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Dishwasher gets cleaned
PalmBeachPost.com ^ | January 31, 2007 | Editorial

Posted on 01/31/2007 1:12:31 PM PST by primeval patriot

U.S. District Judge James Cohn has forced a Guatemalan dishwasher to surrender nearly all his life savings to the government because he didn't sign a declaration form before trying to board an airplane.

Pedro Zapeta of Stuart had $59,000 in his bag when Customs agents searched it and confiscated the money at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Sept. 18, 2005. Mr. Zapeta, a 39-year-old Mayan whose native language is Quiche, has said that he was unaware of the requirement to disclose amounts greater than $10,000. On Monday, Judge Cohn ruled that the $10,000 was all that Mr. Zapeta could keep. He must forfeit the rest - $49,000. Mr. Zapeta has no real option for appealing, and is likely to be deported soon.

"It is unconscionable for the government to take that money," said Robert Gershman, Mr. Zapeta's attorney. "They do it because they can. That's the only reason. It's just not right. He could have left with all $59,000 if he had signed the form."

In his six-page ruling, Judge Cohn said that the government had dropped earlier claims that the cash was drug money, and that prosecutors were accusing Mr. Zapeta of a civil currency violation, not a criminal offense. Mr. Gershman argued that Mr. Zapeta should pay a fine of no more than $5,000 for being negligent; he never had flown on a plane. "There is no rule of thumb in these cases," the lawyer said. "They shouldn't just rubber-stamp them with a decision like this."

Mr. Zapeta entered the country illegally 11 years ago and worked as a dishwasher for numerous Stuart restaurants, often holding two jobs at a time for little more than minimum wage. He intended to start a business with relatives upon returning to Guatemala. Mr. Gershman believes that the dishwasher's immigration and social status worked against him: "If Mr. Zapeta were a professional man, or more intellectual, or more mainstream, there's no question that he would not have been treated this way."

This is the guest worker President Bush has in mind when he proposes immigration reform. Pedro Zapeta didn't come to stay. He came to make investment money he can't make back home. Having done so, he was ready to deport himself. Judge Cohn had a chance to make sense out of this bureaucratic bungling. Instead, he displayed little logic and even less compassion.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: aliens; assetforfeiture; dealer; drug; govwatch; hegeliandialectic; immigrantlist; wod
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To: dynachrome

Fair enough. I'm not a huge fan of this law, either. I just don't think many people realize that the fact this illegal alien did not pay taxes on his income is an unoperative fact in this case.


101 posted on 01/31/2007 1:52:05 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: primeval patriot

DEPORT HIM NOW!(and keep all the money)


102 posted on 01/31/2007 1:52:15 PM PST by Buffettfan (VIVA LA MIGRA! - LONG LIVE THE MINUTEMEN!)
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To: Fierce Allegiance

Money was earned as the result of a crime (illegally entering and residing in the US). No reason he should be able to keep the $10,000 either.

If they did this to all illegal aliens apprehended I'd guess the number of illegals would drop dramatically. To bad they only do it in the name of the WOD and not to enforce more important laws.


103 posted on 01/31/2007 1:52:15 PM PST by flashbunny (If the founding fathers were alive today, they'd be plucking feathers and boiling tar.)
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To: wideawake

OK, how do you know he is guilty?

Was there a trial? Was he given an attorney to defend himself against the charges?

No. This is an administrative punishment, meted out by the executive with no oversight, and no access to justice.


104 posted on 01/31/2007 1:53:02 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: flashbunny

They should also confiscate moneys earned by employers of illegals, right before the jail sentence starts.


105 posted on 01/31/2007 1:53:16 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance ("Campers laugh at clowns behind closed doors." GOHUNTER08!)
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To: VeniVidiVici
What if he claimed married on his tax returns with 5 kids so was getting about $8k from the government free and clear every year?

Then the money still would have been confiscated. Next question?

106 posted on 01/31/2007 1:53:35 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Hildy

Hildy,

He is here illegally. He is a CRIMINAL period. Nothing past this poing matters.


107 posted on 01/31/2007 1:53:54 PM PST by Buffettfan (VIVA LA MIGRA! - LONG LIVE THE MINUTEMEN!)
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To: AppyPappy
He can work hard enough to save $50k but it was too much work to apply for citizenship

Maybe he didn't want to live in a country where the courts can confiscate the life savings of the citizens

108 posted on 01/31/2007 1:54:05 PM PST by dread78645 (Evolution. A doomed theory since 1859.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

"He's "illegal". FOr many here, that means he got off lucky -- he should have been shot in the back. "

Don't forget to mention they'd kill all the jews just like the real nazis they are!

Hyperbole much?


109 posted on 01/31/2007 1:54:46 PM PST by flashbunny (If the founding fathers were alive today, they'd be plucking feathers and boiling tar.)
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To: A message; lepton
The signs are very, very clear, without a proper declaration of funds over $10,000 leaving the country the government clearly states they can take every last drop of cash you are taking and possibly take further action against the offender.

Moreover they are posted in Spanish as well, which is why this guy is now claiming his only language is Quice.

110 posted on 01/31/2007 1:55:39 PM PST by wideawake
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To: dread78645

So why did he?


111 posted on 01/31/2007 1:55:56 PM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: wideawake
True, but the law about declaring currency is pretty well known.

True enough. I was just making a statement about the general state of our system.

112 posted on 01/31/2007 1:56:10 PM PST by NittanyLion
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To: Buffettfan

you're talking to a bleeding heart - don't waste your time with logic.


113 posted on 01/31/2007 1:56:10 PM PST by flashbunny (If the founding fathers were alive today, they'd be plucking feathers and boiling tar.)
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To: farlander

Other than social security, he might not have made enough money to have to pay taxes. In fact, his salary might have been so low that he would have qualified for earned income credits to offset his social security.

And I oppose these laws which allow administrative "seizures" of property, simply on the basis of possession. The government should have to prove you violated the law in a COURT, with a trial. They shouldn't get to just call you guilty and exact punishment.

That's the kind of "justice" you expect from some puppet dictatorship, or two-bit shakedown town.


114 posted on 01/31/2007 1:57:04 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: primeval patriot
Ok somebody raise your hand...

How many of you know any legal immigrants who have worked 11 years at minimum-wage jobs and managed to "save" $59,000...? Anybody?

*crickets*

As for that loudmouth lawyer, can he actually cite any case where a similar person was deprived of his cash where he could prove within reason, bank accounts, income vs. expenditures, by whatever means, that it was all money legally and honestly earned?

For whatever its worth, if any version of the criminal's story might be true, I think this illegal might have worked the system for living expenses, healthcare while he stashed his under the table earnings...
It's possible, but very unlikely.

115 posted on 01/31/2007 1:57:36 PM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: farlander

If he was paid minmun wage he may have paid for taxes. But tell me what services he got. Did he get welfare? Illegal, I doubt it. He probly shared floor space and took a bus to work. Just because he was frugal we do not own his money. He earned it. He should keep it. I personally think the requirement to declare any amount over 10,000 a sign of a police state. I understand they watch for drug and now terrorism but still the amount I have in cash and plan to take home is not a free persons obligation to tell the state. However if I am not free then it is my obligation.

I see too much of automatic govt is right here on Free Republic. The government is the one entity that can take your life , property and freedom. That is why we fought to be free. However even the English back then had more freedom than this.

Just because he came here illegally does not give me the right to steal his money, nor does it give the state that right in my name.


116 posted on 01/31/2007 1:57:50 PM PST by Rhiannon
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To: Fierce Allegiance; Centurion2000; VeniVidiVici; SJSAMPLE; Semper Vigilantis; Mamzelle

The judge should have just had him shot, it be a perfectly fine penalty if we're using the rationale that "he shouldn't have been here in the first place anyway." Being an illegal basically invalidates you as a human being in our country.

What ever happened to "allowing the punishment to fit the crime.


The man was going home anyway! We should thank him, not steal his money!


oh and He probably made somewhere around 6 thousand a year. So it's perfectly possible he could have saved up that much money.


117 posted on 01/31/2007 1:58:16 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell
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To: farlander

Obviously, he didn't read it. He didn't have a clue.


118 posted on 01/31/2007 1:58:17 PM PST by Ditto
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To: 1rudeboy
Then the money still would have been confiscated. Next question?

Just as I suspected. Thanks for playing.

119 posted on 01/31/2007 1:58:42 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
That's the kind of "justice" you expect from some puppet dictatorship, or two-bit shakedown town.

Show me a seizure that has not been subjected to judicial review.

120 posted on 01/31/2007 1:59:49 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: VeniVidiVici

In other words, both my points went right over your head.


121 posted on 01/31/2007 2:00:10 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: AppyPappy
So why did he?

No education?

122 posted on 01/31/2007 2:01:05 PM PST by dread78645 (Evolution. A doomed theory since 1859.)
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To: lepton

Right on. Ignorance that they made something that should be legal a crime SHOULD be an excuse.

Reminds me of the star trek where Weasley is held for the "crime" of stepping inside a forbidden boundary while catching a frisbee. THe penalty is death, and in the end the captain decides that ignorance of that law WAS an excuse.


123 posted on 01/31/2007 2:01:05 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Mamzelle

He could have walked back across the border the same way that he came. Then he would not have had to declare it.

What a dope this guy is.


124 posted on 01/31/2007 2:01:07 PM PST by Ouderkirk (Don't you think it's interesting how death and destruction seems to happen wherever Muslims gather.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Well, there is judicial review, just not a trial.


125 posted on 01/31/2007 2:03:40 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Rhiannon
re: Just because he came here illegally does not give me the right to steal his money, nor does it give the state that right in my name.)))

If it's his money, he shouldn't have trouble proving it. There should be a paper trail of employment.

After all, all we have is his word that it's his. What if he's laundering cash to drugrunners in Central America?

Why didn't he wire it through Western Union? Carrying that much cash is dangerous. Even if he had no fear of US law, (for some reason?!), he still has banditos to worry about.

Maybe you don't like the law, but you either follow it or you break it. If you break it, you can get caught and suffer consequences.

126 posted on 01/31/2007 2:03:41 PM PST by Mamzelle
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To: Ouderkirk

How much in back taxes do you think a guy working as a dishwasher will have? If he was legal, he probably would have gotten earned income tax credits.


127 posted on 01/31/2007 2:04:32 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: LauraleeBraswell
The man was going home anyway! We should thank him, not steal his money!

Some of you folks think illegals live and earn money in a vacuum. What if his entire family was here going to school on my dime? Do you know that in Florida the children of illegal migrants get in-home tutors paid for by the state of Florida. In-home tutoring for God's sake!

I consider the $59k a down payment for every dime stolen from Americans by their very nature of being here.

128 posted on 01/31/2007 2:04:37 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: wideawake
Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse in any legal jurisdiction I know of.

What about the Kingdom of God?

129 posted on 01/31/2007 2:04:42 PM PST by Romulus (Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo.)
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To: 1rudeboy
In other words, both my points went right over your head.

That's your problem. You don't make points, you play "What if" games.

130 posted on 01/31/2007 2:05:21 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: LauraleeBraswell

Are you trying to say it was OK for this economic terrorist to invade our country?

Are you an Al Qaeda fan, too?


131 posted on 01/31/2007 2:05:33 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance ("Campers laugh at clowns behind closed doors." GOHUNTER08!)
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To: Ouderkirk
re: He could have walked back across the border the same way that he came. Then he would not have had to declare it. )))

Yes, but he likely would have been robbed by bandits at the border without the protection of the US legal system. That's so ironic...

132 posted on 01/31/2007 2:05:34 PM PST by Mamzelle
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To: CharlesWayneCT
And I oppose these laws which allow administrative "seizures" of property, simply on the basis of possession. The government should have to prove you violated the law in a COURT, with a trial. They shouldn't get to just call you guilty and exact punishment. That's the kind of "justice" you expect from some puppet dictatorship, or two-bit shakedown town.

That really gets to the heart of the matter. I think you're exactly right about that, and it would make good political sense for one of the parties to do something about that.

I won't hold me breath, though.

133 posted on 01/31/2007 2:06:00 PM PST by NittanyLion
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To: flashbunny

GO read ANY thread about the BP agents. Within the 1st 10 posts, SOMEONE will say "what's the problem with shooting him anyway, he was an illegal".

Someone later will say "their crime was that they were bad shots".


134 posted on 01/31/2007 2:07:05 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Romulus
What about the Kingdom of God?

Invincible ignorance?

How are you, by the way? I hope everything is well.

135 posted on 01/31/2007 2:07:22 PM PST by wideawake
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To: VeniVidiVici
That's your problem. You don't make points, you play "What if" games.

My comments on this thread stand for themselves. Not my problem if you do not understand them . . . others did.

136 posted on 01/31/2007 2:07:34 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Well, there is judicial review, just not a trial.

Say this again, I don't think anyone else heard you. You can be against asset forfeiture laws but I would think it would help to make your case if you tell the truth.

137 posted on 01/31/2007 2:07:44 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: Mamzelle

legally robbed vs. illegaly robbed [chuckle]


138 posted on 01/31/2007 2:08:49 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: dynachrome

I wonder about all the laws you may have broken. Now hand over all your money until you can prove that it is yours!


139 posted on 01/31/2007 2:09:17 PM PST by Mr.Unique ("Are you gonna propose? Because if you're not, quit staring at me!")
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To: primeval patriot

Oh come on! If he had earned it legally, I could see letting him go with the entire stash. But he's an illegal who had no right to be here, no right to work, no right to earn that money to begin with. He took a job that should have been filled by a legal American citizen! I say send him home naked and penniless!


140 posted on 01/31/2007 2:09:37 PM PST by BMIC
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Right on. Ignorance that they made something that should be legal a crime SHOULD be an excuse.

Careful. You don't want to stir up the FR "lawandorder" swat teams : )

141 posted on 01/31/2007 2:09:49 PM PST by Freedom_no_exceptions (No actual, intended, or imminent victim = no crime. No exceptions.)
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To: VeniVidiVici

You are right, it was "reviewed", but he didn't have a trial to prove his guilt. Seizures do go through judicial review, but at the review you don't get to argue the crime, because it's not a trial.

I did misspeak though saying there was no judicial review.

IF he was a smart illegal immigrant, he would have simply wired the money home.


142 posted on 01/31/2007 2:11:00 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: primeval patriot
Mr. Zapeta entered the country illegally 11 years ago and worked as a dishwasher for numerous Stuart restaurants, often holding two jobs at a time for little more than minimum wage.

What? Even an illegal alien dishwasher gets more than minimum wage?????

I would think that the gubbmint needs to bust Stuart restaurants!!!!!!!!!

143 posted on 01/31/2007 2:11:13 PM PST by ErieGeno
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To: primeval patriot

How long does an illegal alien dishwasher have to work to save $59,000? Very suspicious.


144 posted on 01/31/2007 2:12:42 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Mr.Unique
"wonder about all the laws you may have broken.." I would have gone to jail (in the old, bad dynachrome days) and the lawyers would have gotten the money!
145 posted on 01/31/2007 2:12:54 PM PST by dynachrome ("Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in a handbasket?")
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To: GSlob
As a first generation immigrant [of the legal variety], I could tell you that BS it is not. For those who come in with the clothes on their backs and not much else, frugality becomes a second nature, even at minimum-wage -type positions.

It is the frugality of these people that sets off the BS meter. He worked two jobs for minimum wage to save up this amount of money, and he flies home?

146 posted on 01/31/2007 2:13:11 PM PST by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations. So should you.)
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To: A message; All
 

 

No, if Mr Zapeta had learned to read and understand English in his 11 years here illegally he wouldn't have this problem.

 

 

There is NO requirement that you must conduct all business in English.

The Government WILL provide you with an interpreter for your interactions therewith, Criminal or Civil.

 

 

147 posted on 01/31/2007 2:13:11 PM PST by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional.)
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To: Mamzelle

And of course, they didn't take his money because he was illegal, they took his money because he didn't declare it on his forms.

Of course, being illegal, he was probably worried about what would happen if he declared it.


We are usually happy with this, as it's an easy way to get drug dealer money without the hassle of a trial. And if you declare the money, it causes you all sorts of trouble, which is why people don't travel with more than $10,000.


148 posted on 01/31/2007 2:14:07 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: VeniVidiVici

His family was not here.


149 posted on 01/31/2007 2:14:51 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Between the Lines

Well, walking back was not an option. at least while carrying the money.


150 posted on 01/31/2007 2:15:16 PM PST by GSlob
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