A Florida woman has become another victim of this country's tyrannical policies under the guise of "preventing terrorism."
Victoria Faren, a 78-year-old woman from Clearwater, Florida, was caught carrying $40,977 through customs when she tried to board a flight to the Philippines.
The shakedown happened at the Detroit Metropolitan airport on April 2. The court records were filed last Friday, and they describe the bizarre and disturbing incident:
When Faren and her daughter were first asked by officers how much money they were carrying, Faren reportedly said she was carrying $200. Her daughter reported carrying $1,200.
Records indicate Faren later reported carrying $1,200 on a written declaration, a figure change that made officials suspicious.
Federal law requires travelers to declare to customs authorities if they are carrying more than $10,000 in cash.
Faren allegedly first denied carrying anything other than the $1,200 she had written down, but an initial inspection of her bag reportedly yielded $8,000 stashed in various wallets. Officers again asked the woman if she was carrying any more cash.
"No, this is all the money," said Faren, according to court records.
After a closer examination, officers allegedly found an additional $4,000 sewed into a cloth pouch and $977 hidden in sealed envelopes.
A total of $12,977 had reportedly been found in her carry-on bag alone, according to the court documents.
Records indicate Faren then admitted to officers that she was carrying $3,000 in her blouse and $2,000 sewn into her bra strap.
When Faren reportedly told officers she had no more cash on her, they conducted a pat-down search, and "detected a bulge near [Faren's] buttocks," court records indicate.
Faren then reportedly removed $5,000 from the back of her girdle and told officers that she hadn't been carrying any more.
An officer then discovered another bulge in the front of Faren's girdle, which is when the woman began to cry and admitted to carrying more cash - $21,000 was hidden in her girdle alone, according to the report.
Records indicate Faren had been carrying a total of $40,977, which she allegedly said she had received after selling her home to her son for $120,000.
Reports say Faren thought carrying some of her money would be safer than wiring all of it to the Philippines.
No charges were placed, but officers seized the $40,977 as "currency forfeitable to the United States." Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj is petitioning to have the cash forfeited to the government.
It appears that he is looking to keep Faren's money under the tyrannical racket that is called civil asset forfeiture.
Poor Faren was probably unaware that the US government has found a way to "legally" steal assets from law-abiding citizens – without charging them with a crime. In civil asset forfeiture, the government takes action against your PROPERTY, not you.
Of course Juncaj wants to keep Faren's money. Just imagine what Michigan could buy with nearly $41k. Cha-ching!
Money stole from citizens via civil asset forfeiture has been used by state governments and police departments for all sorts of fun outings and toys, including but not limited to the following:
Concerts, drunken nights at bars, trips to Hawaii, gambling, Segways,"Disney Training", flying first class, renting fancy cars, banquets, beach parties, tanning salons, bribing cops, paying convicts to build a "party house", and…marijuana, alcohol, and prostitutes.
Unfortunately, Faren is probably going to have a pretty tough time getting her stolen money back from government thugs. But, maybe she'll be lucky, like Tara Mishra. Cops in Nebraska stole $1 million of Mishra's money from her business partners during a traffic stop (for speeding) in 2012. Mishra filed a federal lawsuit and earlier this year, she won. A judge awarded Mishra her $1.07 million, which covered the amount stolen from her plus interest.
Then the same judge awarded Mishra an additional $39,035 to cover her legal fees.
Mishra isn't the only victim of civil asset forfeiture who won a lawsuit and got her money back – two men were stopped by the same officer in Nevada last year, and both cases were settled by Humboldt County for undisclosed amounts.
Now, it appears that someone is paying attention and is trying to end this legalized theft.
On July 23, Senator Rand Paul introduced a bill called S. 2644, the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act, which would protect the rights of citizens and restore the Fifth Amendment's role in seizing property without due process of law.
From his press release:
Under current law, law enforcement agencies may take property suspected of involvement in crime without ever charging, let alone convicting, the property owner. In addition, state agencies routinely use federal asset forfeiture laws; ignoring state regulations to confiscate and receive financial proceeds from forfeited property.
The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General's Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury's General Fund.
"The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime," Sen. Paul said.
Eapen Thampy of Americans for Forfeiture Reform (AFR) told Police State USA that the FAIR Act is a "substantial reform of federal civil asset forfeiture" and explained the key components of the bill:
"It includes three key reforms: legislative re-appropriation of forfeiture revenues, a mandate that state and local law enforcement receiving forfeiture funds obey state laws regarding the disposition of those funds, and a mandate that the government must show clear and convincing evidence of wrongdoing before property is forfeited in court.
"While these reforms will not totally end abuses of the system," Thampy explained, "they will substantially level the legal playing field for victims of forfeiture and re-empower voters by reinstituting the legislative power of the purse over law enforcement. Additionally, drug policy and criminal justice reform advocates will find that asset forfeiture's role as a key economic engine of drug prohibition and police militarization will be substantially constrained if FAIR is passed."