Friday, April 5, 2013

State Confiscates 10k from Airline Passenger

By Steve Mertl

I can't decide whether or not I feel sorry for B.C. resident Robert Docherty, who had more than $10,000 in cash seized by Canadian customs officers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
Under Canada's Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the Maple Ridge wild-mushroom picker was entitled to carry carry $10,000, and not a dollar more, out of the country without declaring it.
According to the National Post, Docherty was boarding a flight to Costa Rica in November 2010 when a dog trained to sniff out money (they have those?) found Docherty's stash of cash.
There was $9,880 in U.S. currency and another $335 Canadian. Docherty explained he'd calculated the Canada-U.S. exchange rate so the total amount to come in under the $10,000 limit.
The trouble was that by the time he took his flight two days later, the U.S. dollar had strengthened, making his package worth more than $10,000 Canadian.
Agents seized the money under the legislation and unlike criminal charges, the onus falls on people like Docherty to prove the money was legitimately acquired. In other words, guilty until proved innocent.
Docherty failed and the cash was forfeited to the Crown.
Whether or not you believe Docherty's story that the money was destined for a real estate deal involving a seller who wanted cash, his experience paints a picture of what happens when people who live by their own rules run afoul of the state's rules.
Docherty went through a ministerial review process to try and get his money back. When that failed, he went to Federal Court, which upheld the government's decision, and then he took it to the Federal Court of Appeal. In both instances he represented himself without a lawyer.
If you take a few minutes to read the Appeal Court's decision here, you'll get a flavour of the bureaucratic meat grinder that awaits someone like Docherty.
In a nutshell, the Appeal Court justices agreed the government and the Federal Court judge had done everything right, though Appeal Court Justice Denis Pelletier chided his lower-court brother for suggesting Docherty was greedy because he'd calculated the amount to slide just under the $10,000 limit.
“This is a case of a traveller sailing too close to the legal winds," the Federal Court judge said, according to the Post. "But for greed, this applicant would not be in court.”


  1. "GREED!!"?????
    What freekin' greed?? It was his own money!
    Is a lobotomy required to become a judge??

  2. He should have gotten some pre-1965 silver quarters! So $10,000 is 40,000 quarters at $27.21 / ounce comes to $196,834.91. Well if he only wanted $10,000 that 2,000 quaters ($9,841.75) or $500 face value. FDIC: Never Lose a Penny!!!

  3. "but for greed"??? This guy who slaved away picking mushrooms gets his earnings confiscated by a tax fed parasite and then told he's greedy because he thought he was entitled to his own money? The arrogance and audacity of the parasite class is hitting new levels of absurdity

  4. "But for greed, this applicant would not be in court.”

    But for greed it would not be a felony to carry any amount of money you want...

  5. He should have been carrying a bitcoin brain wallet.