Friday, April 7, 2017

Update: Civil Asset Forfeiture Is Theft Most Of The Time

I have added data from the IRS forfeiture racket. The original post only included data on the DEA.

Source: Institute for Justice and here

A recent report released by the DOJ's Office of Inspector General has revealed that, in the vast majority of cases, civil asset forfeiture is used to steal property from innocent people. The DEA is responsible for the vast majority (80%) of cash seizures in the past decade. Since 2007, the DEA has seized a total of $4.15B in cash through civil asset forfeiture. 81% of that cash, or about $3.2B, was taken without charging anyone with a crime or any judicial oversight. The DEA could not verify whether they had advanced a criminal investigation in more than half of these interdiction seizures, conducted without a warrant, that the DOJ sampled.

A similar report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has revealed that the IRS also seized assets mostly from innocent people in their criminal investigations of structuring laws. In a sample of 278 criminal investigations where the source of forfeiture funds could be determined, 91% of the investigations were conducted on businesses and people who obtained their money legally. In other words, the vast majority of the time people had their property stolen for making multiple cash deposits under an arbitrary amount ($10,000), which coincidentally allowed them to avoid an FDIC report. But the vast majority of Americans don't know about the Bank Secrecy Act so it isn't surprising that many small scale proprietors that do business in cash would violate this arbitrary and capricious law. There are numerous examples of small business owners having their bank accounts seized for making deposits in a structuring pattern, several of which I touched on back on January 2nd in Civil Asset Forfeiture, Anti-Structuring Laws And Other Spawns Of The War on Drugs

It does not matter if a single man takes your money at gun point without pretense or if a group of men who call themselves law enforcement take your money at gun point under the pretense of preventing crime; it is theft in both cases. Popular sanction and more guns does not make immoral actions moral. When the police are allowed to become the judge, jury, and prosecutor, the separation of powers written into the constitution is negated, and despotism, by definition, replaces the rule of law. The fourth amendment reinforces the separation of powers by requiring law enforcement to get a warrant from a magistrate before seizing property. The separation of judicial and executive powers is further reinforced in the fifth and fourteenth amendment by guaranteeing every citizen their day in court before law enforcement can take their life, liberty, or property. When the police are given both executive and judicial power, the U.S. slides further towards despotism and further away from the rule of law.

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