforce the laws covering this. However, there are still Federal banking laws and regulations in place that prohibit credit card companies from executing transactions for "criminal enterprises," forcing these state-legal businesses to rely entirely on cash transactions.

Given the volume of business they are doing, this puts these shops in the position of risking robbery by keeping large quantities of cash in their physical possession or doing regular cash deposits into their bank accounts.

Regular deposits. Likely, in amounts under $10,000. The combination of which can target you for asset seizure by the IRS, without your having been charged with any crime, and whether or not the income source is legal. Which this is... except when it isn't.

Whatever your feelings may be about legalized marijuana, stop and think about this. Our Department of Justice, the highest level of law enforcement in the land, has declared that it will selectively enforce laws on a political whim and without coordination with another powerful bureau which has the power to seize citizens' assets without benefit of trial - or even crime.

Our national structure of laws has become an unstable tower of arbitrary and inconsistent regulation. What we believe to be a crime may actually now be legally acceptable - in certain areas, under changing conditions. Likewise, the legal behavior in which we've been engaging for years may have become a crime - or "punishable non-crime" - in the last week and we simply haven't been "caught" yet.

Whether this should be defined as incompetence or insanity is unclear but I believe it is safe to label it as unacceptable.

How to be a criminal, without even trying

In the gun-owning community, those who oppose background checks are often chided with, "Well, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Stop being so paranoid."

Well, these people had nothing to hide, either - or so they thought. And they have plenty to fear now, with tens of thousands of their hard-earned dollars being seized by their own government as punishment for the crime of regularly depositing legally-earned money in quantities below $10,000.

From the article:

"The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report...."

"The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up...."

"There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant."

Remember this the next time you equate a person's desire for privacy from government with their guilt of some wrongdoing.