I realize that Obamacare starts tomorrow, but I often wonder whether we still live in the United States, once the land of opportunity.
I read in the Destroit Free Press the other day that the federal government literally stole $35,000 from a small businessman under “asset forfeiture” laws, claiming his regular bank deposits were “suspicious.”
It has been eight months since the IRS seized more than $35,000 from the bank account of Tarik (Terry) Dehko’s grocery store in Fraser.

Dehko was not charged with a crime, but the IRS, according to court records, claims he violated federal law with the type of cash deposits he made into the store’s bank account, which the government drained in January.

Dehko and his daughter, Sandy Thomas, who works part time at the store — Schott’s Market on East 14 Mile — have filed suit in federal court Wednesday in an attempt to get the case before a judge. They want their money returned, and they want to stop similar actions in the future.

Dehko, 69, who came to the U.S. from Baghdad, Iraq, in 1970, calls the U.S. the land of opportunity, but he does not understand how the government can seize his money without warning and, according to him, without cause.

No indication of any sort of criminal activity, mind you. Some bureaucrat simply didn’t like his banking practices, so they seized his funds. No warning, no notice, no hearing, nothing!
They keep this stuff up, and pretty soon people will stop calling the U.S. the land of opportunity.
Thanks to the IRS, now Dehko can’t cover his operating expenses:
Dehko said he works seven days a week at his store, and that it has been a struggle to cover expenses after losing so much money.

According to the court filings, the IRS claims Dehko skirted rules that deposits greater than $10,000 be reported by making many smaller deposits. Larry Salzman, an attorney with the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice, which is working on Dehko’s behalf, said the deposits were often in the $9,000 range, but that Dehko made regular deposits in those amounts because his insurance policy will not cover him for loss or theft of more than $10,000 in cash in the store.

Dehko said a federal agent came to his store in January and told him his funds were being seized, and Dehko has been fighting ever since. Dehko noted that the government offered to settle with him, but the offer was for 20% of what was seized, so he rejected it. The court filings note that the IRS had found no violations during an audit of Dehko’s books in April 2012.

They don’t care about actual violations; they just want to seize money, because the law lets them use it:
Salzman called the government’s investigation sloppy and said that if the IRS had bothered to ask questions before seizing the money, the issue could have been avoided. However, Salzman said, federal forfeiture laws are really the problem, especially because the law allows agencies to use the funds they seize, creating a kind of incentive for such actions.

“Civil forfeiture really turns the American principle of innocent until proven guilty on its head,” Salzman said.

Dehko’s daughter, Sandy Thomas, 40, of Southfield, said she never imagined the government could seize someone’s money just because of how the person put it in the bank, and the case has left her frustrated.

“We should be innocent until proven guilty, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Thomas said. “We should be guilty of something other than making deposits in the bank.”

Real criminals, of course, already know that the last thing you should do is make deposits in the bank.
The rest of us will have to learn the hard way.