BREAKING: Citizens And Companies Sue The DOJ For Using Civil Asset Forfeiture To Take 85 Million Dollars From Private Safes Without Charging Anyone Of A Crime

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Through the Unconstitutional act of civil asset forfeiture, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is attempting to permanently seize the contents of hundreds of safe deposit boxes, including over $85 million in cash, precious metals, jewelry, and other valuables worth millions more. The owners of the boxes, however, have not been charged with any crime and have not been notified of what the government thinks they did wrong. Now,  Several of those owners have joined an existing class action lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ) to stop the government's forfeiture plans.

Jeni Pearsons is the Director of Operations for a prestigious Los Angeles charity. Jeni and her husband, Michael Storc, rented a box to keep silver they purchased as a retirement nest fund. Now, the government is attempting to permanently seize Jeni and Michael's silver through civil asset forfeiture, without notifying either of them what the government thinks they have done to deserve such punishment.

"When we contacted the FBI they told us we just had to wait. But now we’re told the government wants to take our property forever. And why? It’s surreal," Pearsons told IJ.

Further, Travis May, the CEO of and a trustee of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think organization that publishes, is another victim of the government's unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture. Because he lives alone, travels frequently, and cash is not permitted in his Chase bank deposit box, he used his box at U.S. Private Vaults to keep $100,000 in gold and $63,000 in cash.

"The agents involved lied to a judge and violated their oath to uphold the constitution, while lining their own agencies’ pockets. The government is treating everyone who rented a box like they are a criminal as an excuse to take a fortune in cash and precious metals," Travis May told the Institute for Justice. "Congress should investigate this travesty of justice committed by these once-respected agencies, and finally end civil forfeiture."

Additionally, in recent weeks, several individual box holders who did not have cash or precious metals in their boxes have been able to retrieve their property. However, the process of reclaiming this property was laborious, traumatic, and time-consuming. Paul and Jennifer Snitko, two such examples of people who needed to "prove" to the government that they could have their own things even though they were not accused of a crime, used their box to keep items that were important to them, such as Paul's father's will, backup hard drives, family watches, and Paul's flight log.

The Snitkos' stuff was returned to them late last week at the FBI's Los Angeles headquarters. However, the Snitkos remain plaintiffs in the class action case even though their property has been recovered because the process was simply awful for them.

“This is an $85 million cash grab by the federal government,” Robert Frommer IJ's Senior Attorney said in a statement. “The government has no basis to think any of these people have done anything wrong. It just wants to keep their stuff. That’s unlawful and unconstitutional.”

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  1. who the fuck cares if its unconstitutional at this point. it's just theft. grand larceny. not even camouflaged. a classic from the doj and fbi though, especially under neolib or neocon control