[4/16/17] Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental principle of the American legal system.
But it is not the policy of the IRS.
And a new tax-season report airing Sunday on investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s nationally syndicated show “Full Measure” sheds light on just how badly the IRS abuses one of its most odious policies: 9 times out of 10.
WND has long covered cases of abuse committed by the IRS under its civil asset-forfeiture procedures, such as that of baker David Vocatura, who went through a legal nightmare all because his family business, a nearly 100-year-old community institution, made a series of cash deposits under $10,000.
It’s not illegal to do that. But it raises the suspicion of the IRS because banks are required to report cash deposits in excess of $10,000.
That’s due to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, amended by the Patriot Act in 2011, which federal prosecutors consider an important tool to investigate drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism.
But the IRS seems to be using the law as a cash cow to fleece innocent taxpayers.
For instance, the IRS raided Vocatura’s Bakery in 2013 and seized $68,000 from its bank account under civil asset-forfeiture procedures. For three years the IRS pressured David and his brother to plead guilty to criminal charges of “structuring” bank deposits and to agree to surrender the money. They refused.
In retaliation for their refusal, the agency then launched a criminal tax investigation of their business, requiring them to account for nearly every financial transaction over an eight-year-period. That’s when the Vocatura’s took the IRS to court.
Last May, just hours after Vocatura’s Bakery and the Institute for Justice sued the IRS to get the money back, the IRS announced it would return all of the money but continue with its retaliatory tax investigation.
Federal prosecutors never brought their case before a judge, instead pressuring the owners to agree to a “voluntary” forfeiture. A year ago February, the two Vocatura brothers were presented with a plea agreement that required they plead guilty to criminal structuring, accept a three-to-four year prison sentence, forfeit the original $68,000 and surrender an additional $160,000 worth of personal assets. Their refusal sparked the demand for eight-years worth of business records.