FBI Misled Judge, Then Seized $86 Million In Cash From Beverly Hills Safe-Deposit Boxes

The FBI ‘drilled and pried’ their way into 1,400 safe-deposit boxes at a private vault company in Beverly Hills after misleading a judge about their plan to permanently confiscate everything inside every box containing at least $5,000 in cash or goods, a senior FBI agent recently testified.

They rummaged through personal belongings of a jazz saxophone player, an interior designer, a retired doctor, a flooring contractor, two Century City lawyers and hundreds of others.

Agents took photos and videos of pay stubs, password lists, credit cards, a prenuptial agreement, immigration and vaccination records, bank statements, heirlooms and a will, court records show. In one box, agents found cremated human remains. –LA Times

The FBI and US attorney’s office in Los Angeles justified the 5-day dragnet forfeiture at the US Private Vaults store by assuming that hundreds of anonymous box holders were storing assets somehow tied to unknown crimes.

At the end of the operation, agents had recovered more than $86 million in cash, and a ‘bonanza’ of gold, silver, rare coins, jewelry and other items of value.

Now, around 700 box holders who aren’t implicated in any crimes liken the raid to police barging into a building’s 700 apartments and taking every tenant’s possessions when the only evidence of wrongdoing is against the landlord. – READ MORE

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