June 29, 2015

DON’T CARRY CASH, THE FEDS MIGHT STEAL IT: A New York City nail salon owner tried to take his life savings of $44,000 to help his siblings in California. The DEA took it from him at JFK airport, without so much as issuing a citation. Now he’s suing to get it back–but he has very little chance of succeeding. Read the whole sad story, including a copy of the lawsuit, here. From the article:

Nevertheless, the DEA took all of Do’s money under the assumption that he’s involved in the drug business, despite being more than willing to let him go without even a citation. Do had planned to take his money to California to help his financially-struggling siblings out, but ran into the DEA first.

Then there’s this:

The Plaintiff did not know that it was a violation of Federal regulations to carry cash in excess of $5,000 at the time of the seizure.There’s a good reason for not knowing this. There is no federal regulation prohibiting citizens from walking around (or boarding planes) with any amount of cash. Asset forfeiture laws make this practice unwise, but nothing in federal law says Do was forbidden from boarding a plane with his $44,000.

As Institute for Justice attorney Darpana Sheth said about IJ’s latest civil forfeiture case, “Carrying cash is not a crime. No one should lose their life savings when no drugs or evidence of any crime are found on them or their belongings.”

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