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Gas Station Hold-Up: Thieves Seize $59,000

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Tags Legal SystemMoney and BanksThe Police StateMoney and Banking

Back in 2011, U.S. Army veteran, Oh Suk Kwon, the owner of a gas station in Maryland, was held up.  The perpetrator got away with $59,000 leaving him with no money assets and forcing him to close his business. But it wasn’t just a garden-variety thug who robbed Mr. Kwon’s gas station and seized all of his cash; it was the IRS.  Mr. Kwon was just another hapless victim of the War on Cash that is being ruthlessly waged by the U.S. government on American citizens.  You see Mr. Kwon had deposited the legitimate and hard-earned cash receipts from his gas station in a bank in amounts of less than $10,000 per deposit.  This relieved him of the risks and costs associated with securing large sums of cash on his own premises until it accumulated to $10,000.  One such risk is that small business insurers commonly cover losses only up to $10,000.  Unfortunately, by engaging in such rational behavior, Mr. Kwon was committing the federal felony of “structuring.”

Structuring involves making a series of cash deposits of less than $10,000 each that total to more than $10,000, which is the threshold at which the bank is legally required to report the cash deposit to the U.S. government.  Now the law stipulates that to be guilty of the crime of structuring one must be aware of the reporting requirement and deliberately deposit less than $10,000 per transaction in order to avoid it.   Furthermore, there need be no underlying crime for a person to be found guilty of structuring.  In other words, a person may be guilty of a federal felony even if he earned every dollar of the deposited money legally and paid every penny of taxes on it due to the government.  What is even more monstrous is that civil-forfeiture laws empower the IRS or other government agencies to seize all the cash in a civil forfeiture “settlement agreement” in exchange for dropping criminal charges.  So a person convicted of no crime is deprived of all his money assets, in many cases resulting in the destruction of his business.  .

It is high time to realize that structuring laws, whatever their ostensible purpose, are a scam run by government agencies to seize the cash of law abiding citizens, particularly small business owners.   As one defense attorney put it:

The emphasis is on basically seizing money, whether it is legally or illegally earned.  It can lead to financial ruin for business owners, and there’s a potential for abuse here by the government, where they use it basically as a means of seizing money, and I think we’ve seen that happen.

Six years after Mr. Kwon was held up by the powerful gang of banditi known as the IRS, he and his lawyer, Edward Griffin, are continuing to appeal his case to—guess who—those who expropriated his money in the first place, the IRS.  It is no surprise that his lawyer is not hopeful that the appeal will succeed without the intercession of a higher power.  According to Mr. Griffin:

One thing that could really help Mr. Kwon would be a presidential pardon. These are federal crimes and…the only person who could do something about it would be the president.

Are you listening President Trump?  If you really do have the interests of American business and the American middle class at heart, pardon Mr. Kwon as the opening shot in putting an end to the despotic, oppressive, and insane War on Cash.

For the story of another small businesses destroyed by the War on Cash see here.

Joseph Salerno is academic vice president of the Mises Institute, professor of economics at Pace University, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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