5/5/15 Robbing The Public

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For thirteen years, Lyndon McLellan made his living as the owner of L&M Convenience Mart.  A small store in rural North Carolina that sells gas and typical convenience store items.

Over the years, McClellan accumulated nearly a 108,000-dollar nest egg.

Last year, the IRS seized this modest retirement.

Under criminal asset forfeiture, the government can seize money and assets it’s shown to be the proceeds of criminal activity.  After there’s been a conviction.

In civil asset forfeiture, it seizes money and assets before a conviction.  Before a trial.  Before someone’s been charged with a crime.

[The IRS used its “structuring” rule to seize the money in which it alleges individuals who make frequent deposits under the $10,000 mandatory reporting minimum must be engaging in criminal activity. This underscores the agency employees’ ignorance of small businesses that deal with cash and overlooks legitimate reasons to avoid the $10,000 reporting threshold. Some extremely busy business owners may want to avoid the time-consuming process of completing notification paperwork.  Also, some insurance companies limit reimbursing cash losses to under $10,000.]

This is the case of Lyndon McClellan.  He’s not been charged with a crime.  The IRS doesn’t even allege he committed a crime.

The position of the tax agency is if McClellan can’t prove he got the money legally.  Then it must be illegal.  So it’s keeping his money.

This is more common than you think.  Billions of dollars have been seized by federal, state and local law enforcement in recent years.  It’s often referred to as “policing for profit” as many agencies spend the money with little or no accountability.

The practice is so brazen that some police departments — such as in Washington, DC — actually budget how much money they will seize each year.   Illustrating it has nothing to do with criminal activity.  It’s literally stealing from the public.

[Read more on this topic here.]

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