The IRS deliberately targeted innocents for civil forfeiture program that stole millions from Americans

Banks have to report deposits of $10,000 or more to the IRS, so some fraudsters "structure" their transactions as a string of sub-$10K payments that escape the regulatory requirement. Structuring is also illegal, and the IRS has the power to seize funds that the agency believes were part of a structuring scheme, under the discredited "civil fofeiture" process through which an inanimate object is sued for being the proceeds of a crime, and then the owner of that object has to prove that the object is "innocent."

Nebraska just abolished civil forfeiture

Crooked cops and prosecutors in Nebraska are gnashing their teeth today. The state has taken away their license to steal cash and property from innocent people and use the proceeds to fatten their bloated budgets.

In some states where civil forfeiture is still allowed, high ranking police officers drive in luxury sports cars taken from owners who were never arrested for a crime. — Read the rest

Civil Forfeiture: America's daylight robbery, courtesy of the War on Drugs

"Taken" is a blood-boiling, beautifully written expose on America's "civil forfeiture" laws by which people who are tangentially related to suspected drug offenses have their assets seized, even when no charges are filed and no guilt is found. The story, which Sarah Stillman wrote for The New Yorker, revolves around the notorious town of Tenaha, TX, a small town on US 59 where a corrupt system allowed cops to pull over people — mostly brown people — and simply take away all their possessions: their cars, their cash, even the gold crosses around their necks. — Read the rest

US Police have stolen $68 billion in the past 20 years from American citizens without due process

The nonprofit Institute for Justice has just released the 3rd edition of its Policing For Profit report, examining the abuses of civil asset forfeiture by local police across the United States. According to their data, local police departments have seized more than $68 billion dollars worth of personal property without due process over the last 20 years. — Read the rest

$1 billion bitcoin mystery solved

Earlier this week someone moved nearly a billion dollars worth of bitcoin (69,369 BTC ) from a wallet address that hadn't been active since 2015. Speculation was rampant about who it could be. Kim Jong Un? An Eastern European crime syndicate? Hackers who cracked the password (they'd been brute force attacking it for years)? — Read the rest

The DEA seized a retired railroad engineer's life savings

Between 2000-2016 the U.S. government seized over 2 billion dollars from U.S. airport travelers. The vast majority of these people were not charged with a crime. The Institute for Justice highlights one such case involving a retired railroad engineer and his daughter:

Retired railroad engineer Terry Rolin's life savings were seized by the government, but he hasn't been charged with any crime.

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Supreme Court rules against "excessive" police seizures and sales of property

Philly.com:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the court's opinion in favor of Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana. Police seized Timbs' $40,000 Land Rover when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.

Reading a summary of her opinion in the courtroom, Ginsburg noted that governments employ fines "out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence" because fines are a source of revenue.

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The secretive wealthy family behind the opioid epidemic are using the same tactics to kill public education

The Sackler Family are best known for philanthropy, but their real legacy is the opioid epidemic, which they engineered through their family firm, Purdue Pharmaceutical, which used a variety of front organizations that paved the way for massive overprescription of the company's painkillers, while covering up the flaws in the drug-testing for Purdue's products and the false claims about their safety and efficacy.

By stealing from innocents, Chicago PD amassed tens of millions in a secret black budget for surveillance gear

Since 2009, the Chicago Police Department has seized $72M worth of property from people who were not convicted of any crime, through the discredited civil forfeiture process, keeping $48M worth of the gains (the rest went to the Cook County prosecutor's office and the Illinois State Police) in an off-the-books, unreported slush fund that it used to buy secret surveillance gear.

DEA bribes rail/airline employees for tipoffs that lead to warrantless cash seizures

A USA Today investigation has discovered a network of paid informants working for Amtrak and nearly every US airline who illegally delve into passengers' travel records to find people who might be traveling with a lot of cash: these tip-offs are used by the DEA to effect civil forfeiture — seizing money without laying any charges against its owner, under the rubric that the cash may be proceeds from drug sales. — Read the rest