Tag Archives: revenue generation

The IRS Intentionally Targeted Innocent Small Business Owners in Order to Steal Millions Via Forfeiture Laws

IRS Asset Forfeiture Theft Small Business Revenue Generation

The Internal Revenue Service used deposit restrictions intended to detect profits from illegal activities to steal from innocent legal business owners.

Earlier this month, a report from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General detailed how the Internal Revenue Service used a restriction on deposits to bilk otherwise law abiding individuals and businesses of millions of dollars using asset forfeiture laws. Those restrictions require that any deposits made to a bank above $10,000 be reported to the IRS. The stated intention of that restriction is to draw attention to profits generated by illegal acts, such as terrorism and the violation of drug prohibitions.

In order to escape that scrutiny, many of those involved in such activities employ what is called “structuring,” which consists of splitting large deposits into multiple smaller deposits that are below that $10,000 threshold. However, many others involved in completely legal activities also do the same thing for various innocent reasons. Those reasons include a lack of awareness of those restrictions, insurance policies that limit coverage of deposits to less than that amount, and simply an effort to avoid extra paperwork (often on the advice of bank employees).

While structuring is illegal under the federal Bank Secrecy Act, according to the Inspector General it is really just a technicality that is intended to allow the initiation of an investigation into whether the deposits in question were derived from illegal activities. Instead, the IRS often used the practice of structuring alone as a justification to seize those deposits, via civil asset forfeiture. They also intentionally targeted small businesses and individuals engaged in legal activities due to the fact that they were less likely to be able to fight the forfeitures and in order to avoid “time consuming” investigations of actual criminals.

Via the Washington Post:

They “were not put in place just so that the Government could enforce the reporting requirements,” as the IG’s report puts it.

But according to the report, that’s exactly what happened at the IRS in recent years. The IRS pursued hundreds of cases from 2012 to 2015 on suspicion of structuring, but with no indications of connections to any criminal activity. Simply depositing cash in sums of less than $10,000 was all that it took to arouse agents’ suspicions, leading to the eventual seizure and forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash from people not otherwise suspected of criminal activity.

The IG took a random sample of 278 IRS forfeiture actions in cases where structuring was the primary basis for seizure. The report found that in 91 percent of those cases, the individuals and business had obtained their money legally.

“Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” according to a news release from the IG. “Rather, they were legal businesses such as jewelry stores, restaurant owners, gas station owners, scrap metal dealers, and others.”

More troubling, the report found that the pattern of seizures — targeting businesses that had obtained their money legally — was deliberate.

“One of the reasons why legal source cases were pursued was that the Department of Justice had encouraged task forces to engage in ‘quick hits,’ where property was more quickly seized and more quickly resolved through negotiation, rather than pursuing cases with other criminal activity (such as drug trafficking and money laundering), which are more time-consuming,” according to the news release.

In most cases, the report found, agents followed a protocol of “seize first, ask questions later.” Agents only questioned individuals and business owners after they had already seized their money.

In many cases, the property owners provided plausible explanations for their pattern of deposits. But these explanations appeared to have been disregarded or ignored.

“In most instances, we found no evidence that attempted to verify the property owners’ explanations,” according to the report.

It probably shouldn’t be that surprising that the Feds’ official revenue generators at the IRS jumped on an opportunity to go the extra mile and generate even more cash to fund our disfunctional, violent uncle’s war machine. Nor should it be particulary shocking that they avoided the tedious work of investigating actual criminals in favor of preying on innocent people that lack the ability to fight back.

Incidentally, it’s unknown exactly how much money the IRS stole from innocent businessmen, because they don’t voluntarily disclose those figures and refused to honor Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests for that information even after those requesting it said pretty please.

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Update: PA Cop Arrested For “Ongoing Pattern of Domestic Violence” to be Reinstated After Counseling

In July of last year, I posted about former Pennsylvania Officer of the Year Bryn Lindenmuth. As is common practice among “award winning” police officers, Officer Lindenmuth had just been arrested at the time. As is also very common among cops in general, the crime Lindenmuth was arrested for was domestic battery.

At the time of his arrest, Officer Lindenmuth’s wife, Kalina, characterized the abuse and mistreatment as “an ongoing pattern of violence that had happened many times before and not some momentary loss of temper.” And his four hour attack on her that day was not some minor verbal spat or “lover’s quarrel,” either.

As detailed in the YorkDispatch.com:

Kalina Lindenmuth returned home from a cookout about 10:45 p.m. Saturday, and was parked near her home. Bryn Lindenmuth drove by in his Jeep, got out, unlocked his wife’s car with spare keys and took her keys out of her car, according to documents.

Bryn Lindenmuth then yelled at Kalina Lindenmuth before heading off in his Jeep, documents state. Kalina Lindenmuth walked back to her home, where police say she found her husband throwing beer bottles on the front lawn.

When she went into the house, her husband continued to yell at her, taking her phone and looking through it, police said. Bryn Lindenmuth then allegedly ripped her tank top, ripped off her bra, scratched her and allegedly tore apart her sandals, documents state. He also allegedly ripped up photos of them together, police said.

Kalina Lindenmuth then sat on a recliner while Bryn Lindenmuth used her phone to call her sister, telling the sister to mind her own business and calling both women “pieces of sh—t,” according to police.

Police say Bryn Lindenmuth pushed over the recliner with his wife still in it and that when she tried to walk away, he blocked her and pushed her, then tried to throw her through the rear sliding-glass door.

Bryn Lindenmuth allegedly hoisted Kalina Lindenmuth over his shoulder, but she managed to get away and ran to get her phone. Bryn Lindenmuth got the phone first and put it in his pocket, police said, then picked her up again, trying to force her outside.

“Bryn used substantial force using his elbow and jammed it down hard on her shoulder in an attempt to knock her down,” documents state.

He then tried to lock Kalina Lindenmuth in the garage, telling her she could sleep there before turning off the lights, documents state. After that, Bryn Lindenmuth allegedly came into the garage, telling his wife they were leaving, and he tried to force her into the passenger seat of a vehicle.

Kalina Lindenmuth tried to get back into the home to get her phone and wallet, but “Bryn kept blocking her path and grabbed her arms and started to force her backward to possibly fall down the steps,” documents state.

Kalina Lindenmuth was able to grab her flip-flops and run to a neighbor’s home, where she used their phone to call 911, police said. The entirety of the incident lasted from about 11 p.m. until 3 a.m., according to police.

While speaking with police, Kalina Lindenmuth said she was scared of what her husband might do after she called police, adding that he has many weapons in the house, documents state. The couple’s two children were not present during the incident, police said.

At the time of my original post, Officer Lindenmuth was on paid vacation while the Good Cops at the Southwestern Regional Police Department “investigated” the violent attack he had committed on his wife. I speculated on whether they would opt for a complete whitewash or gifting him with a plea bargain for some really minor charge with a half-hearted slap on the wrist as “punishment.”

Now six months later, it’s been officially announced that they decided to go for option number two. (To be fair though, the wrist slap was so weak that it might as well be considered a tie.) Lindenmuth was allowed to plea down to a charge of “harassment.” Conveniently enough, Southwestern Regional Police Chief Gregory M. Bean has now stated that that charge, which doesn’t even qualify as a misdemeanor, “simply doesn’t allow them” to fire him.

Not only did he receive no meaningful punishment whatsoever, but Officer Lindenmuth also will be reinstated and will be back out there heroically protecting people from violent criminals again later this month. They did make him do some counseling, though. It’s almost like they’re actively trying to prevent cops from being held accountable for their actions…

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Man Ticketed for Helping His Neighbors Out by Plowing the Snow From in Front of Their Houses

No good deed goes unpunished when someone who’s “just doing their job” has something to say about it. After a Christmas storm dropped a bunch of snow on Pocatello, Idaho, Mitch Fisher went out and did the neighborly thing by using his ATV to plow the snow from the streets around his neighorhood, where according to him most of the residents are elderly people that are unable to deal with the snow themselves.

Unfortunately, as he was in the process of doing so a local Revenue Collector happened upon his act of kindness and decided he needed to be extorted a little bit. Apparently, Fischer had made a pile with the snow that had been plowed in front of his own house. In spite of the fact that the reason that pile was there was because he had moved all the snow out of everyone else’s way, that violated the letter of a law within the city codes of Pocatello.

And for that he had to be punished, regardless of the circumstances involved. It’s obviously a good thing that a Brave Hero in Blue was there to step in and protect those people from a friendly neighbor helping to make their streets safer during winter.

Via Local8News.com (the ABC affiliate in Pocatello):

Whenever it snows, Mitch Fisher is ready to help his neighbors, whether it’s clearing the sidewalks or trying to clear the street. When the area’s Christmas storm hit, he was out plowing his street with his ATV.

“I take care of the neighbors. They’re all elderly and I like to help them out,” Fisher said.

On Wednesday, however, a Pocatello police officer cited Fisher for an infraction — placing or depositing material on a public right of way. It carries a cost of more than $200.

Fisher said he was baffled by the situation.

“I tried to talk (the officer) out of it and tell him what I was doing, that I was trying to get it out of the street because (the street) hasn’t been plowed since the beginning of snow season,” he said. “Of course, he was doing his job, wrote the citation and went on his way.”

Chapter nine of Pocatello’s city code states, “It is unlawful for any person to deposit, place or allow to remain in or upon any public right of way any material or substance injurious to persons or property.” In this case, “public right of way” means the street.

Fisher argues he wasn’t moving the snow back into the street, but that he was doing the opposite. He moved the snow into a pile right next to his curb.

“I didn’t want it in front of (my neighbors’) houses because they can’t park. I don’t care if it’s in front of mine,” he said.

Despite the hefty price tag of his citation, Fisher doesn’t plan on stopping his snow removal efforts.

“I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t care about the city,” he said.

Fisher plans on contesting the ticket, hoping to show he wasn’t violating city code.

It is good to see that Fischer plans to fight the ticket, since most of these type of revenue generation based tickets are predicated on the idea that the person being preyed upon will just pay the fine and not be willing or able to take it to court.

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Booking Fees and Incarceration Costs; The Latest Revenue Generation Tools For Money Hungry Governments

The Supreme Court is preparing to consider the legality of a couple of new methods the police and courts have devised to generate revenue for the State. Several states, including Minnesota, Colorado, and Kentucky, have begun implementing fees and “incarceration cost” reimbursement charges against those who are arrested as a way to raise money for police and governmental budgets.

Much like their earlier forerunner to policing for profit, asset forfeiture and seizure laws, these fees are not based on a conviction and many times those subjected to them don’t even end up having charges filed against them. Another similarity is that the process for recouping them are either non-existent or so difficult or expensive that it generally makes it not worth the effort and most people simply allow the theft to stand.

Of course, that’s the point, since the policies have nothing to do with justice, but rather are solely intended to raise revenue for the State and its enforcement structures.

Via the New York Times:

Corey Statham had $46 in his pockets when he was arrested in Ramsey County, Minn., and charged with disorderly conduct. He was released two days later, and the charges were dismissed.

But the county kept $25 of Mr. Statham’s money as a “booking fee.” It returned the remaining $21 on a debit card subject to an array of fees. In the end, it cost Mr. Statham $7.25 to withdraw what was left of his money.

The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear Mr. Statham’s challenge to Ramsey County’s fund-raising efforts, which are part of a national trend to extract fees and fines from people who find themselves enmeshed in the criminal justice system.

Kentucky bills people held in its jails for the costs of incarcerating them, even if all charges are later dismissed. In Colorado, five towns raise more than 30 percent of their revenue from traffic tickets and fines. In Ferguson, Mo., “city officials have consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson’s law enforcement activity,” a Justice Department report found last year.

An unusual coalition of civil rights organizations, criminal defense lawyers and conservative and libertarian groups have challenged these sorts of policies, saying they confiscate private property without constitutional protections and lock poor people into a cycle of fines, debts and jail.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a separate challenge to a Colorado law that makes it hard for criminal defendants whose convictions were overturned to obtain refunds of fines and restitution, often amounting to thousands of dollars. That case, Nelson v. Colorado, will be argued on Jan. 9.

The Colorado law requires people who want their money back to file a separate lawsuit and prove their innocence by clear and convincing evidence.

The sums at issue are smaller in Ramsey County, which includes St. Paul. But they are taken from people who have merely been arrested. Some of them will never be charged with a crime. Others, like Mr. Statham, will have the charges against them dismissed. Still others will be tried but acquitted.

It is all the same to the county, which does not return the $25 booking fee even if the arrest does not lead to a conviction. Instead, it requires people like Mr. Statham to submit evidence to prove they are entitled to get their money back.

When the case was argued last year before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, a lawyer for the county acknowledged that its process was in tension with the presumption of innocence.

“There is some legwork involved,” the lawyer, Jason M. Hiveley said, but noted that it is possible for blameless people to get their $25 back. “They can do it as soon as they have the evidence that they haven’t been found guilty.”

The legwork proved too much for Mr. Statham. He never got his $25 back.

He did get a debit card for the remaining $21. But there was no practical way to extract his cash without paying some kind of fee. Among them: $1.50 a week for “maintenance” of the unwanted card, starting after 36 hours; $2.75 for using an A.T.M. to withdraw money; $3 for transferring the balance to a bank account; and $1.50 for checking the balance.

In its appeals court brief, the county said the debit cards were provided “for the convenience of the inmates,” who might find it hard to cash a check.

Mr. Statham is represented by Michael A. Carvin, a prominent conservative lawyer who has argued Supreme Court caseschallenging the Affordable Care Act and fees charged by public unions.

Mr. Carvin said the county’s motives were not rooted in solicitude for the people it had arrested. “Revenue-starved local governments are increasingly turning toward fees like Ramsey County’s in order to bridge their budgetary gaps,” he wrote in a Supreme Court brief. “But the unilateral decision of a single police officer cannot possibly justify summarily confiscating money.”

“Providing a profit motive to make arrests,” he said, “gives officers an incentive to make improper arrests.”

Obviously, these debit cards with their outrageous fees are anything but convenient. Also, while it’s beside the point from the start, the notion that an arbitrary fee based on no crime having been committed is valid because in the eyes of the courts it is not a large fee represents a unnecessary and undue hardship for many poor people that are barely making it on what they have already.

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If You Really Want to Eliminate Crime, Start By Abolishing The Police

This post was written by and originally published at the Libertarian Institute under the title “Want Crime to Go Down? Abolish the Local Police.” Posts and other content you think are worth sharing with the CopBlock Network can be sent in to us via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Some tips to make it more likely that your submission will get posted to the CopBlock Network can be found here.

(Note: This has been posted in its original form and no edits to the original text were made. Some links may have been added within the text and images have been added. In addition, the conclusions expressed within this initial introductory summary represent my own interpretation of what is being stated within Grigg’s writings.)

In the post below, Will Grigg discusses the unnecessary, redundant and wasteful local police departments in tiny towns throughout the country. Examples such as the recent resignation of the entire police force in Bunker Hill, Indiana show that these departments serve no real purpose in relation to protecting those communities from the very few real crimes committed there. And as the ill-fated “police strike” that the NYPD engaged in when people failed to bow and scrape properly to their local Heroes showed, it’s not just limited to small, rural communities, either. In fact, Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish, whose sheriff successfully petitioned to limit their police force’s “service” to revenue generation, illustrates what the real intentions (and historical origins) of the police are.

Want Crime to Go Down? Abolish the Local Police

Bunker Hill, Indiana, is a village of 900 people. It has not been consumed by the maelstrom of criminal violence that – we are told – would descend on any community even briefly deprived of the divine protection offered by a police department. The village obviously didn’t need the department it had until December 12, when the Town Marshal and his four reserve deputies walked off the job to protest decisions by the town board.

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Marshal Michael Thomison explained. Most of his complaints had to do with proposed budget cut-backs, and a refusal on the part of the council to purchase body armor for all five members of the department.

“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor,” grouses Thomison. “I told them we have to provide this…. They were just not receptive to having a police department.”

It’s just no fun to play dress-up and swagger around the village unless the kids get the full costume and all of the accessories. The historical resonance of the village’s name notwithstanding, Thomison and his buddies were not under siege by heavily armed adversaries, nor was there any realistic expectation that they ever would be.

Crime is practically non-existent in Bunker Hill – the most recent report lists one violent and ten property crimes – and the village is fifteen minutes away from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the county seat of Peru (a deranged cartographer was apparently responsible for assigning city and county names). It’s therefore reasonable to consider the police department as an unnecessary expense, and a potential source of avoidable trouble. That latter consideration, ironically, was underscored by the disgruntled officers themselves, who have accused town councilors of asking them to conduct unlawful background checks on each other.  The municipal officials stoutly deny ever making such requests.

What is the purpose of inflicting a police department on a minuscule settlement where crimes against persons and property are practically unknown? The obvious answer is that while such towns might be welcome havens from private criminal violence, there can be no sanctuary from revenue collection – and this is the core function of government law enforcement agencies, as Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish has recently reminded us.

Soileau’s office is dealing with budget cuts, layoffs, and a Justice Department civil rights investigation, and is thus determined to pare operations down to the basics. To that end, he asked for, and received, an advisory opinion from the state’s Attorney General regarding the following question: Can he legally operate “without having law enforcement duties,” and simply carrying out the role of a tax collector?

The Louisiana State Constitution, replied the Attorney General’s office, specifies that he is to be “the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law.” Where law enforcement is concerned, the sheriff’s duties are a matter of discretion. He is required to “keep the peace and make arrests,” but is not required to appoint a specific number of deputies to carry out that function. “Should a sheriff choose not to appoint deputies to assist in his law enforcement role, we could cite no statute that would forbid such a choice,” concluded the AG’s opinion.

Odd as this might seem to people who were suckled on resilient myths about sheriffs and police officers as valiant defenders of the public and protectors of private property, Sheriff Soileau’s arrangement actually restores his office to its primordial purpose.

Following the Norman conquest of England, the existing kinship-based system for defense of property and settlement of disputes was supplanted by a feudal order enforced through royal appointees called shire-reeves or shire-riffs – antecedents of the modern sheriff. Their duty was to maintain the “king’s peace” by collecting taxes and preventing private efforts at restitution for injuries. It was impermissible for subjects to settle disputes among themselves, since this would deprive the royal treasury of the fees imposed through the embryonic state’s “justice” system.

This is the disreputable origin of the venerable office of the local sheriff, the only lawman whose occupation is even remotely compatible with the American constitutional tradition. A spare handful of contemporary sheriffs, at most, see their role as protecting property rights, rather than serving the privileged elite that preys on the public, and they can expect to be harassed and driven from office.

Everything the State says is a lie, everything it claims to own it has stolen, and every act undertaken to enforce the State’s edicts is a crime. The disappearance of a law enforcement agency enhances the personal security of those residing in any community where such a blessed development occurs.

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