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Wed Jun 9, 2021, 03:11 PM

FBI opened the safety boxes at a business, Trying to confiscate (steal) the contents found in 369 [View all]

FBI wants to keep fortune in cash, gold, jewels from Beverly Hills raid. Is it abuse of power?

When FBI agents asked for permission to rip hundreds of safe deposit boxes from the walls of a Beverly Hills business and haul them away, U.S. Magistrate Steve Kim set some strict limits on the raid.

The business, U.S. Private Vaults, had been charged in a sealed indictment with conspiring to sell drugs and launder money. Its customers had not.

So the FBI could seize the boxes themselves, Kim decided, but had to return what was inside to the owners.

“This warrant does not authorize a criminal search or seizure of the contents of the safety deposit boxes,” Kim’s March 17 seizure warrant declared.

Yet the FBI is now trying to confiscate $86 million in cash and millions of dollars more in jewelry and other valuables that agents found in 369 of the boxes.

Prosecutors claim the forfeiture is justified because the unnamed box holders were engaged in criminal activity. They have disclosed no evidence to support the allegation.

Box holders and their lawyers denounced the ploy as a brazen abuse of forfeiture laws, saying prosecutors and the FBI were trampling on the rights of people who thought they’d found a safe place to stash confidential documents, heirlooms, gold, rare coins and cash.


Among those ensnared in the government’s dragnet was Joseph Ruiz, who lost his life savings in the raid: $57,000 in cash. An unemployed food service worker who lives near Crenshaw Boulevard and the 10 Freeway, Ruiz, 47, distrusts banks and sees world affairs as deeply unstable, so he kept his money at U.S. Private Vaults.

He obtained the money in two legal settlements, one for a spinal injury in a car accident and another for chronic housing code violations in his apartment building, Ruiz said.

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Reply FBI opened the safety boxes at a business, Trying to confiscate (steal) the contents found in 369 [View all]
Demovictory9 Jun 2021 OP
NQAS Jun 2021 #1
WhiteTara Jun 2021 #3
Demovictory9 Jun 2021 #4
ck4829 Jun 2021 #2
intheflow Jun 2021 #5
BGBD Jun 2021 #6
fescuerescue Jun 2021 #7