The New York Times finally got around to contacting the IRS about the IRS’s long-time practice of stealing money out of people’s bank accounts — people who have committed no crime.
This is part of the civil asset forfeiture program. The government agency — federal, state, or local — seizes your money. You are never prosecuted by the agency for having committed a crime. The agency keeps the money.
The Times reports:
Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports. Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.
Got that? Only $34,000. These are little people, not organized criminal syndicates. They can’t afford to fight back. The money is chump change. The government runs a $500 billion annual deficit, and the IRS is stealing $34,000 per heist. It’s just some agent meeting his quota. Little people get stung.
Why don’t the banks warn the depositors to stop this? Because it’s illegal for them to warn depositors.
Sweat deal for the IRS, right? It was for a long time.
At this point, an IRS official has decided to stop the practice. He will send a memo to this effect, he promises. From now on, people must be charged with a crime when the IRS seizes their money. But the IRS did not cease this practice until facing media exposure by the Times.
This is America, the land of the free. You read it in your government-run high school civics textbook.