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Lawsuit: elderly man's savings seized at gate by DEA thanks to TSA help

Lawsuit: elderly man's savings seized at gate by DEA thanks to TSA help

Old Jan 17, 20, 1:51 pm
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Lawsuit: elderly man's savings seized at gate by DEA thanks to TSA help

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...f6d_story.html

Every dollar Terry Rolin had saved over a lifetime was stacked in a large Tupperware container: $82,373. At 79, he was aging and worried about keeping so much cash on hand, his daughter said, so during one of her visits he asked her to open a joint bank account.


Rebecca Brown was catching a flight home from the Pittsburgh airport early the next day and said she didn’t have time to stop at a bank. She confirmed on a government website that it’s legal to carry any amount of cash on a domestic flight and tucked the money in her carry-on.
. . .
minutes before departure in late August, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent met her at the busy gate and questioned her about the cash. . . . Brown recalled the agent saying. “ ‘We’re seizing the cash.’ ”


Brown said she was never told she or her father were under suspicion of committing any crime and neither has been charged with anything.

It seems TSA saw the cash on x-ray, copied down her ID information, called police, and then released her, only to have DSA intercept her at the gate. (IMO she probably should have left the airport when released, but hindsight is 20/20 and you can't expect average citizens to exercise that level of paranoia when doing something completely legal.) Her travel was domestic; no requirements to declare cash.

It sounds like a fairly typical case of innocent people who should never have been on the radar of law enforcement getting caught up asset seizure. Siezure policies should be fixed, but there's also a real policy problem of allowing the results of suspicion-less dragnet searches of innocent people to be used by law enforcement. I'm glad she's suing both DEA and TSA; IMO they share the blame.

I hopes she gets some justice, but I am not hopeful.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 7:15 pm
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Old Jan 20, 20, 7:46 am
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I read in the WaPo that the DEA is now turning over forfeiture monies over to fund the wall along the southern border so to "prevent" drug smuggling.

Last edited by FlyingUnderTheRadar; Jan 20, 20 at 11:43 am
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Old Jan 20, 20, 9:03 am
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Nope, the TSA doesn't search for cash. Just ask 'em:

A TSA screener noticed the cash in Brown’s carry-on during a scan and pulled her aside for questioning, Brown said. The screener asked what the money was for, photocopied her ID and travel documents and held her luggage until a Pennsylvania state trooper arrived. The lawsuit claims the TSA exceeded its authority in holding Brown’s bag.
It's clear that they are trained to search for cash (and also drugs).
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Old Jan 26, 20, 6:46 am
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Thank God this happened in the Land of Freedom, the U.S. of A.
If it happened anywhere else it would be called theft.

Last edited by yandosan; Jan 27, 20 at 7:55 am
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Old Feb 6, 20, 12:23 pm
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I know people are not totally knowledgeable of what can happen at airports (TSA, DEA, etc) but all could have been avoided if she had delayed her flight (paid the difference) and dealt with a local bank where her father lived, taken the time to open a joint or "in trust for" account with him present, proven relationship etc. Better to deal with bankers in this matter than airport TSA/ DEA personnel. Tragically sad; I hope they get the full money amount back.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingNone View Post
I know people are not totally knowledgeable of what can happen at airports (TSA, DEA, etc) but all could have been avoided if she had delayed her flight (paid the difference) and dealt with a local bank where her father lived, taken the time to open a joint or "in trust for" account with him present, proven relationship etc. Better to deal with bankers in this matter than airport TSA/ DEA personnel. Tragically sad; I hope they get the full money amount back.
I must say that I don't understand the point of the first sentence of your post in the context of this forum. This is the "Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate" forum. As such, practical advice on how to avoid getting your money stolen by government overreach with the assumption that "what can happen at airports (TSA, DEA)" is what it is and one should alter one's life around such overreach doesn't help; there is another forum for such practical "be-a-sheeple" advice that has the word "Practical" in its title. Addressing the last sentence of your post, yes, it is sad that our government overreaches in such obnoxious ways and I hope she gets her money back too and also that her class is certified and granted relief.

"Avoid cash" is not the answer to the government stealing cash; practical advice in 20/20 hindsight is not a substitute for robust policy debate.
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Old Feb 14, 20, 3:42 pm
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Another case of cash being seized after TSA screeners noted "something" in the travelers carry on bag. I find it hard to believe that TSA is not involved in searches outside of their mandate based on the continuing incidents strongly suggesting that TSA is focused on more than WEI.

Feds seize $181,000 from trucker at Tampa airport
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Old Feb 14, 20, 9:23 pm
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Post

Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Another case of cash being seized after TSA screeners noted "something" in the travelers carry on bag. I find it hard to believe that TSA is not involved in searches outside of their mandate based on the continuing incidents strongly suggesting that TSA is focused on more than WEI.

Feds seize $181,000 from trucker at Tampa airport
That's what the complaint says.

Last edited by Ari; Feb 14, 20 at 9:31 pm
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Old Feb 14, 20, 9:27 pm
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2 of 2.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 8:10 am
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Thoughts:

1. I hope the Bivens provision sticks against the aggressive pitbull DHS agent. Financial ruin is not a bad punishment. At the very least, he should be personally responsible for paying the cost of lost revenue that the four trucks would have brought to the company.
2. Speaking of lost revenue, I'm surprised that the complaint didn't include a loss of revenue complaint. I'm not sure how you would calculate this, but I'm sure the trucking industry has algorithms.
3. The lawsuit takes a pretty good shot at the TSA exceeding its authority to search for drugs and cash and detain passengers.

For the lawyers -- I saw a handwritten $400. Is that what it cost the victims to file the lawsuit? Can the government use the 90-day rules to get out of this and keep the company's money? What do people think happened to the missing $21K?
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Old Feb 17, 20, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
For the lawyers -- I saw a handwritten $400. Is that what it cost the victims to file the lawsuit?
1) I am not a lawyer.
2) Sort of. The action seeks relief under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g) for return of the seized funds. There is no fee to file a 41(g) motion. Accordingly, had the victims only filed a criminal 41(g) motion, no filing fee would have been necessary to initiate the action. However, in the same action, the victims in this case also chose to sue for damages under a Bivens Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure theory. That is a civil action for damages just like any other. The filing fee to file a civil action in federal court is $400.

Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
Can the government use the 90-day rules to get out of this and keep the company's money?
Can you explain your question a little more; I don't quite understand it. There is an important 35-day case-dispositive deadline when it comes to federal seizures:
  • "A claim under subparagraph (A) may be filed not later than the deadline set forth in a personal notice letter (which deadline may be not earlier than 35 days after the date the letter is mailed), except that if that letter is not received, then a claim may be filed not later than 30 days after the date of final publication of notice of seizure." If this doesn't happen, the government keeps the money. In this case, it appears the government sent a notice of seizure on October 9, 2019. It appears that the victims filed verified claims in response to that notice of seizure well within 35 days on November 4, 2019.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
2. Speaking of lost revenue, I'm surprised that the complaint didn't include a loss of revenue complaint. I'm not sure how you would calculate this, but I'm sure the trucking industry has algorithms.

What do people think happened to the missing $21K?
items 63 through 71 of the complaint (in the second portion of the complaint) raise the issues of loss of income as well as emotional distress, pain and suffering.

Item 81 essentially claims Thelander converted (stole) the missing money. It was either him or the clerical staff back at the station which is just stupid considering he already gave the pax a receipt for the entire amount.... most likely they will claim administrative error and correct the amount.

But it sounds as if the gubmint missed its filing deadlines to keep the money so these guys should get their money back - but probably without any interest or penalty. If the money is returned then I suspect the rest of the case will be dropped or dismissed as it would take most of the $181k in legal beagle fees to pursue damages under Bivens with little likelihood of prevailing (the government doesn't take kindly to being sued).
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Old Feb 20, 20, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
items 63 through 71 of the complaint (in the second portion of the complaint) raise the issues of loss of income as well as emotional distress, pain and suffering.
....
I find it hard to believe anyone involved in this escapade could be so stupid, after ascertaining the facts at the police station, to think the trucking company owners would not pursue the return of their money and the likelihood of their prevailing in court.
I suspect this was a deliberate act to create a newsworthy story that would serve to discourage any other such legal cash transactions in the future.
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Old Feb 20, 20, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by nachtnebel View Post
I find it hard to believe anyone involved in this escapade could be so stupid, after ascertaining the facts at the police station, to think the trucking company owners would not pursue the return of their money and the likelihood of their prevailing in court.
I suspect this was a deliberate act to create a newsworthy story that would serve to discourage any other such legal cash transactions in the future.

I hope the trucking company recovers every penny of their money plus damages/expenses but the crime is having to hire lawyers to fight government in such cases. Civil Forfeiture laws need to be tossed. If government can’t specify a crime then no seizure should be permitted.
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