Articles Posted in Money

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The Kansas Highway Patrol took over $15,000 in cash from Barbara Reese in 1995. For the last 23 years, she has fought to have her money returned. The latest attempt to resolve her situation—a bipartisan measure in the state legislature to compensate her—has been vetoed by the governor.

Back in 1995, Reese was working as an auto dealer. She was driving through Wyandotte County in order to buy vehicles. In the trunk was a suitcase containing her dealer’s license and the $15,000 cash. She was carrying an additional $2,000 with her in the car.
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In June, I reported on the case of Rustem Kazazi, who had about $58,000 in cash seized from him at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The case caused outrage across the country as Rustem was never charged with a crime. His money was taken using a process known as civil asset forfeiture, a legal procedure where law enforcement can take an individual’s property or cash without criminal charges being filed.

In good news, the Department of Homeland Security has now agreed to return $57,330 to Rustem together with interest earned. However, in a lawsuit from May, Rustem said Customs and Border Protection (CBP) took $58,100 in cash. A hearing has been set for December to decide whether the federal government will have to give Rustem the additional $770.
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On July 27, 2016, Ryan Chappell was driving his father’s Jeep back home on the west side of Detroit, Michigan. On his way, he stopped off at a medical marijuana dispensary. “I had just got off work,” said Ryan, “and stopped at the store sharing the parking lot with the dispensary. Then I stopped in the dispensary. Went in and walked right back out. I asked them a quick question.”

Police pulled Ryan over after he left the parking lot. They seized the 1996 Grand Cherokee Ryan had been driving. “They didn’t even search me. They didn’t give me a reason why they were towing my car,” said Ryan. Frustrated by events, Ryan asked an officer how he would be able to go to work without the vehicle. The police response was “figure it out.”
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Josh Gingerich of Yuba City in northern California buys and flips trucks for a living. On a buying trip in February, the DEA stopped Josh at the airport and confiscated the $29,000 in cash he was carrying. Josh was not arrested, nor did he commit any crime. Despite this, the DEA is refusing to give his money back.

Law enforcement was able to take Josh’s money using a process called civil asset forfeiture. This is a legal procedure where property or cash can be seized if it has been suspected of involvement in a crime. As it is a civil and not a legal procedure, in most states property owners do not need to be charged with a crime before their property may be taken.
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On Thanksgiving Day, 2016, Aaron Dorn was arrested by state troopers in North Dakota. Aaron, who is from upstate New York, was in North Dakota protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. He was arrested in Mandan, to the west of state capital Bismarck. The officer who arrested him said Aaron had swerved his Chevrolet Silverado in order to ram his vehicle into traffic on Main Street.

Aaron was charged with reckless endangerment, and his truck was seized using a process known as civil asset forfeiture. This is a procedure used by law enforcement to take property or cash even if the owner has not been convicted of a crime. In June this year, Aaron was acquitted of all criminal charges related to his arrest. Despite this, he has been unable to get his truck back. Since the vehicle was seized in a civil process and not as part of the criminal case, it is regarded as a separate matter legally.
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