Privacy

The FBI Seized Heirlooms, Coins, and Cash From Hundreds of Safe Deposit Boxes in Beverly Hills, Despite Knowing 'Some' Belonged to 'Honest Citizens'

Victims of the FBI's constitutionally dubious raid say they've been told to come forward and identify themselves if they want their stuff back.

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Dagny discovered that the FBI had seized the contents of her safe deposit box—about $100,000 in gold and silver coins, some family heirlooms like a diamond necklace inherited from her late grandmother, and an engagement ring she'd promised to pass down to her daughter—almost by accident.

She'd been asked by a friend to recommend a convenient and secure location for keeping some valuables. Dagny searched Yelp to find the phone number for U.S. Private Vaults, a Beverly Hills facility where she'd rented a safe deposit box since 2017. That's when she saw the bad news.

"Permanently closed."

After a brief moment of panic, some phone calls, and several days, Dagny and her husband Howard (pseudonyms used at their request to maintain privacy during ongoing legal proceedings) figured out what happened. On March 22, the FBI had raided U.S. Private Vaults. The federal agents were armed with a warrant allowing them to seize property belonging to the company as part of a criminal investigation—and even though the warrant explicitly exempted the safe deposit boxes in the company's vaults, they were taken too. More than 800 were seized.

Howard tells Reason there was no attempt made by the FBI to contact him, his wife, or their heirs—despite the fact that contact information was taped to the top of their box. Six weeks later, the couple is still waiting for their property to be returned. (Both individuals are supporters of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

The FBI and federal prosecutors have "no authority to continue holding the possessions of some 800 bystanders who are not alleged to have been involved in whatever USPV may have done wrong," Benjamin Gluck, a California attorney who is representing several of the people caught up in the FBI's raid of U.S. Private Vaults, tells Reason.

Legal efforts to force the FBI to return the items seized during the March 22 raid have so far been unsuccessful, but at least five lawsuits are pending in federal court.

A federal grand jury indicted U.S. Private Vaults (USPV) on counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs, launder money, and avoid mandatory deposit reporting requirements.

In legal filings, federal prosecutors have admitted that "some" of the company's customers were "honest citizens," but contend that "the majority of the box-holders are criminals who used USPV's anonymity to hide their ill-gotten wealth."

Whatever the original motivation for the raid, the FBI's seizure of hundreds of safe deposit boxes held by U.S. Private Vaults raises serious Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues. In order to have the contents of their boxes returned, federal authorities are asking owners to come forward, identify themselves, and describe their possessions. Some owners may be unwilling to do that—U.S. Private Vaults allowed anonymous rentals of safe-deposit boxes—while others may rightfully object to being subjected to the scrutiny of federal law enforcement when they have done nothing wrong.

"The constitution does not abide guilt by association," argues Robert Frommer, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, in an op-ed published by The Orange County Register.

"What the government has done here is completely backward," writes Frommer. "The government cannot search every apartment in a building because the landlord is involved in a crime. After all, when somebody rents an apartment, that apartment is theirs."

Indeed, the unsealed warrant authorizing the raid of U.S. Private Vaults granted the FBI permission to seize the business's computers, money counters, security cameras, and "nests" of safe deposit boxes—the large steel frames that effectively act as bookshelves for the boxes themselves.

Importantly, the warrant "does not authorize a criminal search or seizure of the contents of the safe-deposit boxes," according to a copy of the warrant contained in court filings. The warrant also states that it "authorize[s] the seizure of the nests of the boxes themselves, not their contents."

But the FBI's own policies seem to have allowed a roundabout legal rationale for seizing the boxes as well. Agents are required to take into custody any property that could otherwise be stolen or left "in a dangerous manner" after carrying out a warrant. To put it in the context of a simpler situation: If the FBI seized a truck carrying cargo, it would not simply dump the cargo on the side of the road. Instead, there is a specific procedure for law enforcement to follow, which involves identifying and notifying rightful property owners, as well as securing the property.

In court filings, however, Gluck and other attorneys representing anonymous plaintiffs argue that the seizure of the nests "does not appear to be the government's true purpose here."

"A reasonable person could easily conclude that taking and searching the contents of the boxes was the true purpose of the USPV seizure, not just an unintended but unavoidable byproduct as the government seeks to portray and justify it," they write.

Now that the FBI has nearly 1,000 safe deposit boxes in its custody, anyone who comes forward to identify themselves and claim their possessions risks becoming the target of a criminal investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California told the Los Angeles Daily Journal, a legal industry publication, last month that "each box is being considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will investigate the boxes, or claims made on them" to determine if "the contents are related to criminal activity."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that this amounts to an admission that prosecutors intend "to use any information gleaned in the claims process in order to conduct criminal investigations." U.S. Private Vaults had assured its customers that their anonymity would be protected, and people could have valid, non-criminal reasons for wanting to keep their identities a secret.

The rights violations are bad enough, but the FBI raid seems to have had serious procedural shortcomings as well. One 80-year-old woman represented by Gluck—and identified in court documents only as "Linda R."—may have lost a significant portion of her life savings due to what legal filings say are shoddy inventories of the safe deposit boxes' contents.

In a lawsuit filed on April 26, Linda R.'s attorneys argue that the FBI "failed to account for or return" 40 gold coins worth an estimated $75,000 that had been stored in a safe deposit box housed at U.S. Private Vaults. Department of Justice documentation detailing the contents of Linda's box makes note of "miscellaneous coins" without any specific amounts or other identification of the coins—Linda's attorneys note that the description could apply to everything from a pair of pennies to a box full of 1933 double eagle gold coins, some of the rarest and most valuable coins ever minted. For now, it remains unclear whether the government even possesses an accurate accounting of what was in her safe deposit box when it was seized.

Despite the broad claims of criminality from prosecutors, Linda has been charged with no crimes but may have lost tens of thousands of dollars of her retirement savings anyway. Even if the FBI's raid of U.S. Private Vaults eventually uncovers criminal activity relating to some of the safe-deposit boxes stored there, that hardly seems to justify the potential losses incurred by innocent bystanders like Linda, who kept her retirement savings there because she distrusted the banking system, according to court filings.

"It was improper that the government seized these possessions in the first place, unconscionable that they are using them as hostages to pressure owners to divulge private information, and outrageous that they apparently treated the possessions so carelessly that they seem to have lost at least some of them," Gluck tells Reason.

Jeffrey B. Isaacs, an attorney for another anonymous customer of U.S. Private Vaults—identified in court records as "James Poe"—tells the Los Angeles Times that the FBI's raid is "as illegal a search and seizure as I've ever seen."

For Dagny and Howard, the situation seems particularly cruel. They'd rented the box at U.S. Private Vaults after having their home burgled several years ago. They have the key and rental agreement for the box—and, Howard notes, they paid for the box with a credit card, hardly the sort of thing you'd do if you were trying to hide your identity from the feds or engage in criminal conduct. None of that has made a difference so far.

Because this time, the burglars wore badges.

NEXT: Our Moral Judgments Affect Our Perception of COVID Risk

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106 responses to “The FBI Seized Heirlooms, Coins, and Cash From Hundreds of Safe Deposit Boxes in Beverly Hills, Despite Knowing 'Some' Belonged to 'Honest Citizens'

  1. Sounds like something Trump admin would do. Luckily, we know Biden Admin will quickly right the wrong and punish the FBI agents and supervisors responsible. Oh, wait…

    1. When last we peaked behind the curtain, these same people were conspiring to frame innocent citizens for crimes in order to punish political enemies. Luckily, they know they have complete protection from the top, since our current President was present for the meetings, even giving helpful suggestions as to possible laws to use for ginning up charges.

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      4. Collectively, we are so screwed; when did our Constitution become the toilet paper for nearly all politicians to use?
        When did the US Justice Department become so corrupt?
        So, if out First Amendment, Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fifth Amendment rights are denied, what Amendments are remaining and do we still have a functioning Constitution to protect “We The People”?
        What shall be next on our corrupt US Government’s scheduled itinerary, The Quartering of Troops inside our homes in order to scuttle the Third Amendment?
        Does anyone realize that presently, 40% of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights has been seized by a tyrannical government?
        Do not expect the US Supreme Court to come to the rescue of any private citizen as the only haste they have is to represent corporations.

    2. Trump’s big mistake upon being elected was in not firing everyone from the previous administration that he possibly could. Among other things, not doing so left an FBI cadre which increasingly used their powers to support Democratic desires, and decided that they were above the law.

      1. We have to purge all democrats and RINOs from the government. By any means necessary.

        1. Ya think it’s Republican or Democratic leaning FBI agents who obtained and violated the warrant in this case? Traditionally, it has been the conservatives who have advocated for unchecked police powers. Maybe that’s changed.

          1. Nobody argues for unchecked police power. See if you can trade your straw man argument in for a brain.

        2. Just like grousing about the FBI seizing ALL these safety deposit boxes connected with the company conducting illegal enterprises. NOT ALL are guilty or criminals, likewise all who are not radical right politically need to go or are ‘bad.’ They simply have a differing opinion.

          Stop stereotyping and generalizing. It’s ugly.

      2. This is one of my few complaints about Trump. He had 10 weeks between election and taking office to make a list of people to fire immediately. He failed to do so.

        1. He couldn’t. Civil service employees are not his to fire.

          Instead he should have moved their offices to Guam.

          1. Instead he should have moved their offices to Antarctica.

            FTFY

          2. The civil service employees aren’t the biggest problem, it’s the supervisors, directors and executive staff that are, and they aren’t protected by unions. Some can’t be fired without difficulty, but they all can be assigned at a whim. Send them to Guam or Alaska, or maybe even overstaff the Icelandic embassy.

        2. Traditionally, you would be correct. However, since the Clinton Administration, Democrat-controlled DOJ’s have been much more likely to use their power to harass citizens.

      3. We need serious reform of the Civil Service, some occupations would be exempt, but most of them should be limited to 5 year contracts and would take an act of congress for renewal per person.

      4. Fbi doj cia secret service – dirty

    3. President DeSantis needs to fire the entire FBI on day one.

      Reason will no doubt declare that grounds for impeachment, and memory hole this article.

      1. DeSantis will never be president anymore than Kelly Ann Conway. Bootlickers are never leaders – they are USED by leaders and summarily discarded by them once they are no longer useful. Trump is using DeSantis and he’s too stupid to see it. Greed makes you blind, apparently.

        1. He Dee. New name sucks.

    4. If only Comrade Stalin knew.

    5. Now that “Uncle” Joe is in charge, no one is safe.

    6. No, the FBI is led by Democrats fool and they’ve been rogue for decades.

      1. You may want to have your snark meter recalibrated, I believe your mainspring is sprung.

    7. Grade A snark my friend but sadly, you’ll have to sock puppet that to the L sheeple.

  2. ” . . . and even though the warrant explicitly exempted the safe deposit boxes in the company’s vaults, they were taken too . . . ”

    So where is the list of the agents executing the warrant, and the length of their prison terms?

    1. They didn’t seize the assets. They are merely keeping them safe…

      And coincidentally investigating anyone who comes forward to claim property that was not part of a search warrant.

      1. “So, tell me, just how did these gold coins come into your possession? You have a bill of sale for those? Can you PROVE they were never stolen, or used in exchange for illegal services? No? Well….tell me your name again? Ok, great; now lets see, going back to 1998, let’s take a look at your tax returns and see if anything matches up, just to be sure.”

      2. armed robbery + extortion under colour of office.

        Those involved ought to get at least 25 years each.

        1. Oh, the weapons involved? They start with F35 fighters and work down from there…,

    2. Better yet, where is the other side of this sordid tale? It’s biased in favor of the woman with the loot in the safety deposit box. Even if she is a victim, I don’t believe ALL the boxes are owned by the victimless and I don’t believe there aren’t ‘ill-gotten gains’ in them.

      1. “I don’t believe ALL the boxes are owned by the victimless and I don’t believe there aren’t ‘ill-gotten gains’ in them.”

        It shouldn’t matter what you believe, or what the FBI believes, the Constitution requires probable cause and a search warrant before law enforcement can search private property.

        And the only way to protect your privacy is to protect the privacy of everyone.

      2. That’s the way the Soviet police operated. Seize first, investigate later. The left is insidious.

    3. “So where is the list of the agents executing the warrant, and the length of their prison terms?”

      Prison!? Be lucky to sue Them FBLiars as there is likely no case that mirrors this case in its details. Christopher Wray saw no problem. Read the other day that AG Bill Barr threatened to quit if Wray was fired.

  3. Won’t be long, they will be raiding your IRA and 401k to pay for Senile Joe’s new green hair plugs and graduate degree so you can call him Doctor.

    1. He’s got a JD, so technically he’s already a doctor.

    2. The money must be seized until you can prove you invested in an Individual Retirement Account and not the Irish Republican Army. To do this, the government contends that you must prove every individual associated with your investment bank has no ties to the IRA.

      1. If you have been to the store lately, you know they have already seized it.

        I don’t know how they kept inflation at bay so long, but 1980 era inflation seems to be back, nastier than ever. But don’t worry, NBC News tells me it is simply because of difficulty ramping up to meet demand as we open back up from covid…… You know, because demand for things like milk, cereal, and meat were completely absent for the last 18 months.

        1. It isn’t the 1980s you need to worry about returning, it is the inflation of the 1970s. That trend started in about 1978 and peaked in 1979. In 1970 YoY inflation rate was 5.6. In 1980 it was 12.5 and in 1990 it was 6.1.

          Not that it was a smooth curve. In ’73 it jumped from 3.4 to 8.7, then to 12.3 in ’74 and then bounced around 4-6 until ’78 when it went to 9, then 13.3 in ’79.

          Most of the 80s it was under 5:
          12.5, 8.9, 3.8, 3.8, 3.8, 1.1, 4.4, 4.4, and 4.6.

          There is a reason what we saw in the 70s is referred to as “stagflation.” The only period in which inflation was worse than the 70s was 1913-1919.

          It isn’t a matter of keeping inflation at bay – that is an incorrect understanding of what it is. Inflation isn’t inherently bad, the question is how much becomes bad. Generally speaking we’ve accepted that around 2% is “natural” and good. What we have been seeing for many years is not that they were keeping it “at bay” but that the steps taken by the fed were laying the groundwork for a later surge in inflation beyond what is desirable. We may be seeing the beginnings of that surge.

          Since 2007-2008 the Fed has been basically pumping money into things to make it look better than it was. Some of it was direct, but much of it is “latent” money supply in that it is sitting there waiting to be used. Some of the problem is what we use to calculate inflation. The things used are not the primary drivers they used to be, and others should be revisited.

          For example, while most of us do not directly purchase lumber, it is used for housing quite extensively. When lumber prices shoot upward, there is a latent price increase in housing occurring. I mention lumber because it is so broadly used but also because it has an outsized impact and has risen dramatically.

          And by that I mean it has quadrupled in the last year. This has added roughly $24,000 to the price of a new home since February of 2020. Many building materials are seeing rapid rises, but that 24k is *just* the lumber costs.

          If you use more broad, and arguably more accurate, categories some estimate current inflation is more on the order of 10%, not the roughly 1-2% being reported. If you use the formula used in 1980 we are well above most of the 80s and have been since the early 90s.

          The 1980s barrier is important because the CPI was redefined in a way that understates inflation compared to what we experience in daily life. Prior to the change inflation considered what it took to maintain a constant standard of living. nor does it consider out of pocket expenses. For those of us in the real world, those things really what matter.

          The federal government has a har incentive to understate the CPI and inflation. Retirement benefits, for example, are indexed to it. While this is most obvious in terms of government benefits like SS, even targets for private retirement planning have to take it into account.

          In the 90s it was sold as “more flexible”. You see under the old system if you ate steak and bought gasoline, for example, then continuing to do so was maintaining your standard of living (which is what the CPI used to measure and used to be called). But the “new” formula would allow the government to substitute your steak with hamburger. This has the effect of lowering the total price of your “basket” and ignoring that you had a lowering of your standard.

          Why? Because things like social security were tied to that. By lowering that they could extend the inevitable failure by lowering the benefits and “reduce” the deficit. This is part of why the claims about the 90s and their balanced budgets isn’t accurate (and why they borrowed MORE during the so-called balanced budget years).

          And sure, we can choose to switch from steak to chicken. But that is still a lowering and thus indicative that the actual prices for the same good are relatively rising, not lowering because we switched.

          And if that wasn’t enough, they “weighted” things in your basket. Good A had a slower rise, or drop? Sure, lets “weigh” it higher than something that had a steep rise.

          So about that gasoline reference. When the federal government mandated changes to fuel formulation it added about a dime to a gallon of gas. But that rise was explicitly excluded from the CPI calculation – despite the fact that we paid that extra dime on very single gallon.

  4. they’ve been told to come forward and identify themselves if they want their stuff back.

    Really?! “You’re the fucking FBI, you know who I am!”

  5. If anyone was storing a cheap plastic flute (which was NOT prescribed for them!) in their safe-box there, and they now get busted, it is all on THEIR head! NO sympathy for psychotic, deranged, anti-Government-Almighty crooks!

    PS…
    To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

    1. You know I’m only keeping you around [unmuted] for entertainment value. Best pick it up a bit.

      1. He’s probably pissed due to the lack of attention.

    2. Why should a judge grant you the privilege of storing your flute if you won’t post your core principles?

      1. Gotcher core principles right here, Buddy!

        Jesus H. Christ… I don’t know a damned thing about the Beyond-the-Beyond; “I know nothing” about that… But, ethics? Psychology? Jesus H. Christ had it squared away IMHO! A Fart Smeller indeed! Oooops, I mean, a Smart Feller!

        Here is my core principles… Whoever wrote this web page, was hippagroovalistically on MY wavelength of psychedelic vibes, man!

        http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Jesus_Validated/

  6. You may not have an interest in participating in the The System, but The System has an interest in participating with you.

    1. And therein lies the problem!

    2. And that will teach them to put their money and valuables in anything but a government regulated institution, that complies with all of the reporting requirements thereof.

  7. This is particularly terrible, but safe deposit boxes are not safe at all. A couple of years ago the NYT had an article “Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe When Philip Poniz opened Box 105 at his local Wells Fargo, he discovered it was empty — and that he was totally unprotected by federal law.” Of course, when it’s the feds who take your stuff, you’re really screwed.

  8. Her name is Dagny? You people are soooooooo weird. She probably waited her whole life for “gubmint overreach” so she could bitch and moan and whine and cry and sob……..Sad when your whole existence is based on terribly written junk philosophy.

    1. Go fuck yourself

    2. pseudonyms

      1. Don’t be corrupting such a great sequence of albums for such lame content…. If you’re going to invoke Zappa, you better bring it. That’s all I’m saying……

        1. Co-opting. Jeez google, if you are going to autocorrect actual words into meaningless word salad, at least do it in a timely fashion.

    3. Go back to being a crew slut.

      1. Bald Headed John, King of the Plukers.

    4. I know a sarc post when I see one. Not reading to the part where it is noted it is a pseudonym adds confirmation.

    5. He’s probably pissed due to the lack of attention.even sadder when your whole sense of self is based around being a drone in the government collective.

    6. Didn’t really read it, did you?

    7. It’s your junk philosophy that steals people’s stuff.

  9. I would like to see original reporting on this from reason, as we have seen in days past.

    The allegations in this article are already enough to convict government agents of criminal and civil violations, if true.

    But we never see from these sorts of cases is perspective from the courts, ancillary people involved, agents on the ground, the sort of sources who know things about what is really going on and how it is affecting people.

    We get statements from FBI spokesman, or US attorneys, or rulings from the judge, but none of these people given depth interviews. Particularly absent are the judges. They always sit up on high, pretending that their opinions are not personal but are empirical analysis of the law, unquestionable outside of the realm of the appeals courts. There have to be clerks who would be willing to talk to somebody on background.

    I really would love to hear what people think as they are in the midst of doing people this great harm.

    I was accidentally privy to some of these sorts of things during the Little Rascals daycare moral panic. Through friend of a friend type connections I heard from a highly ranked judge in North Carolina and from a prosecutor who took on the case after the fact. Their thoughts were very informative.

    The high-ranking judge basically washed his hands like Pontius Pilate. The way the courts work, they can’t choose their cases and they have to wait for a case to come before them. So even though it was patently obvious to anyone on the outside that these people were getting railroaded into life sentences despite having done absolutely nothing wrong, this judge slept soundly at night knowing that although he had the power to overturn the whole thing, it was not his responsibility until the case was before him.

    The prosecutor who later took over the case during the appeals process was also informative. Just a preface things, to me it is blindingly obvious that every allegation was completely made up out of whole cloth. You have to go watch the frontline documentaries or do a bunch of reading to reach that point if you don’t know anything about it, but suffice it to say that despite allegations of extreme sexual abuse of toddlers, including rape with butcher knives, there was never any physical evidence. In the allegations were so fantastical as to be entirely unbelievable. The documentaries present a solid theory as to exactly why these allegations were brought forward, a theory having absolutely nothing to do with anything being done to the children.

    In any event, the follow-on prosecutor was absolutely convinced that they were guilty. She kept pursuing the appeals and pursuing new prosecutions for years, despite it being almost impossible to justify as a rational human being. I found that to be very informative as well. Because I am going to take it as an article of faith that she is not a demonic creature but rather a well-meaning human being. This means that there were psychological forces at play that caused her to believe something that was wholly unbelievable. (Where have we seen that lately?)

    I was just a kid and didn’t have a platform, so I wasn’t able to use those tidbits of knowledge to shape an article. I would really love to see cases like those covered by Radley Balko when he was at reason or this case given the deep dive treatment where we see other perspectives and dig into the justifications that people give themselves.

    1. So, a long and unrelated tangent just to opine about the days when reason did journalism rather than just commentary?

      1. yup. I am useful like that.

  10. but contend that “the majority of the box-holders are criminals who used USPV’s anonymity to hide their ill-gotten wealth.”

    ?!! Really?

    1. I think you typoed “And?!?!”

      Or possibly “So?!?”.

      Or maybe: “And this gives you a right to do an end run around the constitution because…!?!”,

      Or perhaps the tried and true “F-off, slaver!!”

  11. Another reason to get rid of qualifies immunity for all government workers. Sue the agents put them in jail!

  12. Report the crime to the local cops. Maybe they have some balls to do something about.

  13. One more reason to shut down the FBI and”Re-imagine” it in a way that is in compliance with the Constitution.

    1. Agencies are not Constitutional. Time to end them.

  14. I smell a crime and the criminals are the FBI.

  15. Reminds me when the authorities were looting in the Katrina aftermath.

  16. When the people in charge of making the laws and enforcing the laws have no respect for the law, why should anybody else? You’re a sucker if you follow the laws that seem to apply only to you. People are horrified when cops or politicians get ambushed and shot – I don’t. Fuck ’em, fuck ’em all. If the law don’t apply to you, then it don’t apply to me, the social contract is a two-way street and you’ve broken the contract on your end.

    1. Yep x 1000.

      Civil Wars brewing in France…

  17. Well most of the rich Beverly Hills type are liberals, that voted for Biden, on Reason’s endorsement. In other words they are getting what they deserve.

  18. “the majority of the box-holders are criminals who used USPV’s anonymity to hide their ill-gotten wealth.”

    ” So in order to get a Warrant to invade and seize, they had to show Probable Cause and Evidence and how the crimes had been committed so they then would know which assets were part of the Warrant.

    No such Due Process happened. This was another Secret Court Lark, a fishing expedition.

    “Were the Government, were here to help you out of your money.”

    Remember what led to the War of Northern Aggression when Traitirham Lincoln used the US Military to attack Southern States? They had their own banks and currency.

    The US Givernment had passed the Crowbar Acts in the 1850s to seize similar assets.

    1. Time for your meds, peepaw.

  19. I would like to make a comment, but not on the specific event that triggered this article, which was apparently some kind of confiscation by the federal government. I know too little about law and about current events to be able to say anything interesting on the subject. Instead I would like to remark on the phrase “small government”, which reflects a quintessentially American concept, indeed so much so that as far as I know it exists only in English. I speak five or six West European languages fluently and constantly read the media in those languages, and I have never encountered the equivalent of that phrase in any of them. If a German or French journalist were to mention the concept, she would write “small government” in English. I would have to think a while before I came up with an acceptable translation in any of the languages I speak apart from English.
    But the plot thickens, because I have a degree in economics from a German university, and throughout all my economics studies and subsequent years or research and reading, I never stumbled across the concept or its equivalent. I grant that there are economists, indeed whole schools of them, who tend to discourage any expansion of governmental powers, alleging a number of reasons, such as in order to keep taxes and government expenditure low, or to prevent government meddling in the economy, but they never have the audacity to express their notions in such a condensed form. Not even Ludwig von Mises or Frédéric Bastiat, the boldest champions of free enterprise known to man, ever managed to coin a phrase in German or French that concentrated their ideology in a phrase as lapidary and concise as this.
    After having spent much my career studying the Austrian School, Milton Friedman and other exponents of minimal government, I am decidedly in favor of BIG GOVERNMENT.
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that economists, regardless of their manner of thinking, never utter that phrase. I think the underlying reason is that it’s nonsense and is based on ignorance.

    1. How ya doin’, Mike?

  20. All the gold
    In California
    Is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills
    In somebody else’s name

  21. Flag Comment Mute User
    I would like to make a comment, but not on the specific event that triggered this article, which was apparently some kind of confiscation by the federal government. I know too little about law and about current events to be able to say anything interesting on the subject. Instead I would like to remark on the phrase “small government”, which reflects a quintessentially American concept, indeed so much so that as far as I know it exists only in English. I speak five or six West European languages fluently and constantly read the media in those languages, and I have never encountered the equivalent of that phrase in any of them. If a German or French journalist were to mention the concept, she would write “small government” in English. I would have to think a while before I came up with an acceptable translation in any of the languages I speak apart from English.
    But the plot thickens, because I have a degree in economics from a German university, and throughout all my economics studies and subsequent years or research and reading, I never stumbled across the concept or its equivalent. I grant that there are economists, indeed whole schools of them, who tend to discourage any expansion of governmental powers, alleging a number of reasons, such as in order to keep taxes and government expenditure low, or to prevent government meddling in the economy, but they never have the audacity to express their notions in such a condensed form. Not even Ludwig von Mises or Frédéric Bastiat, the boldest champions of free enterprise known to man, ever managed to coin a phrase in German or French that concentrated their ideology in a phrase as lapidary and concise as this.
    After having spent much my career studying the Austrian School, Milton Friedman and other exponents of minimal government, I am decidedly in favor of BIG GOVERNMENT.
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that economists, regardless of their manner of thinking, never utter that phrase. I think the underlying reason is that it’s nonsense and is based on ignorance.

    1. What’s nonsense about it. Europeans probably don’t have a sense of limitation for government powers, not part of their traditions. Go back and reread your Mises and Bastiat, maybe some John Locke, Thomas Paine.

      1. it? ???????????????

    2. Yes big government is so great YOU should pay 150% of you income to support it!
      Government will always expand and keep expanding until someone stops it.

  22. “each box is being considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will investigate the boxes, or claims made on them” to determine if “the contents are related to criminal activity.””

    How exactly is the FBI any different than nazis again?

  23. Russian Bolsheviks did the same thing shortly after the October Revolution.

  24. This is a violation of our Constitutional property rights that is especially gruesome because the FBI violated its warrant. This is also a case where all the FBI officials involved in this event of seizing property with out a warrant as the article points out many owners of seized property were known to be outside the limits of the warrant. This is tyranny of the order of what Biden is trying to accomplish through his executive orders and through legislation. It all needs to be stopped and so far some of it has been. I hope the filed law suits succeed and those wronged do not suffer any real damages.

  25. (Both individuals are supporters of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

    You know who’s to blame for this? They are. As supporters of the Reason Foundation these buttholes probably said they were voting for Jo Jorgensen, but then probably voted like 90% of the other assholes who support the Reason Foundation. For Trump. Like idiots. Fuck ‘em. Maybe they’ll come out wiser for the wear.

    1. Biden would have done any better?

    2. How do you know? Did you see their votes? Like most lefties, you make a lot of unsupported assumptions. Even if they’re Trump supporters, they have constitutional rights.

  26. we know Biden Admin will quickly right the wrong and punish the FBI agents and supervisors responsible. Oh, wait…https://www.thegadgetzoo.com/

  27. When are the people going to understand that the feds themselves are a bunch of criminals? When can libertarians decide that attacking the feds, at this point, is a matter of self-defense? I know libertarians don’t like the idea of collectives, but I think that is an issue itself. What to do with folks who think like a collective?

  28. Tanks How do you know? Did you see their votes? Like most lefties, you make a lot of unsupported assumptions. Even if they’re Trump supporters, they have constitutional rights.

  29. The Legal argument the FBI used IF UPHELD in court will lead to MASS SEARCHES and SEIZURE of property in Apartment buildings, Commercial buildings, Corporate Buildings etc EVERYTHING on and IN property locations INCLUDING your BAG LUNCH can be seized even the clothes you’re wearing.
    Let’s say Bank of America or WellsFargo is suspected of financial wrong doing WHICH they both have a track record of engaging in…under this FAR REACHING legal argument by the FBI EVERYTHING on in every property involving these corporate entities can be SEIZED FOR INVESTIGATION.
    Which of course includes EVERY HOME which has a MORTGAGE held by them.
    The legal Argument is so CLOWNISH so wide reaching it basically requires EVERYONE to PROVE they legally obtained everything they own ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE CONSTANTLY.
    Lets go a step further into this wildly ILLEGAL OPERATION – STATE COLLEGES UNIVERSITY the Feds claim marijuana cocaine was sold by an EMPLOYEE on the business..which enables them to SEIZE EVERYONE’S PROPERTY.
    So if a College Janitor sells a bag of pot & a gram of coke to a Fed that then means they can SEIZE every college student and college employees property located on any given campus.
    Same for any location property- trucking company’s
    Meat packing plants, automobile factories, FARMS
    Military hardware manufacturers,etc etc
    Literally the FEDS are claiming if ONE SINGLE PERSON breaks the law in ANY GIVEN LOCATION everything at that location and associated with that location is subject to seizure.
    Well it’s to be expected in the Realm of Pluto where the 50 children of Atlas are Incarcerated for all eternity into 50 Titans/states no constitutional means of exit from DAMNATION.
    Jefferson’s wry jest gov based on Roman/Greek version of Hell/Hades Plutocracy realm of Pluto Lord of wealth God of DEATH.
    The children of Atlas went west beneath the waves founded a new land in the image of their Dark Lord and to him they sacrificed rivers of blood.
    Located beyond the PILLARS of HERCULES is the ENTRANCE to the land of 50 Titans/states Incarcerated forever into DAMNATION.
    And then the Towers FELL unleashing the WRATH of the Titans upon the world and they made terrible war without end.
    remember Greek/Roman mythology is based on pre science era beliefs in primitive Somatic psychology of human body when STATE and TÈMPLE were ONE.
    The U.S. gov a Plutocracy sees it’s own people as its greatest enemy and is engaged in a FOREVER WAR.
    It’s not Governance it’s a Psuedo PRISON SYSTEM Carceration from basic primitive human sexual psychology.
    EVERYTHING is OUTLAW, EVERYTHING outside of Badge wearing immunity clad law enforcement is ILLEGAL or CAN BE SEIZED at anytime.

  30. Everyone living in Beverly Hills is in the entertainment industry. What zip code do these theoretical “Honest People” live in?

  31. I went to crazy fish sushi the day of the raid, next door to the vault. There were multiple police and federal agencies from the El Monte police department to the postal inspector conducting the search. They brought out all the insert boxes and were inventorying them under a large tent, but still out in the open. They had boxes that were designed to be laid flat standing end on end. Several years ago when I was at crazy fish, one of the security guards gave me a tour of the vault. He showed my how the electronic entry system utilized an iris scan and how the rental of the box could be completely anonymous. He explained that if a person had valuables at there house, even in a safe, they could be forced at gunpoint to open the safe. Most home safes can be opened with a grinder so they provide little practical protection from theft. Of course the emphasis of the ability to anonymously open an account lends itself to probability that some of the deposit content of the account holders would be something illegal. This fact of course, puts this business on the radar to law enforcement. If you ever wanted to store illegal items you would likely not want to store them at a location that everyone knows is a depository for illegal items. Plus it is very easy for the police to monitor who is coming or going from the location. Needless to say, after the tour, this location would be the last place a person who was trying to avoid scrutiny would want to deposit their ill gotten gain if they had any brains. A police raid was inevitable.

  32. FIB abusing Americans? What’s next, Hoe Xiden stole an election?

  33. Federal law enforcement like the rest of the government is out of control. The Constitution be damned, everyone is guilty of something until proven otherwise. “Show me the man and I will show you the crime” (Beria). Sue them to get your stuff back and make the government pay your attorney’s fees.

  34. Anyone reading this from Europe, let’s say, not knowing the subject of the article was the US, would not be able to tell that country apart from the former Soviet Union or China today.

    It may be time to defund the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies, or simply abolish them! These bureaucracies have become far too “swampy”. Then create new agencies with a new mission and with new people.

    1. just leave off the last sentence

    2. That is right , Anyone reading this from Europe, let’s say, not knowing the subject of the article was the US, would not be able to tell that country apart from the former Soviet Union or China today.

  35. “… the burglars wore badges.”

    A.C.A.B.
    All
    Cops
    Are
    Burglars

    “Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal.”
    ~ Frederic Bastiat

    Bastiat was so correct in his assessment and warning, if much too generous with his “Sometimes” qualifier. Receiving government pay and benefits is receiving stolen property; and all cops are burglars, extortionists, kidnappers, and armed robbers.

  36. When can libertarians decide that attacking the feds, at this point, is a matter of self-defense? I know libertarians don’t like the idea of collectives, but I think that is an issue itself.

  37. In 1791 the Fourth Amendment was ratified due to 18th Century Red Coats from ransacking citizens’ homes, body and personal effects.

    Maybe the most vital component of the Fourth Amendment is that Red Coats (or government official) had a healthy risk of legal penalty for perjury or contempt of court. The official had to state there was probable cause evidence of a past crime.

    The Fourth Amendment’s letter & spirit have never been amended. FBI officials swear an oath of office not to violate it.

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