Asset Forfeiture

IRS Agrees to Apply New Forfeiture Standards to Old Case, Give Back Convenience Store Owner's Life Savings

IRS initially stole $153,907.99 from Ken Quran for taking money out of his own bank account in amounts the government found suspicious.

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The IRS is finally acting justly by retroactively applying new standards in civil forfeiture (that is, naked government theft) law to an older case out of North Carolina, as announced today by the Institute for Justice (I.J.).

I.J.

I.J. represented the injured convenience store owner Ken Quran, who had his life savings taken from him for the "crime" of making withdrawals from his bank in amounts the federal government finds suspicious.

Details from an I.J. press release today:

Ken's money was seized under so-called "structuring" laws. These laws were designed to target criminals evading bank-reporting requirements. But under IRS policy at the time of the seizure, the IRS applied the structuring laws to seize cash from individuals and businesses accused only of frequent under-$10,000 cash transactions.

The IRS changed its policies in October 2014 to prevent such seizures. But those changes came too late for people like Ken, whose property was seized before the policy change.

So, in July 2015, the Institute for Justice submitted a petition to the IRS on Ken's behalf, arguing that the IRS should apply its policy retroactively to Ken's case. The petition argued that the money "would not be seized—much less forfeited—under current government policy" and urged the IRS to "do the right thing and give the money back."

This week, IJ sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen following up on the petition—and urging the IRS to act quickly to give Ken his money back.

Today's letter states that Ken's petition is granted "in full."….

According to data obtained by the Institute for Justice from the IRS via the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS forfeited about $43 million in 618 structuring cases between 2007 and 2013 in which the IRS reported no suspicion of criminal activity other than the mere fact of sub-$10,000 cash deposits.

Jacob Sullum reported earlier this month on a very similar I.J. victory involving another North Carolina convenience store owner Lyndon McClellan, when the IRS was ordered to return his stolen cash plus interest and legal expenses.

Past Reason writings on the bullshit crime of "structuring".

Institute for Justice video on the story:

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  1. God Bless the I.J.!

    Groups like them can take the mantle the ACLU dropped and carry on.

    1. So …. maybe someone can assist me.

      I started a $50/month donation to the I.J. in January. Got the expected bullshit thank you form letter. Sent email saying please do not send me any more of these form letters, as I do not want 5-10% of my donation wasted on telling me something I already know.

      Got another form latter for February. Send another email with more words and lots of !!!! saying if I get another of these, I will stop my donation.

      I hate calling these organizations on the phone. No one knows who to talk to, no one understands the problem, I get routed and rerouted and eventually just hang up.

      So … any suggestions to

      * better email contact?
      * anyone work with IJ who can stop the form letters?
      * other organizations to switch my monthly donations?

      1. Call and ask to speak with whomever is in charge of fulfillment… That’s usually the title of the guy in charge of the mailroom.

  2. Wait… They went after him for WITHDRAWALS? I’ve never heard of that before. I thought the “crime” of structuring only applied to deposits.

    1. I feel like that’s an error….

    2. They went after him for the crime of having just enough money to make it worth their while, but not enough to hire a lawyer.

    3. Deposits, withdrawals… it’s all the government’s money.

    4. Nah, that’s how they got Hastert.

    5. All large cash transactions are suspicious.

      I suppose it makes as much sense either way. If they want to catch people depositing the cash they got from selling a pound of cocaine (for example), they also want to know when they are taking out cash to get some more.

      1. That’s not the way they used to do it. Most drug money stays in cash, and they try to catch you when you’re laundering it.

        1. That’s just the best I can do to imagine the reasoning for the reporting requirements for deposits and withdrawals. I don’t imagine that is what drug dealers would actually do absent the reporting requirements.

    6. Elliot Spitzer got zinged for structured withdrawals also.

    7. Any withdrawal near, but under $10,000 cash is viewed as an attempt to get around IRS regulations requiring disclosure of such….because drugs.

  3. The IRS is finally acting justly

    If that were the case, every IRS agent involved in this would be sitting in a cage after having transferred every penny of their life savings to Mr. Quran.

    1. Threadwinner

  4. Compare and contrast the work IJ does with the disgusting actions of the ACLU.

    1. I haven’t been keeping track. Do they promote disgusting actions now, or is it mostly disgusting inaction?

      1. If you think mens rea is an important part of a just criminal law system, yes they do.

        Do you agree with the ACLU’s appalling record on that issue as well as guns and the 1st Amendment or are you just too afraid saying the truth might harm your virtue signaling efforts?

        is there a Progressive group in the world Zeb you are willing to condemn? If so, you have kept it a closely held secret.

        1. or are you just too afraid saying the truth might harm your virtue signaling efforts?

          is there a Progressive group in the world Zeb you are willing to condemn? If so, you have kept it a closely held secret.

          and that’s not an unfair characterization of Zebs comment history or anything. Jesus John, somebody questioning your point doesn’t automatically make them the enemy of all that is right and fair in the world.

        2. What the fuck, John? That was a serious and honest question. And I did acknowledge their disgusting inaction on things like the second amendment. I honestly don’t know if they act positively against the 2nd. If they do, fuck them. That’s all I was trying to say. I don’t go around condemning things that I don’t know enough about to make a proper judgement.
          If you want to know what I think of the ACLU you could fucking ask rather than assuming you understand my motivations. I used to think that they were on balance good because they do fight for some good things and have fought for many good things. But lately I’m shifting toward thinking poorly of them because of their complete dismissal of the second amendment and failure to vigorously defend the Citizens United decision.

          Get a fucking grip and cut out the mind reader routine. You aren’t very good at it.

      2. To most people

        Do they promote disgusting actions now, or is it mostly disgusting inaction?

        would indicate a thought that the ACLU is disgusting in its FAILURE to defend civil rights.

        But if you are H&R’s most measured, calm and polite commenter….it means ZEB IS A SCUM-PROG #$%^&

        1. He’s on to me. The years of consistently libertarian/anarchist commentary are all just a ruse. But I’m not going to tell what comes between this stage and profit.

    1. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

  5. OT from TP: Tough on crime:

    http://thinkprogress.org/world…..t-toddler/

    Four counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder ? those are among the crimes an Egyptian court held that Ahmed Mansour Karni committed at the tender age of two. He was also charged with threatening soldiers, damaging security forces’ vehicles, and vandalizing government property.

    An Egyptian court sentenced the child, now four, to life in prison on Tuesday.

    1. Why? Is the kid a Jew or something?

      1. It appears to be mistaken identity. At first Think Progress thought the kid was a member of the Koch family and was planning to write this as a feel good story.

      2. The kid was tried in abstentia.

  6. Not a surprise that the Obama Justice Department capitulated to a Quran.

    1. You’re going to go blind.

  7. If I understand how things work, if you complain about this behavior from the IRS, you get on Morris Dee’s list.

    1. And then he tries to beat you in an impromptu musical competition?

      1. “There are two black people in Minnesota, Prince and Kirby Puckett”

        Chris Rock was, alas wrong. There are three people, Prince, Kirby and Morris.

  8. I really hope that the victim doesn’t leave it at this. He should swear out a criminal complaint against everyone in that whole chain of command for grand theft, fraud, and violating his civil rights under color of authority. It’s appalling that thugs can pull this shit without consequences.

    -jcr

    1. grand theft, fraud, and violating his civil rights under color of authority

      The King can do no wrong — and proving that the King’s men did wrong is exceedingly hard.

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