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Family’s $82,000 Cash Savings Illegally Seized by U.S. Government

Family’s $82,000 Savings Seized for “Crime” of Transporting Cash

Since when has it not been necessary to commit a crime for the federal government to take preemptive action against you?

Must it even be necessary to show criminal intent? 

Or is it just a matter of exhibiting behavioral patterns (minus the actual crime) that fall within the category of illicit tendencies?

Apparently, carrying loads of cash, which in some cases can be necessary, is subject to being viewed as potential criminal behavior–at least, enough to give authorities reason to confiscate it.

That’s what happened to a 79-year old retired railroad engineer by the name of Terry Rolin and his daughter, Rebecca Brown.

Terry had a habit that he picked up from his parents: stashing physical cash safely in his basement. And by his 79th year, he had amassed around $82,373–his entire life savings, all in cash.

He and his daughter decided that because of his increasing healthcare needs, plus his need for extended assistance with various other expenditures, that it would be best for both of them to open a joint bank account.

But both Terry and his daughter thought it best to open a bank account not in his home state of Pennsylvania, but in her city and state of residence, Boston, MA.

Of course, this would entail the inconvenient task of transporting a large suitcase filled with cash from one state to the next.

Rebecca Brown didn’t get very far.

At the airport in Pittsburgh, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked her about the cash. A few minutes later, an agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came in and confiscated it.

Remember, this was her father’s hard-earned life savings. And for no apparent reason, other than carrying and transporting cash–private money that rightfully belonged to them–the federal government stepped in and seized it.

The federal government held on to Terry’s life savings for months. Furthermore, there was no statement nor any indication that the government had any intention of giving it back.

There was no crime committed. The money they confiscated was legally earned and owned, and it took a lifetime to accumulate.

There is no law against carrying cash. There is no law against transporting cash via commercial airplanes. There was no illicit activity, save the government’s overreach.

Terry Rolin and Rebecca Brown sought legal representation from the Institute for Justice (IJ).

According to Dan Alban, Senior Attorney for IJ, “flying with any amount of cash is completely legal, but once again we see government agents treating American citizens like criminals.”

He continues,  “You don’t forfeit your constitutional rights when you try to board an airplane. It is time for TSA and federal law enforcement to stop seizing cash from travelers simply because the government considers certain amounts of cash ‘suspicious.'”

Dan Alban notes that this is not the first time a confiscation of not-illicit funds had taken place. According to another IJ attorney, Jaba Tsitsuashvili, such practices have become “routine.”

Terry Rolin’s lawsuit challenges TSA’s legal authority to seize cash that poses no threat to travelers. It also claims that the DEA had violated Rolin’s constitutional rights when it seized his cash without probable cause). Last, the lawsuit seeks recompense for violations of these rights.

Having filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, its Defendants include David Pekoske, Uttam Dhillon, both of whom worked respectively for the TSA and DEA.

What’s concerning is that this complaint may end up becoming a “class action” suit. In other words, this has happened to thousands of others, government cash confiscations totaling in the Millions.

The bottom line here is that the “War on Cash” is not an alarmist slogan. It’s a real injustice that’s quietly happening to many Americans in various ways, from subtle coercion (encouraging you to digitize any form of hard monetary asset for the sake of convenience) to strong-arm actions, as what had happened to Terry Rolin and Rebecca Brown.

With such questionable policies, faith in government to dictate the terms of how money is to be issued and handled is a dubious matter–one that further strengthens our resolve toward sound money–that is, gold and silver–as true safe havens.

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