Government seizing assets, keeping the cash


>>>OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF NIGHTS, WE SHOWED YOU HOW STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN TAKE MONEY FROM YOU WITH ROAD SIDE TRAFFIC STOPS. THE GOAL, POLICE SAY, IS TO SEIZE CASH LINKED TO CRIMES BUT SOMETIMES MONEY IS TAKEN AND NO CRIMES CHARGED. HOW THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN DO THE EXACT SAME THING. TAKE YOUR MONEY AND HAVING TO PROVE YOUR MONEY WAS INNOCENT, NOT GOTTEN THROUGH ILL-GOTTEN GAINS. GARY TUCHMAN HAS THE INVESTIGATION. >>Reporter: WHEN BUSINESS WAS HOPPING, THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEXICAN RESTAURANT WAS RATHER LONG, PEOPLE CLAMMING TO GET IN AND CARROLL IN HER ELEMENT. WHY DO YOU LOVE THIS RESTAURANT SO MUCH?>>BECAUSE IT WAS MINE AND I GOT TO MAKE THE DECISIONS, CHOOSE THE FOOD, MAKE THE FOOD. IT’S WHAT I WANTED TO DO.>>Reporter: MRS. LADY’S DID NOT TAKE LOCAL — JUST LOCAL CHECKS AND CASH, BUT IN SPRING OF 2013, TWO IRS AGENTS SHOWED UP AT HER FRONT DOOR. >>I LOOKED AT THEIR BADGES. THEY CAME IN AND PROCEEDED TO TELL ME THAT THEY WERE HERE TO LET ME KNOW THEY HAD CONFISCATED ALL MY MONEY FOR MY BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT AND CLOSED IT. >>Reporter: HOW MUCH MONEY?>>APPROXIMATELY $33,000.>>Reporter: THAT’S RIGHT. THE IRS TOOK ALL OF HER MONEY. EVERY DIME. BUT DIDN’T CHARGE HER WITH A CRIME. THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMED BECAUSE CAROL ROUTINELY DEPOSITED UNDER $10,000, IT WAS SUSPICIOUS. CLAIMED TO STRUCTURE HER DEPOSITS, TO AVOID THE REQUIREMENT THAT DEPOSITS OVER $10,000 WOULD TRIGGER. THERE’S A FANCY TERM. CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE. IN THE WORLD OF CIVIL FORFEITURE. THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT NEED YOU TO BE CONVICTED OF A CRIME BEFORE SEIZING YOUR MONEY. YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME. YOU’RE NOT INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY, YOU’RE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. AND TO THIS DAY, CAROL HINDERS HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH NOTHING. IDEA BEHIND CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE BEGAN IN THE DRUG WARS OF EARLY ’80s. SEIZE THE CASH AND PROPERTY BY BAD GUYS AND THE CRIMINAL NETWORKS WOULD SUFFER GREATLY. FEDERAL AND STATE AUTHORITIES ARE ALLOWED TO USE SEIZED CASH FOR THEMSELVES TO MAKE LEGITIMATE PURCHASES AND EXPENDITURES FOR THEIR OFFICES. >>IT VIOLATES THE DUE PROCESS RIGHTS FOR AMERICANS. IT’S JUST WRONG. THERE’S A SIMPLE PREMISE THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE TAKING MONEY WHO HAVE NOT BEEN CHARGED, LET ALONE CONVICTED OF ANY CRIME. >>Reporter: LARRY SALZMAN WORKS AND REPRESENTING CAROL HINDERS FREE OF CHARGE. WHY ARE THEY PICKING ON CAROL IN.>>┃ SHE’S EASY. MOST PEOPLE LIKE CAROL CAN’T DEFEND THEMSELVES. THE GOVERNMENT TAKES $33,000 FROM YOU, IT WILL COST MOST PEOPLE MORE MONEY TO GET THAT BACK THAN WHAT THEY’VE TAKEN, SO PEOPLE JUST GIVE UP.>>Reporter: THE IRS WOULDN’T TALK ON CAMERA TO CNN, BUT DID ISSUE A STATEMENT TO US. SEEMING TO INDICATE IT WAS BACKING OFF ON AT LEAST SOME CASES LIKE CAROL HINDERS. WE RECOGNIZE OFTEN MAKE DEPOSITS UNDER $10,000 WITHOUT ANY INTENT TO AVOID THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS THE STATEMENT SAID. AND IT ADDED, AFTER CONDUCTING A REVIEW OF THE STRUCTURING CASES, THE IRS WILL FOCUS LIMITED RESOURCES ON CASES WHERE EVIDENCE INDICATE STRUCTURED FUNDS FROM DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SOURCES. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS OVERALL CHARGE OF THE PROGRAM AND OFFICIALS WOULDN’T TALK ON CAMERA THERE EITHER BUT SAID THE PROGRAM WAS VITAL AND FULL OF SAFEGUARDS TO PROTECT THOSE ACCUSED SO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? ONLY HOURS AFTER WE FINISHED OUR INTERVIEW WITH CAROL HINDERS, THE GOVERNMENT WITHDREW ITS COMPLAINT BUT RESERVED THE RIGHT TO FILE IT AGAIN DOWN THE ROAD, AND LOOKED LIKE AT LEAST PARTLY, THE AUTHORITIES TRYING TO SAVE FACE. >>I DON’T FEEL IT’S A FAVOR BUT IT’S A VICTIM RVICTORY. I THINK WE GO ON THE CIVIL FORITURE THING AND DON’T LET IT DROP. >>Reporter: IT’S SOLD TO A NEW OWNER. HER AMERICANS FOND AT LEAST UNTIL THE LAST MONTHS IT WAS OPEN WHEN SHE WAS TORMENTED BY AN AGENCY THAT NEVER CHARGED HER WITH A CRIME.>>GARY TUCHMAN JOINS US NOW. DID ANYONE APOLOGIZE TO HER? WHY IS THIS ALLOWED IN THE FIRST PLACE?>>NO ONE APOLOGIZED TO HER. HERE’S HOW AUTHORITIES GET AROUND, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. IF YOUR MONEY GETS TAKEN AWAY VIA FORFEITURE, YOU’RE NOT THE ONE THAT GETS SUED. IT’S THE MONEY THAT GETS SUED AND YOUR MONEY DOES NOT HAVE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. THIS IS NOT THE UNITED STATES VERSUS CAROL HINDERS, IT’S THE UNITED STATES VERSUS

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