Regarding the May 8 editorial “IRS excess” on the IRS seizure of Lyndon McLellan’s bank account of over $100,000 under the civil forfeiture law: Under this law, McLellan is guilty until he proves himself innocent. He must prove that he did nothing unlawful to get his money back.
This law has been used by federal and local agencies to steal money from residents since it was passed. Your editorial stated that the federal prosecutor, Steve West, has offered McLellan a settlement where McLellan would get half of his money back. West is like many lawyers in the federal system. He understands the law but does not understand justice.
McLellan should be encouraged by a recent federal court finding in a case in Tewksbury, Mass. The IRS had seized Motel Caswell (value $2 million) due to drug activity in the rooms. The seizure was overturned by the judge because owner Russ Caswell did not know of the drug activity. A federal official testified that the authorities were interested only in properties where the owners’ equity was significant. They were not interested in properties where the owners had minimal equity. Caswell had no mortgage.
We have a bunch of crooks in the federal government.