Score one for the American people as the Internal Revenue Service has been forced to admit that it was illegally seizing the financial assets of innocent victims. It marks a rare victory against the all-powerful federal agency and a glimmer of hope that the fascism that has been imposed during nearly eight years in the twilight zone of Obamastan isn’t irreversible.
The ripping off of law-abiding citizens or as it is more commonly known – civil asset forfeiture – was perpetrated under the guise of a regulatory trap known as “structuring”. This is defined as depositing or withdrawing amounts from a bank account that are deemed to be suspicious by the authorities. The bar is set at just under 10,000 which would seem to pretty commonplace for small business owners, many of whom were caught up in the Kafkaesque nightmare of having their own money seized and their lives wrecked for doing nothing wrong outside of having some bullshit law arbitrarily used against them.
The Daily Signal reports that “For Americans Who Had Cash Seized By Government, a Chance to Get It Back”:
In a victory for lawmakers working to make it harder for the government to take property from innocent Americans, the Internal Revenue Service plans to give people who have had money seized over the last six years the chance to petition to get their money back, The Daily Signal has learned.
According to a GOP source, the IRS told the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee that it will send letters to everyone the agency seized money from for alleged structuring violations, which involves making consistent cash transactions of just under $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements, starting in October 2009.
The GOP source said that amounts to roughly 700 cases, and those involved will have the opportunity to file petitions for remission or mitigation—akin to a petition for a presidential pardon—with the tax agency.
Once petitions are filed, the IRS will review them and determine if the petitioner qualifies to get all or some of his or her money back.
The Free Thought Project provides additional details inthe article “IRS Just Admitted it Stole Millions From Innocent People — Here’s the Catch — They’re Giving it Back”:
The IRS has seized entire bank accounts with no notice or due process, alleging the owners sought to avoid federal bank reporting requirements. The aforementioned pattern of banking is described as “intentionally structuring cash transactions,” and they call it a crime.
This nefarious provision of the Bank Secrecy Act is purportedly targeted at drug traffickers, money launderers and terrorists, but it has swept up hundreds of innocent people—including small business owners who lost everything because they deal wholly or partly in cash.
Carole Hinders, owner of a Mexican restaurant in Iowa that only accepted cash, had her entire bank account of $33,000 seized even though she did nothing wrong. The IRS seized $63,000 from Randy Sowers, a dairy farmer in Maryland, because he was depositing under $10,000 into his bank account.
Ken Quran, the owner of a convenience store in North Carolina, had his entire bank account of $150,000 seized after working nonstop for years to build it up. His crime? Withdrawing cash from his bank account in amounts under $10,000.
You can see how easily that ordinary Americans can be targeted by either abusive or incompetent authorities based on a law that is intended to go after the bad guys. However, in the post 9/11 era of fear, paranoia and the ever-expanding police state this law like so many others has been perverted far beyond whatever the original intent was.
The Free Thought Project article provides some additional good news:
After an investigation by the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, the IRS has been forced to invite 700 other property owners with closed cases to petition for their money back. However, IRS said it has identified only 75 cases where money was wrongfully seized. The true number will be known after everyone goes through the process.
In a further rebuke to the agency, members of the Oversight Subcommittee have introduced a bill “that prohibits the IRS from seizing money from people who commit structuring violations unless the agency proves the money was tied to a crime.”
These brazen acts by the IRS are only a small part of the enormous network of thievery called civil asset forfeiture that is cast upon the populace by every level of law enforcement. It has nothing to do with protecting and serving, and everything to do with policing for profit.
Countless innocent people across the country have had cash, assets and life savings stolen by local police departments, DEA and other agencies. Nothing but a fabricated suspicion of a crime is needed for this to happen, and the struggle to get one’s assets back is often not worth the effort and legal fees.
The IRS is in the process of giving the money back to those who it had robbed although people seeking to recoup their rightful property are subjected to an onerous bureaucratic process of jumping through hoops and it’s highly unlikely that they will receive any interest from Uncle Scam.
Originally published at the Federalist Papers Project.