Monday, November 24, 2014

The Attorney General Nominee as Bandit

 Civil forfeiture laws are about government abuse of the highest order.

The law allows prosecutors too seize cash and property before a target is even charged with a crime, never mind property being sacrosanct until a conviction.

WSJ explains how this can go down:
For Jeffrey, Richard and Mitch Hirsch, three brothers in Long Island, the law allowed the federal government to drain their bank account while never charging them with a crime. In May 2012 the feds confiscated $446,651.11 from the account the brothers use for deposits from their 27-year-old Bi-County Distributors, which stocks convenience stores in the region with candy and snack food.

According to the federal government, the brothers came under suspicion because of the frequent small deposits they made in the bank. Under federal law, banks are required to report cash deposits of more than $10,000 at a time to the Internal Revenue Service. Frequent deposits beneath the $10,000 threshold can also trigger federal scrutiny on suspicion the depositors are seeking to evade federal oversight for crimes like money laundering or drug trafficking.

The Hirsch brothers run a small business that deals in small amounts of cash, a fact that the government surely noticed, since they were never charged with a crime. But more than two years after the government grabbed the hundreds of thousands of dollars, none of it has been returned.
The  US attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York is a big time player in these cash and property grabs.  According to WSJ, the office brought in more than $113 million in civil actions from 123 cases between 2011 and 2013.

Loretta Lynch, who President Obama has nominated to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, currently heads the Eastern District and, thus, overseas these smash and garb operations.

William Norman Grigg writes:
Most asset forfeiture operations are entirely opaque to the public, and are used as slush funds for both official business and the indulgence of the personal whims of police and prosecutors.
The New York Times points out that forfeiture seminars...are commonplace, which is both alarming and entirely predictable, given the increasingly predatory nature of the regime that rules us.
Common sense, you would think, would lead one to realize the extremely abusive nature of these forfeiture  activities. Yet, this seems to be of little concern to the rulers in Washington DC, since Obama has nominated an operator of a multi-million dollar forfeiture operation and the Senate appears as though it will approve her nomination. And thus a bandit, no different than the pirates off the coast of Somalia will be running the "Justice" Department.

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