Heroes Seize Woman’s Bank Account Just Because They Can

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IRS seizes woman’s entire bank account because she deposited money ‘suspiciously’

IRS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ARNOLDS PARK, IOWA — A woman’s entire bank account was seized by the Internal Revenue Service — without so much as a criminal charge — because the agency claimed she deposited money “suspiciously.”

This is the plight of Carole Hinders, who has been running a Mexican restaurant for the last four decades. Accepting cash only from customers at the restaurant, she makes frequent cash deposits to her checking account.

As part of the federal government’s dragnet surveillance of the civilian population, everyone’s banking activities are monitored for “red flag” activities. One of these is frequent cash deposits totaling less than $10,000. Using this vague criteria, Ms. Hinders was thought to fit the profile of a financial criminal.

Acting on this red flag, the IRS seized Ms. Hinders’ entire checking account, containing roughly $33,000. This was done without a trial or a conviction, much less a criminal charge. She was afforded no presumption of innocence before being depleted of her wealth.

The robbery is considered legal, unfortunately, through a practice known as civil asset forfeiture. This practice involves the government confiscating cash, vehicles, land, or other property from suspected criminals — often without enough evidence to press criminal charges.

In this case, the IRS suspected that Ms. Hinders was “structuring” her deposits in strategic amounts in order to avoid federally mandated reporting that kicks in amounts greater than $10,000. The New York Times explained Ms. Hinders’ situation:

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, a grocery store owner in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When he neared the limit, he would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.

Once targeted by the IRS, victims like Ms. Hinders are forced to either struggle to prove their innocence — a daunting task, especially with a seized bank account — or else cut losses and walk away from the money entirely.

The federal government began surveilling Americans’ banking activities under President Nixon with the The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which required that banks file “Currency Transaction Reports” to the IRS (specifically: FinCEN Form 112) on every individual who deposits or withdraws more than $10,000 in cash to or from a personal bank account on a given day. These reports indicate the financial activities that took place and include the individual’s bank account number, name, address, and social security number.

The financial dragnet was pitched to America as a way to catch tax evaders and money launderers. It actually marked the end of financial privacy and soon evolved into a tool used to harass innocent Americans. The IRS enjoyed a battery of new powers, which were increased several times thereafter.

In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act expanded financial surveillance efforts to the so-called War on Terror. The Patriot Act was said to contain a “package of unconstitutional expansions of the financial police state,” according to one of bill’s few dissenters, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Among other things, the law prohibited bankers from informing customers that they had been reported to the IRS. Paul said the bill had “more to do with the ongoing war against financial privacy than with the war against international terrorism,”

Paul summarized his objections in a statement to Congress prior to the bill’s passage:

“Among the most obnoxious provisions of this bill are: expanding the war on cash by creating a new federal crime of taking over $10,000 cash into or out of the United States; codifying the unconstitutional authority of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to snoop into the private financial dealings of American citizens; and expanding the ‘suspicious activity reports’ mandate to broker-dealers, even though history has shown that these reports fail to significantly aid in apprehending criminals. These measures will actually distract from the battle against terrorism by encouraging law enforcement authorities to waste time snooping through the financial records of innocent Americans who simply happen to demonstrate an ‘unusual’ pattern in their financial dealings.”

The IRS has been steadily increasing its use of preemptive civil asset forfeiture — with agency seizures up 460% from 2005 to 2012, according to data from the Institute for Justice. Every year, scores of Americans are targeted by the IRS for dubious reasons and depleted of their wealth in the name of law enforcement and national security. The extensive federal powers are very aptly described as those found in a “financial police state,” not a free society.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I think (but don’t know) that there’s a big difference between UK’s younger territories of Canada and Australia.

    The difference being they’ve never went bankrupt.

    The US went bankrupt several times. And then went to war to settle the default once and for all.

    New York City in the 70s come to mind. If that city now with 1.4 Trillion in economic product went bankrupt. Then its safe to say America defaulted as a nation when it went off the silver and gold standard and screwed everyone over. It never would have left NYC hanging unless it had no choice.

    There’s still sanity and rule of law in the Nethers of the UK, because they didn’t have to go into Insanity mode due to their utter impoverishment and pathetic default.

    Behind all the Swagger and Braggadocio, America is just a great big lumber Zimbabwe. A bunch of lying broke ass ho’s who just won’t admit what kind of fuckery they committed against every decent country in the world.

    Forget about Royal Executive Assent and Statutory Gazetting and fulfilment of duties and keeping your word in America.

    It’s been over 40 years now, and everyone’s afraid to say it. America is a Nuclear Armed lunatic and no one is really in charge of anything specific.

    The PTB are in all manner of power struggles, but there might not be that many levers of power to adjust the lurching Frankenstein anymore.

    I’m not sure what the answer is. But I think I have an idea of the problem. When the most powerful people in the world are jealous hair-triggered Pakleds you’ve got a world of hurt on your hands.

    I know Canadians don’t work as crazily hard as Americans. And they’re super proud of their jobs such as they are. Even when they’re ridiculously easy. But they’re also intelligent and not batshit insane.

    If you’re in a Crown Colony, there’s all kinds of appeals to reason and it might be a rigged game, but sometimes the little guy can win.

    In America sooner and not later, you’re going to come across Officer Busey. Judge Busey. Official Bureaucrat Busey. And they’re all crazy to the core.

    I think there might be a path to using some of this Sovereign Ideology to make a difference. For now the paths don’t get you to success, they lead you into danger and risk. But if that’s how you choose to be a man and not an Uncle Tom, well good luck in the choice. If you can recruit others to increase the chances, good luck there as well.
    I would think, but I don’t know that success is quite rare.

    Joining in the paperchase seems unlikely to succeed very often. And in the long run is predicated on American Govt becoming sane again. Which might be a very bad bet.

    I’m sticking to the internet freedom path myself. Also a daunting longshot. There’s a growing majority that just use their devices to do things they want, paper laws and traditions be damned. At least its better than being an Uncle Tom and following the impossible laws. At least I think so.

    • TL – “It’s been over 40 years now, and everyone’s afraid to say it. America is a Nuclear Armed lunatic and no one is really in charge of anything specific.”

      A concise couple of sentences that summarize the state of existence.

      We are all hostages in an ongoing massive bank heist. Though it might be more of a Sampson thing.

  2. It’s called Civil Asset Forfeiture; where charges are laid directly against the property without the owner being involved in any way.

    • “without the owner being involved in any way”
      And how, pray tell, can the owner not be involved when it is HIS property that is being stolen? Property does not commit crimes. In many of these cases charges are never even filed, even after the ‘forfeiture.’

      • “charges are laid directly against the property” – Does this mean they are going to start charging guns (and knives) with murder and assault? And pencils or keyboards for misspelled words?

    • “It’s called Civil Asset Forfeiture”

      No, it is called THEFT. It is absolutely no different than any other armed thug taking your property by force.

    • Horrible.

      And, again, the ubiquitous double standard. Citizens face (rightly) severe repercussions for:

      Brandishing firearm
      Recklessly discharging firearm
      Physical assault
      Reckless driving
      Vehicular homicide

      They cannot cry, “citizen safety!” – and get a pass.

      But someone in a state-issued uniform can – and does.

  3. There’s a reason safes were invented, probably to keep the banks and feds out of your financial affairs.

    For the average human, banks cost more money than they’re worth in interest payments. And with such ridiculous laws, they’re not worth doing business with.

    • It’s amazing to me that anyone would trust the banksters and their government henchmen with anything. I’ve been out of the banks for decades and on paper own nothing of any consequence. I haven’t filed a tax return in well over 30 years but the only thing the IRS thugs can get out of me if they want it badly enough is my loathesome spotted behind.

      • RE “but the only thing the IRS thugs can get out of me if they want it badly enough is my loathesome spotted behind.”

        There’s money in that, you know?
        For them, and those who run the industrial prison system.

        In typing that, I just realized how truly GROSS they really are.

        • “There’s money in that, you know?”

          It’s called the “law enforcement growth industry.”

          Yeah, with the attitude I take towards our ‘public servants’ it is certainly possible I would wind up there at some point. (I know plenty of people who have been.) The scumbags would have a hell of a time getting any profitable labor out of me, but of course they still receive wealth harvested from the tax slaves for every person they incarcerate regardless.

          I really feel bad for the younger people stuck in this trap. I’m old enough to have lived through a time when things were very different. Not a paradise to be sure, but still much freer than today. (Most of today’s young people accept what we have today as the norm, and probably can’t even imagine a time when there was no EPA, etc., and silver coin was still in general circulation.)

          As George Carlin used to say, I don’t have a stake in the outcome of all this. The younger folks are the ones that will ultimately have to deal with it.

      • Onya Jason. I haven’t filed a return in years myself, but we have a situation in Oz where the tax office isn’t even a legal entity:

        Every law in Oz requires royal assent and then requires public gazetting so that the population knows about it. The Taxation Act was never gazetted and therefore everything it covers is illegal.

        There’s also the situation where their pet term “income” is not legally defined anywhere. I and many others here have written to the tax office asking for a legal definition of income and, although they spend 2 full pages trying to explain it in legalese as politicians do – and fail miserably, it’s still not legally defined anywhere.

        So in their blurb stating that they hope we all attend to our tax obligations “voluntarily”, we have no obligations when they can’t legally define what they are and that income could be chickens, frogs or rude gestures.

        If you’re in the US, check your legal definitions for “income”. You might be pleasantly surprised.

        This whole thing started in New Zealand BTW. I think Canada’s situation is similar since we share the same royal bullshit of a de-facto grabbermint registered at the Washington Securities and Exchange Commission as a business entity.

        Canada’s guv website actually had it written that the guv is de-facto, but they took that down a while ago once people wised up to the fact that the country’s in anarchy and all laws made since the guv became de-facto are null and void.

        • Sounds similar to the tax scam we have in the U.S., as documented by Larken Rose and others. What the law says doesn’t matter though. The fedscum do whatever the hell they want, with the blessing of the courts. As George Carlin used to say, it’s a big club and you and I ain’t in it.

  4. Bottom-feeding scum. NOTHING should be subject to seizure without a warrant, and by that I mean one consistent with the 4th Amendment.
    Not to mention that the 16th Amendment was never legally ratified, just declared so by the Nazgul of the day.

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