Such individuals have every right to be afraid that their governments may one day hold them responsible for your actions. As governments around the world wake up to the fact that they have basically run out of money, there really seems to be no end to the tactics they will use to bring more money their way. The most recent favorite is to simply reach out and grab, by making use of government forfeitures and seizures. Such government tyranny is no longer limited to the domain of totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships. In so-called western democracies, the state increasingly has granted itself the power to simply take from you whatever it desires.
In the US, such totalitarian methods have long since come into full swing. In less than ten years, government seizures have climbed from a starting point of US $30 million in 1985 to an incredible US $644 million in 1991. This figure again went on to almost double in the following year as government seizures totalled slightly over US $1 billion for 1992. The trend is clear, as your government struggles madly to keep its financial head above water, it will resort to whatever means necessary to keep itself afloat. Governments, like most entities on this planet, are interested first and foremost in self-preservation.
To achieve this end, outdated concepts such as justice and freedom have long since been abandoned. Today, in the land of the free and home of the brave, the US government can quite easily and legally sell your home at auction, drain your bank accounts, empty your safety deposit boxes and make your weekly paycheck payable to none other than Uncle Sam. Property can be seized on the grounds of probable cause or on the basis of circumstantial evidence. AH of this can be done before you even appear in court. In many cases, you need never be charged with any crime. The growing list of violations for which your assets can be seized currently includes over one hundred crimes, ranging from tax evasion, to money laundering, to drug offenses, to environmental offenses, to any “predicate offense” of the racketeering statutes.
Your government’s objective is pure and simple, money. Consider the following example. Many years ago, an American friend opened a bank account for his one year old son. The son’s name was different from his own, although the surname was of course the same. As the baby did not yet have a social security number, the father gave his own number to meet the bank’s requirements. Twenty-eight years later, the son’s account had grown to a very substantial sum, all of which had been earned and saved by the son, not the father.
The father became involved in a civil tax dispute. As a result, the IRS without any notice or
trial seized every penny in the son’s account. No court order was delivered to the son. His checks just started bouncing. His bank said, “Under the law we must turn over all your money to any IRS agent who presents us with an order. The IRS agent can write it out on the spot without consulting anyone else.’’ Even after the son spent a fortune in legal fees and demonstrated unquestionable proof that all but US $10 was strictly his own money, the state still refused to hand back the money. Such stories have become far too common.
Yet another favorite tactic to separate you from your property is to claim that your property has taken on a life of its own. This type of civil forfeiture has quite a long history, but until recently has only been used sparingly. In such cases, it is your property, not you, that is found guilty and then seized accordingly. In other words, if any illegal activity happens on or in your property, it is subject to seizure regardless of whether or not you have any knowledge of the crime committed. Do you own rental property? If one of your tenants decides to become a part-time drug dealer or even engage in recreational drug use, you may well lose your property.
I hear about such unjust seizures all of the time. One acquaintance, let’s call him Victor, once lost a luxury yacht to government seizure. He used it just a couple of weeks a year. The rest of the time, he turned it over to a charter company, which in turn advertised and rented it out by the week to anybody willing to pay the rental. Everybody was happy. The charter company earned a nice commission while Victor was able to generate income from the yacht when he was not using it. One week, a nice-looking young couple rented the yacht, claiming they were going on their honeymoon. In reality, unknown to both the boat charter company and to Victor, they headed to Mexico and loaded the yacht with marijuana. When they returned, the US Coast Guard searched the yacht, found the dope, then arrested the couple and seized the yacht.
Victor only learned about this when government agents visited him and told him to sign over the title to the yacht. “It is not your yacht any more,” they brutally informed him, “It has been used in a federal crime, therefore it is now by law the property of the US government.” Victor couldn’t believe this. He had no knowledge of the crime yet he still lost his yacht. Insurance didn’t cover him. All of a sudden, he was almost a million dollars poorer, even though he had not done anything wrong or broken the law in any way.
Of course, if you are unfortunate enough to be charged with a criminal offense, whether it be real or imagined, you stand a good chance of losing a lot more than just one prized yacht. You may soon be making an appearance in the bankruptcy court as criminal forfeiture laws are far more all encompassing than their civil counterparts. The US RICO acts allow Big Brother to not only seize your assets that are allegedly linked to a crime, but also to seize any and all assets that allow you a “source of influence” over the alleged criminal behavior. A new favorite tactic of government bureaucrats seems to be to bankrupt defendants so that they can longer afford their own basic living expenses, never mind the high cost of mounting an adequate legal defense. In this way, these bureau-rats need not work half as hard to prove their case. At the same time, they manage to add yet more booty to government coffers.