Linda Martin believed she was being responsible for putting her nest eggs in a safe place where it wouldn’t be touched.
She had no idea that the FBI would seize all of her savings.
“They didn’t tell us why their money was taken. Martin, 58, said that they have not told him anything about what he did wrong. “We haven’t done anything wrong. We are both employed and saved money to buy a house.
Martin is still unsure if she will ever be able to get her money back, even though it has been two years since the theft.
BUT, THE FBI TAKEN HER LIFE SAVINGS. HE HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED. HEAR HER STORY ABOVE:
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She said, “The FBI, it feels like they can get away avec anything.” “I feel it’s unfair.
Martin’s safe deposit boxes belonging to the U.S. were seized by the FBI on March 22, 2021. Private Vaults is a Beverly Hills-based business. Linda had saved $40,200 to pay down her home. The FBI also took $86 million in cash, tens of thousands more in gold, silver and jewelry from safe deposit box renters.
Martin learned about the raid by watching local news with her husband.
Martin stated, “I couldn’t believe that.” “I didn’t believe it.” I sat down and began to watch the news together with him. The FBI was raiding our private vault.
A few months later, Martin received a notice from the FBI stating that they wanted to keep her money via a process called civil forfeiture. Martin was confused by all the legal jargon and decided to file a petition with them, the first option on their notice. This meant that she would be consenting to the FBI taking her property.
Martin stated to Fox News that she has not received a determination.
She stated that she knew of no person who was charged or suspected of any crime for having their assets taken. The FBI was actually investigating U.S. Private Vaults was shut down after the raid . They pleaded guilty for conspiracy to launder drugs money.
Bob Belden, an Institute for Justice attorney, stated that “Unfortunately this is legal.” “Civil forfeiture” is a US process where law enforcement can seize property from individuals who have not been charged with any crime.
Martin and Institute for Justice have filed a nationwide class action lawsuit last week. They seek to assist anyone who had property taken in the past six years by a government agency and has received a deficient forfeiture notification.
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Martin’s FBI notice Martin stated that her life savings were taken under administrative forfeiture. This is an action under the Tariff Act of 1933, which allows federal agencies to seize property and without the involvement of a judge.
Belden stated, “It’s really an agency where the agency is not only the prosecutor and judge, jury,” but also a governor or president who might consider a pardon.”
He stated that law enforcement needs only probable cause to seize property if it is suspected that the property was connected to a crime.
He said that Linda’s case was a good example of how the standard in real life can be somewhat meaningless.
The FBI requested a seizure warrant for U.S. The FBI applied for a seizure warrant against the U.S.
According to Institute for Justice findings, FBI and United States Attorney’s Office , they didn’t inform the judge about their plans to use civil forfeiture to seize assets in customer boxes valued over $5,000. This is the FBI’s minimum amount for forfeiture.
Belden said to Fox News that they had probable cause before they knew anything about the box owner.
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A spokeswoman for the FBI stated that safe deposit boxes were seized by the bureau at U.S. Private Vault was founded on the allegations of widespread criminal wrongdoing and the seizure fell within their warrant’s bounds. Martin claimed that she did not receive an explanation.
According to Belden, these raids can also be a benefit for government agencies. According to the DOJ, after an agency submits the seized property to its Assets Forfeiture Fund of the Department of Justice, the money is returned to that agency to cover “costs associated in completing the legal forfeiture of property.”
Belden stated that this simply means more money for the agency.
Fox News reported that he said, “It’s a big incentive.” He said that it was a great incentive to lose property.
The Institute for Justice used federal forfeiture records to calculate that Justice Department agencies received over $8 billion in forfeitures between 2017 and 2021, with $1.19 billion from the FBI.
The judge in a class action lawsuit that the Institute for Justice had filed previously ruled in favor a group safe deposit box holders. He found that the notices of administrative forfeiture were not sufficient information for the plaintiffs to understand why and how the property was taken. The judge ordered that the FBI return the property to the plaintiffs or provide more information about administrative forfeitures. The FBI gave the property back.
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“ We’ve taken to calling it, ‘Take Now, Explain Never Forfeiture,'” Belden stated.
Belden stated that Linda has no idea of what she was doing wrong. It just shows what happens to hundreds of thousands of people across the country,” Belden said.
Martin filed a class action lawsuit to retrieve her property and that of others who were subject to administrative forfeiture.
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“I felt misled. Martin said that he felt angry. “I advocate for not just myself, but everyone because there are a lot people who don’t know how to proceed.”
She said, “We’re just trying get justice.”
Fox News requested comment from the FBI, but neither the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California nor the FBI responded.
Click here to see the complete interview with Martin & Belden.