The Dehko family owns a small grocery store in Detroit, Michigan. Terry Dehko along with his daughter Sandy, have owned and run Schott’s Supermarket for three decades. They were living the American dream until the IRS seized every penny in their bank account without any warning.
The federal government obtained a secret warrant and took every single dollar out of the family’s grocery store account. The amount seized was more than $35,000, without any explanation. Only later would Terry and Sandy discover that despite doing absolutely nothing wrong, the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice teamed up to seize their money using an increasingly abusive tactic called civil forfeiture.
Civil forfeiture is now one of the most serious assaults on individual rights in America. It allows the government to take cash, cars, homes and other property from people without ever convicting or even charging them with a crime. Worse, civil forfeiture turns the American principle of innocent until proven guilty on its head. To get their money back, Terry and Sandy must go to court against the full might of the Department of Justice to prove their innocence. In fact, the vast majority of civil forfeiture cases nationwide are never heard by a judge or jury because victims can seldom afford to fight the seizures.
Unreal. Is this even America we’re living in anymore? I don’t even recognize my country!