Friday, March 6, 2020

Innocent man who lost his life savings in DEA seizure, is having his money returned--sans apology

Chivis Martinez TY GUS  from WSJ


A Pittsburgh retiree who had his entire life savings confiscated by the Drug Enforcement Administration will finally get his money back. Last August, a DEA agent seized more than $82,000 in cash from Rebecca Brown, who was carrying the money for her father, Terry Rolin.

Determined to vindicate their rights, in January, Rebecca and Terry partnered with the Institute for Justice and sued the DEA, as well as the Transportation Security Administration, which flagged Rebecca’s carry-on because she was carrying a “large” amount of cash.

Terry and Rebecca were never charged with a crime. Nor is it against the law to travel with cash, a fact that even the TSA has recognized since at least 2009.

Now nearly two months after filing their lawsuit and half a year after the seizure, Rebecca and Terry will finally recover their money. Without apologizing or even acknowledging that the cash was wrongfully seized, the DEA sent the two a letter, announcing the agency’s decision in the past exonerative tense: “After further review, a decision has been made to return the property.” No further explanation was given.

“I’m grateful that my father’s life savings will soon be returned, but the money never should have been taken in the first place,” Rebecca said in a statement. “I can’t believe they’re not even offering an apology for the stress and pain they caused for my family.”
For years, Terry, a retired railroad engineer, would withdraw part of his retirement benefits in cash and hide them in envelopes throughout his basement—a habit he picked up from his parents, who lived through the Great Depression. When Terry collected all of his concealed envelopes (and some left by his parents) and sold his family home in Pittsburgh, he had collected $82,373 in cash.

Looking for a more secure option to store his savings, Terry asked Rebecca to deposit the cash into a new joint bank account. Unable to visit a bank before her early Monday morning flight back home to Boston, Rebecca brought the cash with her to the Pittsburgh airport. Once there, she was detained and interrogated, before the DEA seized the money.

Losing over $82,000 in savings imposed a significant hardship on Terry. “Without this money, my father was forced to put off necessary dental work—causing him serious pain for several months—and could not make critical repairs to his truck,” Rebecca explained.

Since Rebecca and Terry’s lawsuit includes class action claims against both the DEA and the TSA, their legal fight will continue. Declaring that the DEA and TSA’s cash seizure policies and practices violate the Fourth Amendment, Rebecca and Terry’s lawsuit aims to represent all air travelers nationwide who had their cash taken without probable cause over the past six years.

Their lawsuit could impact hundreds, if not thousands, of travelers. A USA Today investigation revealed that “DEA units assigned to patrol 15 of the nation’s busiest airports seized more than $209 million in cash from at least 5,200 people;” Pittsburgh International Airport accounted for 257 of those seizures.

In addition to the class action lawsuit, Rebecca and Terry have filed a so-called Bivens claim against DEA Agent Steve, who seized the cash from Rebecca at the airport. Named after a 1971 Supreme Court case, Bivens claims let individuals sue federal agents for damages for violating their constitutional rights.  Rebecca and Terry’s Bivens claim is still ongoing.

“The government shouldn’t be able to take money for no reason, hang on to it for months and then give it back like nothing happened, which is why the lawsuit we filed will continue,” Rebecca remarked. “No one should be forced to go through this nightmare.”


48 comments:

  1. The police once took $28k from my brother and never returned it because he had 7 grams of marijuana. Even though he had receipts for the check and all the proof one could ever reasonably ask for.

    It was for a large machine that my company had scrapped for him under our contract with a scrap processor. I had 3 people from my company write letters as well as the scrap company. It was ridiculous. Never saw a cent of it back and no lawyers would even touch it because those forfeiture cases are so ridiculous.

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    1. Ia bet your brother was really pissed about it. 28gs is a nice start up chunk to save up for a investment endeavor. What a broken system.

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    2. They stopped me with $70+k and was confiscated by DEA without probable cause. I was told to forfeit the money or be charge with money laundering. I had sold all of my tools after having surgery to get by.

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    3. This is the sort of legal corruption I am talking about when I say U.S.A has legalised corruption

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  2. Well, sorry, but it is easier to catch and abuse the innocent than to fight guilty motherfackers like the CIA's "rogue agents" who murder DEA heroes like Kiki Camarena whose martyrdom has been waiting for justice on the US for over 35 years.

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  3. The article is good but WSJ omitted some key components in order to make it a two sided view.

    1. Money over $10,000 has to be declared when traveling which she failed to do.
    2. Thier law firm said he the old man couldn't go to the dentist for months, because of the money held, what about the sale of the house, where did that money go?
    3. Who would carry that type of money like that ...asking to be robbed.
    4. Those primative ages of keeping loose money in the basement are gone, lastly he tells the lady to put it in a joint account, but had no time to go to the bank, before boarding the plane.

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    1. I thought of your #1 off the bat

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    2. That's true does not paint the whole story, it makes the DEA look like they are bad.

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    3. I think that's only if you are leaving the country.

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    4. @7:24 READ!Are banks open on Sunday? The answer to your questions.. None of your business. You don't know the FACTS or the old man's situation. The ONLY facts we know is that the money was NOT dirty...G.C.

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    5. I live on the Frontera, they will confiscate . (government) for any reason. Be very careful with cash, I notice locate bank don't want cash.

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    6. Such a knucklehead 853, he or she could have done it before traveling, of course 724 knows Banks are closed on Sundays.
      The old man is retired he had a ton of time, to go to bank during business hours.

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    7. All this would have been avoided, if the pops deposited in the bank, days before departing, unless he was too busy watching Chavo de 8.
      El Perin de Tamp.

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    8. Wait a second. This was INSIDE of the USA. Not traveling into or out of the country. Where exactly INSIDE of the U.S. when boarding a plane to fly to another state is there a CASH declaration point??????

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    9. Dude you gotta declare amounts over 10k when travelling INTERNATIONALLY. Last time I checked both PB and Boston were in the US of A

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    10. It shocks me that people think in their head that a person doesn't have the right to travel with or carrier hold on to what is theirs. Although the money technically belongs to the US government, that person earned that money. And what they choose to do with it, isn't someone else's business to decide. It surprises me that everyone thinks that this is acceptable and why should somebody be able to get away with this. I commend them for defending themselves and for assisting other people in preventing this type of behavior from happening any further, from The Drug Enforcement Administration. Or from the TSA. Or anybody else for that matter. People in this country need to wake up. A lot of the points that you made up there, are points from a person who is passing judgment on another person, 4 doing what they wanted to do in a free Society. That's why we have a constitution. People seem to forget that you have rights in this country, even if the haters of the world think that it should be otherwise. It's disturbing to think that somebody can just take somebody's money from them, just because they decided to do something with THEIR money. STOP HATING PEOPLE! I don't care if they were holding a million dollars in cash. If it's their money, who gets to decide that they get to take it away? That's completely ridiculous




      El Rabbit

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    11. You have to declare if you are caring over $10,000 out of the country, not within the USA.

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    12. You are absolutely correct. I usually fly intl and you are given the rules before you board. domestic is different and no limit.

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    13. the money declaration is when traveling in and outside of the US.

      the burden of proof for seizure initially is on the government. need probable cause if ill gotten gains.

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    14. Sorry but that’s only when going in or out of the country. Not when traveling inside the USA. There is no law that prohibits a person to go anywhere in the USA with their own money. Remember is always innocent until proven guilty.

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    15. Oh really? I have read about many old man and women who kept their money on their houses and not the bank. Not long ago a man died on his house in Las Vegas with more than 3 millions dollars in gold coins in weight. Who knows how much the value will be for collectors.

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    16. International earnings, no matter how illegal are sacred, loans, drug trafficking proceeds, money laundered investments, nobody's business, but if you carry or have a lotta cash inside the US, the laws change on the spot, better watch your ass, confiscated money is mostly gone for sure because you without your money can't talk,
      Then you walk like BS you are.

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    17. That's bullcrap even if you declared it they'd be on you asking where it came from which is really none of their dam business all they'll do is take it and keep it for themselves legal extortion dfoh

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  4. This article never said she didn't declare the money. Maybe she did and still got screwed.

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  5. Chivis, I like how you're fond of the word "sans".

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  6. She did claim the money that’s why they stopped her. I seen the YouTube video

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    1. Claimed and decleared are two different things.

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    2. She did not declared it.

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  7. The DEA azz is grassed, this lawsuit is way past due.

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  8. When they ask and she did declare then that’s what you would do if it’s legal money cause if it’s from illegal activity you don’t say shit.i have had money seized from me 2 times $28k and $25k and both times they made me sigh papers saying I forfeit the money and can’t fight for it .

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  9. This is nothing special but happens daily. Especially in small towns this happens very often. The local police is financed by this and the community can save the salary for the officers or their equipment. There were people who picked up the money for a new car from the bank, were on their way to the car dealer, were stopped and the money was gone.
    Complaints are pointless! You live in a police state and don't even notice it because of pride or narrow-mindedness.

    This one speaks for itself and hits the nail on the head.

    A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

    On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering an 1 person rowing.

    Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consultingcompany and paid them a huge amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people rowing.

    Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing teams management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the “Rowing Team Quality First Program” with meetings, dinners, free pens and scratch pads for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment and extra vacation days for practices, and bonuses.

    The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for the new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next years racing team was out-sourced to India.

    Sorry for getting OT but things like this drives me mad.

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  10. There needs to be a much higher standard or “reasonable suspicion” on behalf of law enforcement or otherwise this is a clear 4th amendment violation, and most importantly of all there needs to be a disconnect between the seizure of assets and the ability of the seizing entity to profit, even indirectly, from the seizure.
    Remove that one incentive and abuse of this statute should approach zero.

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  11. Depression era was decades ago, FDIC Banks are insured, trust them the house could have caught fire and you loose all that money.

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  12. Re "sans apology": if they made me choose between the money back and the apology, I don't know what I'd do.

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  13. Agree with 11:37. Also the $10,000 limit used in various ways is not inflation adjusted. Over a long enough time period that will be pocket change.

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  14. Keep the money in the bank where it belongs.

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  15. Hope they got interest ?

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    1. 4:11 shit and bullcrap are not officially recognized interest,
      --then if you have money in the bank you do not qualify for food stamps, welfare checks, meals on wheels, Medicare, overtime, corporate welfare queen checks or jobs, tariff bailouts etc, etc, and more etc.

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  16. Screw the Apology Give me my interest
    At the IRS s rates

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  17. Tax payers $ !!!!

    - concern citizen

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  18. 7:24 above needs to get the facts before simply firing off on people with information that is incorrect, and non of their/our business. We don't know people's situations, we don't know all the facts, and there are plenty of one sided articles flying around for us as it is. Don't be so quick to judge another and question their personal affairs by attacking them with data that does not apply to this story, or their case at all. We need to start supporting each other rather than quickly trying to one up another and ripping them apart with judgment and false assumptions...Stop hating and gather facts if interested, the people bashing and jumping to conclusions is not helping...

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  19. Good for that family for fighting for their money. Alot of people still believe in cash for whatever reason and that is their right.
    The DEA and government have the ability to follow us and wiretap and should be quite capable in determining legitamacy, if they so choose.
    Also, an apology would go a long way. This is supposedly OUR government, and we are not subjects to be treated like trash. I for one am still waiting for my local sherrif dept to apologize to me over my false arrest, but I won't hold my breath.

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  20. Most banks have banks Nationwide and she could have bought a cashier's check ; she either ignorant or stupid her excuse not going to the bank and her father is a retired railroad who get generous pensions with insurance so what's excuse with unable to go to the dentist and nothing is wrong or primitive with hiding money in your house but don't over do it but glad they got the money back and hope they win their lawsuit because the least they can do is apologize but those guys think their above the law let me their fearless leader Donnie who's always messing up.

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  21. Do the right things, and that man would have avoided the money issue. Yes we all know before going on a trip, plan ahead to put the money in the bank. Yes go Monday thru Friday ūüĎć.

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    1. Don’t be stupid. Having cash on hand is not against the law.

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    2. 1039 you don't get 859 is trying to convey, dumbfounded people don't comprehend, leave big time money in the bank, or your asking for trouble.

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  22. ....this is commonplace in the USA. recalling the case of the young man having lost 3000 given to him by his parents to attnd his grandfathers funeral, crooked police forces and cops in backwater one horse towns often demand and seize relatively small sums claiming money laundering, you who may live thousands of miles away need at least 2 court appearences on different dates to prove the money is yours and to get the money back. More often than not the money is simply forefeited much to the delight of the sheriff and town comptroller. It's nothing more than sanctioned institutional theft. Because the practice is so lucrative only 1 or 2 states (I think Vermont) have moved to make the practice unlawful. Expcet Louisiana and Alabama, where they actually have debtor prisons to be the last

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  23. We’re supposed to have some sort of sympathy for this families ignorance and idiocy?

    *It’s the man and his families stupidity that created this mess for themselves.

    Declare, wire, or carry the limit allowed “per person” and one minimizes suspicion.

    The end.

    ReplyDelete

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