In November the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Indiana offices of the company that sells the privately minted metal coins known as Liberty Dollars, an alternative currency beloved by those who think U.S. paper money is inherently inflationary. Later that month, G-men hit the Idaho company that mints the coins. In both instances, the government took all the coins it found, along with computers and other records.
According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (where the investigation was based), the FBI conducted "undercover operations to determine the legality of the American Liberty Dollar currency" from August 2005 to July 2007. It decided that Liberty Dollars were essentially fake U.S. currency, seizable for being "involved in, or traceable to, money laundering" and mail fraud.
Neither Liberty Dollar President Bernard von NotHaus nor any of his employees have yet been arrested or charged with any crime, although the feds so far have kept what they've seized. Many of the coins had already been purchased by customers and were awaiting shipment when police took them. Von NotHaus is asking those customers to join a lawsuit to get the coins back. He continues to sell already-minted Liberty Dollars donated by well-wishers as "Arrest Dollars,"
with special handcuff marks added.