The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) is under fire for an allegedly unconstitutional seizure of 800 lockers in Beverly Hills. The FBI reportedly seized $ 86 million in cash, jewelry, and thousands of gold and silver bars. Crate owners and their attorneys are calling federal law enforcement agencies because they don’t have sufficient evidence that the crates contained evidence of a connection with certain crimes.
Abuse of power? Lawyers believe the FBI has unconstitutionally confiscated people’s savings
The FBI has seized over 800 safes that were located in Beverly Hills and kept in the US Private Vaults Store. The FBI was reportedly ordered by a California judge to confiscate the store’s “office equipment” allegedly related to a money laundering case. The order blocked the search of the locker contents, explains LA Times reporter Michael Finnegan.
“This arrest warrant does not authorize a criminal search or confiscation of the contents of the lockers,” says the order signed by US Judge Steve Kim.
A video image obtained from the US court in California shows federal agents seizing items from the US Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills. Lawyers say the FBI has abused its power and the recoveries are unconstitutional. 369 of the boxes contained $ 86 million worth of valuables and the raid lasted five days. Federal agent Thom Mrozek denies any wrongdoing, saying 75 boxes have been returned and another 175 will be returned to owners.
The safe owners and their attorneys believe the FBI wronged them. So far, 11 lawsuits have been filed by safe owners against the federal agency. Lawyers representing large numbers of pit owners said federal law enforcement did not receive a standard arrest warrant stating the likely cause. Benjamin Gluck, an attorney representing US Private Vaults storage box owners, believes the FBI has violated standard protocol.
“[The government] I can’t take anything without evidence in the hope you get it later, ”Gluck told the LA Times. “The Fourth Amendment and Forfeiture Acts require the opposite – that you have the evidence first, and then you can take property.” Speaking to Reason, Gluck noted that federal agents are holding people’s money hostage. Luck said:
It was inappropriate for the government to confiscate these properties in the first place, it was not ruthless that they used them as hostages to pressure the owners to divulge private information, and outrageous that they appeared to have treated the properties so carelessly that they seem to have lost at least part of it.
A lawyer for a safe owner says: “The constitution does not honor the guilt of the association”
Joseph Ruiz lost his savings in the FBI raid, saying federal agents took $ 57,000 in cash. Ruiz received the funds in documented legal settlements and the FBI has given him no explanation. “They just stole my money,” said Ruiz. “I am portrayed as a criminal and I have done nothing. I am a law abiding citizen, ”he added.
“They throw people like Joseph into this upside-down world where they didn’t do anything wrong, but they are forced to bring a lawsuit against the government just to get their property back and prove their own innocence,” Robert Frommer, a lawyer for said Joseph Ruiz in an interview.
Frommer works for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, and wrote an editorial about the FBI on the Orange County Register. “The constitution doesn’t hold guilt by association,” argues Frommer. “What the government has done here is completely backward. The government cannot search every apartment in a building because the landlord is involved in a crime. After all, if someone rents an apartment, that apartment belongs to them, ”added the lawyer.
Despite the allegations, the FBI denies the federal agency got it wrong. An FBI spokesman, Thom Mrozek, denies that the federal agency has abused its powers, pointing out that funds are allegedly tied to misdeeds. Finnegan’s research notes that large stacks of cash held by someone with no source of income can lead to decay. “We have a certain basis to assume that the objects are connected to criminal activities,” Mrozek emphasized in an interview.
Federal seizures like this one highlight the benefits of crypto assets like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which are much more difficult to seize than boxes of cash and jewels. Countless reports over the past decade show that law enforcement agencies have illegally stolen people’s savings to travel with large bundles of money or precious metals. These legalized pirates took $ 46 billion from recovery cases (2000-2019 data), and the U.S. federal government withheld the lion’s share of the funds.
In fact, US law enforcement collects billions of forfeiture cases every year, and many are never investigated. The abuse has led to unprecedented levels of abuse, to the point where human rights groups refer to the operation as “policing for profit”. The huge stash of cash and jewels taken annually by federal agencies doesn’t even take into account the colossal amount of land seizures that federal agencies undertake in confiscation cases.
An attorney for an anonymous pit owner, Jeffrey B. Isaacs, says his unidentified client, “James Poe”, believes he was doing nothing wrong. Isaacs insisted that the FBI’s recent raid on Private Vaults was one of the deepest “illegal searches and seizures I have ever seen.” Prosecutors are trying to “force people to reveal their identities in order to investigate them. It’s unprecedented and I think it’s very dangerous, ”Isaacs concluded.
What do you think of the FBI seizing 800 lockers in Beverly Hills, claiming the funds were “connected to criminal activity”? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments below.
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Attorneys, Benjamin Gluck, Beverly Hills, Bitcoin, Civil Asset Forfeiture, Cryptocurrencies, Lockers, FBI, Federal Bureau Investigation, Illegal, Illegal Search and Seizure, Institute of Justice, Joseph Ruiz, Law Enforcement, Robert Frommer, Lockers, Seizures, Steve Kim, US Private Vaults Store, US Law Enforcement, Warranty Free
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