Skip to comments.United States v. $35,651.11 (The cash in the account of Schott's Supermarket)
Posted on 10/04/2013 12:32:27 PM PDT by Rusty0604
Can the government use civil forfeiture to take your money when you have done nothing wrongand then pocket the proceeds? The IRS thinks so.
For over 30 years, Terry Dehko has successfully run a grocery store in Fraser, Mich., with his daughter Sandy. In January 2013, without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos store bank account (more than $35,000) even though theyve done absolutely nothing wrong. Their American Dream is now a nightmare.
Federal civil forfeiture law features an appalling lack of due process: It empowers the government to seize private property from Americans without ever charging, let alone convicting, them of a crime. Perversely, the government then pockets the proceeds while providing no prompt way to get a court to review the seizure.
On September 25, 2013, Terry and Sandy teamed up with the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court.
(Excerpt) Read more at ij.org ...
Hard earned cash seized. Meanwhile Eliot Spitzer walks for multiple violations of not only the bundling law, but also procuring prostitutes over state lines. Both are federal offenses.
What was their reason for seizing the money?
From the complaint filed it seems as though the grocery store made some deposits of over $10,000 in cash even though it is not against the law for legitimate businesses to do so. The money was seized without warning.
See my post #5. If you scroll down at the link there is a pdf of the full complaint.
Those cash sales start to add up. IRS uses these tactics on drug dealers also. I have a friend that used to buy stuff for his retail business in cash to avoid taxes. He got caught at the airport with 15K in cash and they took it.
There are laws on this in most states.
All yer peasant money are belong to us, serf.
Because they can, and YOU can’t do anything about it?
I have made daily deposits for businesses that many days included more than $10,000 in cash. The bank just had me fill out the type of business and transactions on a form at first to fulfill their reporting requirements and that was it.
I have seen stories where individuals had large sums of cash seized and some never got it back even when they could prove where it came from. Other types of property can be seized also. It helps give the cops a bonus.
The British Vice-Admiralty Court shipping seizures from the American colonists before the Revolutionary War were more fair.
This is just armed robbery.
That’s not a very good solution. Plus the “revenuers” took the cash from his bank account. They didn’t show up at the door.
Soooo..... it’s illegal to have money? Repubs should jump on this and change it.
I read the pdf that discusses the plaintiff’s version. Couple things make me shake my head...they were warned a couple of times that their banking procedures were ‘suspect’ but they continued to do business the same way over and over. They used the ‘English is a second language’ as an argument for not understanding the law. And they said they were forced to make these deposits because their grocery store did a lot of cash business.
Regarding the last argument...I know the grocery business very well...and very few people use cash for large purchases anymore. It’s a debit, check or card transaction most of the time. The article doesn’t say how often the store deposited cash...so I don’t know if they’re talking about multiple deposits a day or week.
The whole thing is a little odd and I’m not sure we have the whole story. I don’t accept the government’s right to seize property or monies w/o due process. But I also don’t accept the whole “I don’t speak English” so I don’t have to follow your laws either.
The whole “asset forfeiture” was passed as part of the Rico Act in the WOD. This along with hundreds of other right-stealing laws are why I support the end of the WOD and decriminalizing recreational drugs. The damage to our rights far outweighs the damage done by your average pot smoker.
I didn’t see the “English a second language” part but #23 on page 5 says that they underwent an examination and no violations were found.
I think it depends on a store’s clientele whether credit, debit cards and checks are used. A lot of people don’t have them; they cash their checks at a check cashing store and pay their utilities there with cash, then pay cash for everything else.
Jeff... No not illegal to have money but it is a crime to hold over $ 10,000.00 in cash. Not that they will lock you up but they can take the cash.
LOL, “reason”? Seriously? I think you know better than that.
“From the complaint filed it seems as though the grocery store made some deposits of over $10,000”
I think you have it backwards. The problem was that they were keeping their deposits under $10k - ‘structuring’. The bank may have filed a a SAR. Most folks think that it takes a cash transaction of over $10k to generate a SAR, but the law has changed.
It is actually worse than that. The store was routinely making cash deposits of less than $10,000. Banks are required to report cash transactions over that amount. The perversity of the situation (and the display of arrogance and intrusiveness of the federal government) lies in the fact that the store was targeted and its assets seized because it was not meeting the guideline for suspicion... which the government says is suspicious.
This is essentially armed robbery. It isn't even theft "under color of law", which is rampant, as no laws were broken and the store owners were not accused, charged or convicted of any crime. When government acts in this manner, violence is warranted. It scares me that our federal government acts in this manner and leaves citizens with little other option.
I think that you need to dig a little deeper into this case. From what I saw, the victim’s excuse was that their insurance policy would not cover cash on premises losses in any amount more than $10k. So it would make perfect sense for them to deposit before cash on hand exceeds this amount, language barrier or not.
Pretty sure that $10K requirement is for international travel. You simply have to declare it if you have it on your person.
I did read that part about insurance. I still don’t think we have all the facts. Most retail stores I’ve consulted with use a security pick up/delivery when they have a lot of cash being delivered or needing depositing.
I am not accusing these store owners of anything...I’m just not sure the whole story is being made public.
I certainly hope that if they prevail in court...they get their money back...w/ interest.
That's not right. Free country, huh? I don't think so, hasn't been for too many years.
Their insurance would not cover over $10,000.00 if they were robbed. So they made several deposits a day to make sure that they stayed under the $10,000.00 mark.
I used to work in a gas station and when there was a shift change there was a bank run and in the middle of the shift there was a bank run. It was as simple as that to make sure we never had large amounts of cash on hand because that prevented us from getting hit by gangs. Our under a thousand dollars was not worth their time.
So it is not just the insurance but about not making yourself an attractive target.
You miss the point. They did not want to have a lot of cash being deposited or delivered. Small amounts are safer for every one.
They did not want to have large amounts of cash on hand so they put it in the bank.
Really? Got a citation for that?
“Upon conclusion of the audit, Dehko Foods received a
notice dated April 18, 2012, stating that
no violations were identified”
Now THIS is interesting——no violations. (From the PDF document)
Michigan -> Fraser Grocery store owner Lawsuit against IRS
Governments use of civil forfeiture to take money belonging to the Dehkos for allegedly making deposits into Dehko Foods PNC Bank account for the purpose of avoiding currency reporting requirements that apply to cash transactions above $10,000.
No, I did not miss the point. We don’t have a disagreement.
I’m saying the store’s version of events does not match my experience in dealing w/ retail stores. It doesn’t mean they did anything wrong. It means I don’t think the whole story has been made public.
There is no where in the articles provided that it says what the deposit amounts were...just that the owners consistently made deposits under $10,000. Their version is that they didn’t understand the law because English was a second language: because their store did a high percentage of cash business; and that their insurance company would not insure a loss in excess of $10,000 cash.
I am saying 2 out of 3 of those arguments don’t make sense to me based on the information we have presented and based on my experience w/ these kind of businesses.
That about sums it up. Its getting scary.
And when the rioting in the streets over government excess the MSM will plead “But why? Why are you doing this?”
They don't arrest you just your money.
Now I re-read it and you’re right. So now they watch you if you make a deposit over $10,000 and multiple deposits under $10,000.
I they don’t quit QE pretty soon and inflation ever kicks in it’ll take $10,000 to buy a loaf of bread and then we’ll all be screwed.
THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT! And for what it's worth, there's no language barrier,
FWIW, it's on the NW corner of 14 mile and Garfield, I drive by it several times a week.........It's a perfect grocery store in a perfect location in a neighborhood that also includes a Meijer mega store about a mile away. The fact that this store competes and thrives with that competition is a testament to the way they run their business and the loyalty of customers in the neighborhood..........
This is a travesty of justice.....
Here's an original plea for help from the owner.......
Bingo, you got it! They didn't do anything wrong..........
Are Innocent Citizens at Risk of Police Seizure of Their Cash, Cars and Homes?
many folks are unfamiliar with the idea of civil forfeiture, which is actually a case brought against, directly against a piece a property, where you don’t need to be proven guilty of a crime for your goods to be taken away. And many of the conventional protections that you have under the criminal process are not afforded to you in a civil forfeiture case.
RAY SUAREZ: So, there’s no trial. There’s no requirement to provide evidence to prove the state’s suspicion. They just take your stuff.
SARAH STILLMAN: Exactly.
And you don’t even have the right to a lawyer. So, conventionally, if you’re facing the loss of your home or the loss of your car or cash, normally, at the very least, you would have someone who is able to represent you in these claims.
In places like Washington, D.C., you have to even pay $2,500 simply for the right to contest the case. And you’re, again, not entitled to representation when you do that. So it can be a very costly process and also just a very confusing, arduous process to figure out, how do you contest?
laws vary tremendously from state to state, so, in many places, again, with things like not being entitled to a lawyer and also with the idea that often you have maybe 20 days to contest or 30 days to contest. And if you can’t figure out how to do so in that time period, your goods are automatically seized.
So many people lose them simply by default.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ive always paid my taxes and have never been arrested or charged with any crime in my life. I am a successful small-business man. But in January of this year, I woke up to find that my business entire bank account more than $35,000 had been wrongly seized.
Later that same day, I was writing checks to my vendors. A federal agent strolls in. She tells me my hard-earned cash was taken by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I was shocked. Ive broken no law, committed no crime and was never warned my store could be in trouble. I asked her how I can keep managing my business when my account has been seized. She responded, I dont care.
How could this happen in America? To fight this injustice, I am filing a lawsuit in federal court.
I own Schotts Market, a grocery store in Fraser, Mich. In 1970, I left Iraq for the United States so I could practice my Christian faith free from persecution and truly live the American Dream. I started a family, became an American citizen, and, eight years after coming here, I bought my market. For 35 years, Ive run Schotts with the help of my children and created dozens of jobs in our community. To this day, I still work seven days a week to provide for my family.
The IRS has turned my American Dream into a nightmare. With my $35,000 unjustly taken, cash flow is now very tight. In the three decades Ive run my shop, I have never had to pay a vendor late until that week in January. My daughter and I are doing everything we can to make sure our workers get paid and Schotts stays afloat. I have been forced to dip into my own personal accounts to preserve my business.
The government falsely accused me of violating federal banking laws by making frequent cash deposits of less than $10,000. It is illegal to make deposits of less than $10,000 in cash if you are doing it to avoid regulations that require the banks to report larger deposits to the IRS. Its not against the law, though, to make smaller deposits when there is a legitimate, legal business reason. That is exactly what I have been doing.
My clerks routinely deposited cash earned at Schotts at a bank right across the street. Its never a good idea to risk letting too much money accumulate on-site. Like many other small businesses, my stores insurance policy specifically limits coverage for cash losses to $10,000.
The government would have learned that if it asked me, but it didnt.
Just last year, we were audited by the IRS to make sure we complied with anti-money-laundering laws. The IRS gave us a clean bill of health. Our store has been making deposits this way for decades, and the IRS looked through our books during the audit. Yet no one said anything to me about violating any law. The IRS even sent me a letter about their audit saying, No violations were identified. Without any warning, officials just cleaned out my bank account.
Remarkably, the government doesnt even have to charge me with any wrongdoing to keep my money. Many people know about criminal forfeiture, which allows police to seize the ill-gotten gains of convicted criminals. In my case, the government used civil forfeiture, which lets the government take money from people who have never been charged with any crime.
Adding insult to injury, federal civil forfeiture law does not even grant me a hearing before or soon after they snatched my account. Theyve had my money for 10 months. Ive been forced to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers just to get a hearing before a judge. Even more bizarre, under civil forfeiture, the governments case is not against me, but against my property.
This is why the official case has the ridiculous name, United States of America v. $35,651.11 in U.S. Currency. This is not just absurd; its unconstitutional.
That is why I joined with the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm that defends property rights nationwide, to sue the government in federal court. I have done nothing wrong.
I am a law-abiding American citizen who wants the IRS to respect the Constitution. The government should not use civil forfeiture to take property from people like me who have committed no crime.
We are fighting not just for my business, but for all Americans who could fall victim to civil forfeiture.
This crap really irritates me. They treat him like a criminal for trying to keep a secret from government when it wasn’t even what he was trying to do. Furthermore its none of government’s business how much money he puts in the bank at a given time.
If you recall, this is how they managed to embarrass Rush Limbaugh over the oxycontin. Large withdrawals from his bank account.
When all else fails, follow the money trail. Could it be that Mr. Dehko was a victim of the IRS scandal?
Except if your client demographic is mostly illegal aliens who do everything on a cash basis.
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