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For the Record': How the Government Can Seize Your Money Without Charging A Crime

A family-run grocery store in central Michigan was nearly forced out of business simply because of the way they deposited money in the bank.

The IRS seized more than $35,000 from Schott's Market in 2013 under a program known as “civil asset forfeiture." The law allows the government to take money that they suspect might be connected to a crime such as money laundering.

Even though no charges were ever filed, the IRS accused the store's owner, Terry Dehko, of “structuring" — depositing cash in the bank frequently and in amounts below the $10,000 threshold, which would have triggered a notification to the IRS.

Dehko says he had no idea that was even illegal, but that financial hit — coupled with the long fight to get his money back — nearly cost him his business.



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