US Government Asset Seizures on the Rise

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by Simon Black: Why
Modern Democracy Is for Idiots

The Wall
Street Journal published a disturbing article earlier this week
entitled "Federal Asset Seizures Rise, Netting Innocent With

You can already
imagine the crux of the article.

In the United
States, there are hundreds of regulations which authorize dozens
federal agencies to confiscate private property – homes, cars, bank
accounts, gold, company shares, and even personal effects.

most Americans still think that they live in a country where you’re
innocent until proven guilty. Nothing could be further from the
truth, and it’s just another clear example of how the US Constitution
has become a worthless piece of toilet paper for the federal government.

The Fifth Amendment
states that "No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law." Tell that James Lieto,
a New York businessman who was relieved of $392,000 when the armored
car company used by his check-cashing firm was taken down by the

Lieto was innocent
and not implicated in any wrongdoing, but the FBI took his money
regardless as it just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong

Last October,
another businessman named Raul Stio was suspected of wrongdoing
by the Treasury Department. The government seized over $150,000
from his account, yet in the 10-months that followed, Stio has still
not been charged with a crime.

According to
Justice Department statistics, the total value of confiscated property
exceeded $2.5 billion in 2010, more than double from five years
ago. The average take per case? $166,000… and the vast majority
of cases were non-criminal.

It’s truly
staggering to think about how much can be taken away from you in
the blink of an eye, all without any judicial oversight or right
to a hearing.

The reason
could be anything. Maybe you violated some arcane, meaningless regulation
among the hundreds of thousands of pages of US Code (ignorance of
the law is NOT an excuse!). Maybe you were at the wrong place at
the wrong time. Or maybe they had no real reason at all other than
mere suspicion.

One minute
you have money, the next you’re completely locked out of your wealth
and livelihood. They force YOU to prove to them that you aren’t
guilty, but they take away any means you had to defend yourself.

the rest of the article

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