Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Nominee Agrees to Return Money Feds Seized from Long Island Business

For two and a half years, Loretta Lynch's office kept cash but never pressed any charges.

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Legitimate businessmen. No, really. They totally are. No. Really. Not joking.
Institute for Justice

Chalk up yet another victory for the civil forfeiture fighters at the Institute for Justice (IJ). Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for eastern New York and President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, has agreed to return $447,000 seized from a Long Island business IJ had been representing.

Bi-County Distributors, a small, family-owned business that distributes snack foods to convenience stores, drew the federal government's attention and had their bank account raided all because of suspicions about their cash deposits. The federal government requires banks to report cash deposits of greater than $10,000 and has outlawed purposefully breaking down deposits in order to avoid reporting requirements. But small businesses like local distributors and family restaurants typically deal in cash and need to make frequent deposits for obvious safety reasons.

The brothers who run Bi-County Distributors had never been charged with a crime. Yet, the government kept the money for two and a half years. IJ came to help represent the family in October of last year. That means it took them less than three months to get the feds to see sense. Of course, an upcoming attorney general nomination process and senators looking to reform the civil asset forfeiture process probably played a role as well.

Read more about this case from the Institute for Justice here. Jacob Sullum wrote about a similar civil seizure case involving a restaurant in Iowa. The Institute for Justice defended that family as well and got the feds to back down.

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  1. This isn’t her only problem.

    “Lynch ? in order to get scalps ? makes special deals with informants,” says Richard Lerner, an attorney who is currently locked in an intense legal battle with Lynch’s office over the release of sealed criminal records from the Sater case. Lerner has butted heads with the Justice Department at the behest of his client and fellow lawyer Frederick Oberlander, who sued Sater on behalf of fraud victims. The victims represented by Oberlander include those who were allegedly exploited after the government knew of his past crimes and let him walk anyway.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..n-lovelace

    It seems Obama has once again lived down to expectations and given the country an AG nominee who is every bit as awful and perhaps worse than you would expect him to give.

    1. Although, to be fair, I’m pretty sure most US Attorneys have done things that awful. She just happens to be affiliated with his team.

      1. What would be surprising would be someone appointing a CDL to be Attorney General, just to freak people out.

          1. Criminal Defense Lawyer.

      2. Or better yet, appoint one of the IJ’s litigators.

    2. I thought being an authority-worshipping pussbucket was a standard requirement for AGs.

  2. The IJ continually makes me proud of my donations to them.

    1. They are lawyers, but in a positive way; it is very confusing.

      1. Show us on the doll where the attorney touched you.

        1. “It’s called the wallet.”

  3. If anything, this is a better setup for grilling her in the Senate:

    By returning the money, hasn’t your office has admitted that it should never have seized the money? What have you done to prevent this from happening again? Why did it take you so long to do the right thing? Do you have any understanding of how many small businesses handle a lot of cash? Do you have any understanding of how the “structuring” rules render every cash business a criminal enterprise?

    Building up to the grand finale:

    Well, its pretty apparent that you are ignorant and amoral. But you’re a big step up from the current AG, so nomination approved!

    1. Of course they will likely back down and do it. I see no reason why the Senate should appoint this woman or really anyone else Obama sends up. Obama has shown absolutely no regard for the rule of law or the independence of the Justice Department. There is no reason to believe any person he appoints AG will be any better than Holder. Given that, why allow him to do it? Let DOJ run under interim control for the rest of his administration. Difficult to see how it could be run any worse. And it might get better. But whatever it is, the Congress should not give its stamp of approval by approving a new AG.

      1. I wish the GOP would do stuff like this. It’s Obama and the rest of his administration that are operating in a manner contrary to government norms, let alone the Constitution, so it’s entirely appropriate to offset that using every means at Congress’ disposal. Nothing in the Constitution requires Congress to play ball with or in any way defer to the executive. In fact, the system works best when they are generally at odds with one another, regardless of the party of each branch.

        1. Or tell Obama that he will get a new AG confirmed the day after every Congressional Subpoena has been answered satisfactorily and DOJ is actively pursuing contempt charges against Lois Lerner.

          Those are the kinds of things the Constitution is set up for Congress to do in order to control the executive. The GOP should refuse to confirm any Obama appointee until he starts complying with the law. And the Senate should absolutely refuse to confirm any of his judicial nominees for the remainder of his term. He pissed his right to confirm judges when Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster. They really have no balls. Those sorts of actions would really hurt Obama yet are inside Washington enough the country at large is unlikely to care enough for it to affect the election in 2016.

          1. What’s crazy is that it would be perfectly legal and appropriate for Congress to do that, but the refusals to cooperate with Congress generally are not legal and appropriate. Just the typical stonewalling and misinformation from the administration.

            1. The media are trying to create a Presidential tyranny by making it politically untenable for Congress to use its legitimate powers to control the President.

              I think the Democrats and their media operatives are realistic and figure they are unlikely to control the Congress for a very long time. They still, however, like their chances in Presidential elections. So their strategy is to create a Presidential tyranny so that control of Congress won’t matter.

  4. though more than two years passed after the money was seized, no criminal charges were filed.

    The taxpayer had jolly well better not be paying Bi-County Distributors any interest on that $447K! Indeed, reducing the return by, say, 20% for holding and processing seems appropriate.

  5. “The federal government requires banks to report cash deposits of greater than $10,000 and has outlawed purposefully breaking down deposits in order to avoid reporting requirements.”

    This is the fucking tyranny we live in in a nutshell. You literally CANNOT comply with this fucking statute without giving the IRS an excuse to ruin your fucking life. EVERYONE is guilty.

    FEATURE! NOT A BUG!!

    1. It’s actually even worse than one might imagine. After a good Supreme Court case (Ratzlaf v. United States) said that prosecutors had to demonstrate that people actually knew what they were doing was illegal, Congress gutted the “willfully” requirement. Now the prosecutors don’t even have to prove that you knew structuring was illegal.

  6. The federal government requires banks to report cash deposits of greater than $10,000 and has outlawed purposefully breaking down deposits in order to avoid reporting requirements. But small businesses like local distributors and family restaurants typically deal in cash.

    So compliance with the law in one instance puts you in the IRS’ crosshairs, but attempting to avoid the IRS entirely is even more suspicious?

    It must be nice to not only believe everyone is guilty of something, but also have the power to enforce your paranoia at any opportunity.

    1. A lot of small businesses have insurance which will only cover cash losses up to $10,000. So it’s entirely reasonable to go and deposit the cash when it gets up close to that amount.

  7. It cannot be mentioned often enough that when the $10,000 limit was imposed, it was worth the equivalent of over $60,000 in 2015 dollars. For some reason, the limit has not been adjusted for inflation.
    Plus, the whole concept is complete bullshit from beginning to end.

    1. Lemme guess, this is yet another side effect of the War on Some Drugs?

  8. The following is excerpted from the article:

    “The brothers who run Bi-County Distributors had never been charged with a crime. Yet, the government kept the money for two and a half years. IJ came to help represent the family in October of last year. That means it took them less than three months to get the feds to see sense. Of course, an upcoming attorney general nomination process and senators looking to reform the civil asset forfeiture process probably played a role as well.”

    Re what you infer might have led to “reasonableness” on governments part, AFTER holding moneys they had no right to seize for 2 years, you wouldn’t kid an elderly reader, now would you?? Strikes me that this is yet another thing that cries out for some tough questions being directed to/at the lady. Question remaining is, it seems, What Will The Senate Actually do?? Perhaps roll over and play Nice Doggie, who knows.

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