Imagine you are driving down the highway on your way to buy a car. You spent months researching years, makes and models, and you finally found somebody who was selling the exact ride you were looking for at a reasonable price. Suddenly, police pull you over for allegedly going 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. Upon discovering the $8,500 in cash you have on hand, the officers take you to jail and threaten to charge you with money laundering unless you turn over the money. Frightened, you give it to them.
This may sound like something out of a Hollywood movie, but it’s a true story, and incidents like it happen all too often across the country because of our civil forfeiture laws.
Fortunately, the victim in the above story, Roderick Daniels, had his property returned by officials due to media attention and legal pressure. But the power to take property without due process continues to be abused by local, state and federal law enforcement officials. In my state of Michigan, grocery store owner Terry Dehko had his bank account seized by the IRS because it suspected him of being a money launderer. Dehko would make cash deposits in the bank across the street every night to reduce the threat of robbery and because of coverage limits on his store’s insurance policy. Charges were never filed, but Dehko had to fight in court to prove that his money was not being used in a criminal enterprise. ….To Read More….