Thursday, 19 November 2015

Police Civil Asset Forfeitures Exceed All Burglaries in 2014

quote [ Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases... Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year. According to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals. ]
[SFW] [politics] [+7 WTF]
[by satanspenis666@1:35amGMT]


arrowhen said @ 3:18am GMT on 19th Nov [Score:2]
If the government is supposed to be so "inefficient", how is it that government burglars are so much better at their jobs than their civilian counterparts? Checkmate, conservatives!
sanepride said @ 2:26am GMT on 19th Nov [Score:1 Interesting]
Interesting that Martin Armstrong would be reporting on matters of criminal theft, considering his own experience in this area.
hellboy said @ 4:29am GMT on 19th Nov
Takes a crook to know a crook, I guess. He also believes that climate change is a fraud and that economic boom-bust cycles happen every 1000x pi days (8.4 years). His numbers appear to be sourced from elsewhere though.
sanepride said @ 5:31am GMT on 19th Nov
Sure, I'm willing to take the numbers and the premise at face value, I just have a problem taking them at face value from dubious or tainted sources. Why do we need to read this on the blog of a climate-denying quasi-libertarian convicted fraudster when we can likely read it elsewhere?
Seneki said @ 8:06am GMT on 19th Nov [Score:1 Funny]
hellboy said @ 1:57am GMT on 19th Nov
Clearly "burglaries" is off - it's less than 47% of what it should be.

Civil asset forfeiture is blatantly unconstitutional and precisely the sort of thing the Founders were trying to guard against. But the Fourth Amendment has been dead for some time.
mechavolt said @ 2:47am GMT on 19th Nov
mechavolt said @ 2:48am GMT on 19th Nov
Sadly, I can use this appropriately in like 90% of stories about cops.
Taleweaver said @ 7:35am GMT on 19th Nov

So, U.S. police can search people, see they have money on them and... just keep it, legally, because they believe that money is held illegally, or smuggled, or hidden for tax evasion reasons? Or just like that, because they feel like it?

Can somebody please explain how this is legal?
hellboy said @ 8:06am GMT on 19th Nov
Because they said so.

That's really it. It's in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but since arguing against it means you sympathize with drug dealers, and since police departments can get most of their budget met by doing this, it's going to be very hard to make it go away.
Taxman said @ 6:02pm GMT on 19th Nov [Score:1 Interesting]
I'm going to sound like a broken record at this point but whatever.

Everyone ignores why civil forfeiture came about. In the times of Al Capone you had criminals literally using their ill gotten gains to bribe judges, defend themselves, or even put out bounties to kill the prosecutors. Before civil forfeiture one of two things would happen when you try to give everyone a trial before taking the funds: the funds (and usually the suspect) disappear, or the funds are used for the defense. If the government won... There's no funds left and the defense attorney's are innocent victims (can't seize legal fees). Sure you could slap the suspect with a money judgment, but generally they're going to prison for commiting money laundering and are never going to pay that back.

The money is not being stolen. It is being taken and placed into a suspense account (think of a large escrow account). Then you can claim, petition, or go to court to defend that the money is legal. The petition (hey that's legal money!) is literally 2 pages long AND it puts the onus on the AUSA to prove to a judge that it can be tied to illegal activity. If the judge agrees (and they do not always, instant return to owner) then the government gets a chance to prove its case. Everyone gets a trial.

This nonsense that government is constantly seizing funds "for the hell of it" or because of budgets is mostly nonsense. 60% of cases are administrative. That means the USA is actually suing the money/property/etc and NO ONE wants to lay claim to it. Assets have a tendency not to defend themselves in court and so it loses, the government forfeits it. Is that your money? Lay claim to it and by all means give us a name. We'll happily return it to you once we see it's on the up and up. Time span of the we're wrong situation? Mandatorily no more than 90 days and can be returned as quickly as two weeks.

I will say that equitable sharing did make local PDs extremely aggressive in seizures but will argue their budgets NEVER should have depended on sharing to remain functioning. That's as bad as quotas for ticketing and I agree it just puts everyone in a bad place. Wether you believe it or not, the large departments are working to correct this.

And the stats are BS. you can't compare what physical burglars can steal to the forfeiture power of the USA and with a straight face call them comparable. We seized 4 billion from France's banks for helping terrorists launder their money. Was the government "stealing" then? Surprise surprise, the legal and appropriate (what you asked us to do) forfeitures got mixed in with all the forfeitures (including the mistakes) to jack the number up.

My favorite is that there was a story on here (SE) about a guy who was driving to buy a restaurant across country with $40,000 in cash in his car. Locals stopped him and seized the money under civil forfeiture. He went to the media. Boo hoo the government stole my money and it's all totally legal! Sure, it came from his profits, legally withdrawn. Nothing illegal about driving around with cash right? But man why cash, and so much? Months after the report, investigators found he was purchasing a restaurant in Cali alright, and was paying the 40k of the purchase under the table so the owner wouldn't have to pay taxes on it (tax evasion, money laundering). I didn't see any follow up in the media. It was just the grumble grumble people should be allowed to drive around with ridiculous amounts of cash!

I could go on and on, but I'm sure this is just an "argument from authority" fallacy and the 1% bad outweighs ANY good that comes from it.

Is the government perfect? No. Is it made of people doing their best to catch the bad guys while avoiding hurting the good guys? I think so.

If you have a better idea, let's hear it. The old way created the Al Capones of the world and is untenable. You can't let the suspect keep it, it disappears. Civil forfeiture is like the (ugh) patriot act. It's the most awful idea there is... except for all the other ones.

Taleweaver said @ 7:52pm GMT on 19th Nov
You know, tax evasion is a thing here in Germany too. That's why we have laws saying that you cannot take large sums of cash (exceeding 5,000) outside of Germany without reporting that act to your local Finanzamt (tax office) and telling them what you are doing with the money. In return, you get a receipt confirming that money transfer, and should the police stop you near the border (they make frequent checks and car stops for that), you show the money and the receipt and you're free to go.

So what's the difference here? First of all, no one gives a damn shit how much money you carry around as long as you're not trying to take it outside the German borders. People regularly buy used cars directly from their former owners, paying in cash, and if the car in question is a nice BMW, Mercedes or Porsche, that sum can easily be a few 10ks. Second of all, if the police actually arrest you on any criminal charges, they can of course take your money away from you, but you have to sign for everything they take, and as soon as you leave police custody, you get all your belongings back unless the local prosecutor has decided it's evidence - and even IF it is evidence, you STILL get your money back immediately if the only relevant factor is that you were carrying a certain sum of money with you when the police took you in custody. The only reason for not returning your cash would be if there are bloodstains on the bills, or the money is fake, or something like that.

Also, our police doesn't do any of the bullshit shown in that John Oliver clip, like seizing a house because one of the people living in that house is suspected of selling drugs, or seizing the cars of all the people driving to an event where someone is selling alcohol without a license. People can reasonably expect not to have their property taken away from then on a mere suspicion, especially if the suspicion isn't strong enough to even charge them with a crime.
Taxman said @ 1:35am GMT on 20th Nov
Here in the states it's the same. You're supposed to report to customs any amount over $10,000 that you are transferring into or out of the country. In fact, when you withdraw that money from a financial institution a CTR (currency transaction report) is sent straight to us. So in your example where you withdrew thousands out to make a purchase of a nice BMW inside the country. We see the withdrawals, no deposits, and a new BMW in your driveway. As a good citizen you paid your sales and transfer tax on that right? You didn't have the seller put 10k on the deed and pocket the other 20k for himself right? That's tax evasion. People do it all the time. In fact, they feel entitled to it, why's it the government's business? Here in America we don't allow that. Everyone upper middle class and lower pays their "fair" share.

I cannot speak to the ultra rich. What the 1% gets away with is criminal in my mind, but they also seem to have purchased the people that pass the titles we seize under. Any investigation of them is political/a conspiracy/etc.

John Oliver, while slamming agencies like the IRS, is also setting in motion the public will for us to go after some of these ultra rich organizations. Expect things to materialize in time.

Some things missed in the Oliver clip: seizures don't happen in a vacuum. A judge (not a prosecutor) has to sign off on all seizure warrants and eventual forfeitures. They do not just take the officers word on it if the case goes judicial (I.e. Someone claims or petitions to represent the money/asset). In the case of the son with the heroin, it doesn't say if that's the second, third, or fourth time he's been caught with drugs in the house. The parents don't get a pass to shield a drug dealer base of operations just because he's young and they own the house. The devil is in the details with a lot of these cases, and those details are never offered willingly by the suspect.

Vehicles, properties, assets used in the commission of a crime are illegal and property of the United States. Use a getaway car at a bank robbery? Ours. Can that get out of hand? Yes. But as I said, I think the equitable sharing aspect of civil forfeiture is what has caused it's abuse here in the states. If you'll notice in the clips, it's the locals that are being overzealous in their seizures hoping the case will go administrative (the suspect will just walk away). All shared funds are required to spent on further law enforcement. Those agencies buying margarita machines are banned from equitable sharing when caught doing so.

Taleweaver said @ 7:07am GMT on 20th Nov [Score:1 Underrated]
In your tax case, the difference is this:

Germany: "You've just bought a used car, and we have reason to suspect you only bought it to partake in tax fraud? Well then, let's see your documentation, and let's see if we can't find witnesses that you ran around boasting how you made a sweet deal. We can't prove our case? Well, I suppose you win this time."

U.S.: "We found you with 20,000 bucks in your pocket, and you're saying you want to buy a used car with it? That sounds suspicious. We'll better take that money from you, and unless you prove to us that you weren't planning anything shady, we'll keep it. Oh, and if you want to speak a judge about it, the prosecutor for our case is waiting for you in the courtroom where we said you could speak to a judge."

If I have to prove I wasn't planning to commit a crime rather than the police proving that I was, and if the police get to keep assets I don't contest even if they never even ACCUSE me of a crime, that doesn't sound like justice to me.

(I know - these cases are supposed to be more like "what, you're saying these thousands of bucks that look like drug money don't belong to you? Then you certainly won't mind if we keep that money you say doesn't belong to you". But apparently, it isn't very difficult for the police to twist that around.)
rhesusmonkey said @ 4:46pm GMT on 21st Nov
This. The US law seems to be used to prosecute Thought Crime, not actual crime. Intent to evade taxes is not tax evasion. Until unless the money (cash) has been used in a crime, the police have no right to seize it.

The whole "getaway car"? Fuck that. If someone steals my car, or even "borrows" it, and commits a crime (unbeknownst to me, obviously), that is still my shit. If I condone it, eg am driving it, or know a priori that someone else will use it in a crime, then fine I am an accomplice (after the fact, of course -back to thought crime). Now, say a police dog happens by and find a half ton of coke in my trunk - or some assault weapons, or C4... well then if possession of those materials is illegal, then a crime has been committed even if the car itself has not been used in a crime per se. Most people can understand the nuance, and that's why they see things like John Oliver and get upset, because there is no nuance about what is being done, it is theft pure and simple.
zarathustra said @ 11:34pm GMT on 19th Nov
And what percentage of a their money is an innocent person likely to get back after legal fees? What amount can be seized with impunity because it is too low for a person to spend the money defending it?
the circus said @ 1:21am GMT on 20th Nov
Older news, so maybe not worth a real post.

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