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Right Hooks

IRS Practices Civil Asset Forfeiture — Due Process Not Necessary

Oct. 27, 2014

Civil asset forfeiture, the ability for government to seize cash and property and then forces the true owners to prove innocence, has reared its ugly head in the IRS and local police forces. The New York Times tells the story of Carole Hinders, who runs a Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. The IRS seized $33,000 from her checking account not because she broke any law, but because she consistently deposited less than the amount required to report to the IRS.

“‘How can this happen?’ Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. ‘Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?’”

“The federal government does.” [Editor’s note: sayeth the New York Times]

“Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. 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.”

This story follows the heels of the story that local police departments seize cash from motorists during traffic stops. Civil asset forfeiture is not due process. It’s a mere suspicion, and the property now belongs to the government. More…

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