The Shotgun Blog
Friday, December 21, 2007
Hide your money
With $403k in retirement savings stashed away in a safe in his home, a wife and son to protect, Luther Ricks Sr. naturally reached for his gun and fired at two would-be thieves who broke into his home in Lima Ohio over the Summer. He foiled the robbery then, killing one of the robbers in the process.
After an investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing, Ricks expected to get his safe full of retirement money back from the police who had taken it during the investigation after finding marijuana at Ricks house. But the Lima police department had shattering news for Ricks: The FBI had gone ahead and taken the safe for themselves.
Yes, for themselves. The FBI is refusing to return the safe until Ricks proves he earned it according to methods and means officially approved by the government.
Ricks has to take the FBI to court to get his life savings back. Lawyers cost money. Money is what Ricks had, in his safe.
There is little doubt that he won't get it back. The only question the article openly wonders about is whether the city will try to fight the FBI to get the money for their own purposes. Since they "found" it, after all.
What about Ricks? Well, my government-loving friends, there's always social security. (Hey! A new argument for gov-sponsored safety nets. Take note and repeat this question, "Just what will the poor do without a social safety net like social security after the feds come and pillage their life savings?")
Words cannot express my disgust at this story. And I have better things to do just now. So if you'll excuse me, I'll be busy burying my Ron Paul silver coins.
UPDATE: The Lima news has a brilliant editorial about this. They get it. Excerpt:
Ricks received no trial, but the government can just seize his money? Based on what? The belief he might be guilty of something. It’s up to Ricks to provide evidence the money in his possession was his. So much for being innocent until the government proves you’re guilty.
Never mind that the same Constitution’s Fifth Amendment states that no person “shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Again, the government is depriving Ricks of both property and the liberty that money helps provide, based on a hunch it doesn’t even intend to attempt to prove.
This isn’t about legalizing drugs, even for medicinal purposes.. This is about whether the government should be able to take a hunch and turn a constitutional right on its head by making the accused prove he is innocent.
This is bad news for every one of us.
Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 21, 2007 | Permalink
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We don't have enough info to come to a good conclusion but this is not the first time I have heard of a profound abuse of the RICO laws. Is more proof necessary of the facist nature of the United States? Are we far behind? The money should be put in a trust fund if they decide to charge him with anything. If they have nothing to charge him with it should be returned forthwith.
Posted by: DML | 2007-12-21 2:45:43 PM
This is exactly why some Canadians keep off-shore bank accounts - to make sure that the government will never strip them of ALL their assets.
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-21 2:47:15 PM
I always find it interesting how these sorts of isolated and obviously egregious cases are used as a general argument against "government". Well, the FBI did it and they are a law enforcement body, so maybe the problem isn't government is evil, its just cops are evil. That's what a certain brand of radical left will conclude from the case. Maybe it is just because he is black (black = drug dealer to the cops, right?). That is a conclusion some others will draw. And those conclusions are no more ridiculous than the general "government is bad" conclusion the radical right will draw.
It is easy to find cases of egregious corruption by corporations (does the name Conrad Black ring any bells? How about Kenneth Lay?), yet those on the pro-corporate right never say that these cases show that free enterprise is evil and ought to be replaced with public owned companies.
What happened to this guy is terrible. Everyone agrees. Sometimes people get screwed by arms of the state and sometimes they get screwed by private entities. But these sorts of cases never amount to an argument for or against any sort of government structure, be it socialist or libertarian.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-21 3:11:39 PM
More comments from the guy who posts while using other people's nics.
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-21 3:21:07 PM
With all the crime these days, I recently bought a good quality safe, not a big one, a couple of cubic feet but big enough for valuable papers, insurance stuff and some cash in case of necessity or calamity.
The smaller type of safes like one I have has a center hole in the bottom so it can be bolted down to a floor. I took a large plastic tub 24'x 18' by 12' deep and filled it with cement. I included a well anchored device in it with a 1/2 threaded bolt sticking out of the middle. I bolted the safe down to it. It is in the basement crawl space where, if there is a fire, the mostly concrete area will not provide fuel so the contents won't burn up.
The total item now weighs in at over 450 pounds. There is no convenient way to pick up up and carry it and it would take at least four men to do so.
I bought the mechanical dial combination with no plastic parts to melt in a fire. Those convenient push pad models are plastic and not durable.
I don't expect to be robbed, but you never know.
I suggest everyone have a safe place to store valuables or even just for keepsakes you don't want to lose. What good is insurance paper work and wills if they are burned or stolen. Jewelery and computer back ups, passports too. It is wise to keep photo copies of your drivers license and health card in a safe as well along with credit card numbers, bank account info etc.
Bank Safety deposit boxes are too small, inconvenient and expensive. Also, if there is calamity you can't access them.
This is just another part of being smart about your personal business. The idea of having some off shore money is a good idea too.
Just having some savings and investments and not using credit is smart. Also with identity theft, consider using cash and not debit cards.
We should all consider our personal life a domestic business with cash flow, debt, investment, growth plans, protection plans etc. If you don't do this you may someday be a victim and out of business.
Do you have emergency survival plans that cover most possibilities?
And don't keep dope around the house, it can make you look stupid and get you in trouble.
Posted by: John West | 2007-12-21 3:24:16 PM
Vote for Ron Paul!
Ron Paul received contributions from over 100,000 different people this quarter. He received $18,000,000 from those 100,000 people. His support is wide and deep. Look around your town and notice you see RP signs everywhere. Grab a cup of coffee and go to http://freeme.tv
Posted by: Mayberry | 2007-12-21 3:25:26 PM
Hey, Huckleberry ~
This is not the thread for endorsing cult leaders.
But if you insist, try this link to see who Ron Paul truly is:
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-21 3:28:54 PM
Hey John West. 24 feet x 18 feet x 12 feet deep!
That's some anchor.
Posted by: dewp | 2007-12-21 3:36:03 PM
Someone mentioned that the guy is black. Is that true?
If he's black, that's a big factor like it or not.
Posted by: dp | 2007-12-21 3:52:27 PM
Might be nice to know how much drugs were found in his home, because who is to say it wasn't drug money. Oh yeah, the "victim" obviously.
Here's an idea. If you don't want the police to take your drug money (who keeps their life savings in their home?) then find a place to launder it like the rest of the drug lords!
Posted by: Markalta | 2007-12-21 4:11:07 PM
Better wait before jumping on this one.
That much cash always raises a red flag.
You don't suppose the burglars knew about it do you?
Posted by: dp | 2007-12-21 4:15:11 PM
Okay, Markalta, you could do your own research by following the link that I provided, or you can jump to conclusions. Your call.
Here, I'll give you a hand: He is not charged with any crime. Not even possession of marijuana.
If he had a mountain of pot lying around, you think they would let him waltz off? I don't think so.
So, the guy had a bit of pot, and that's all the excuse the feds needed to steal money from him.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2007-12-21 4:52:40 PM
That would be inches.
And regarding pot in the US. Ohio has always been a bit slack on pot, but it's still a great excuse to harass a person.
You give a jack ass a badge and misery follows.
I lived in Ohio for seven years and it's one of the better states to live in.
Posted by: John West | 2007-12-21 5:27:07 PM
The FBI is an unconstitutional organization to begin with, so there's no reason to expect them to observe it. That, and isn't it becoming more obvious every day, and in every way that we no longer have a system of justice. We have a system of "Laws". Government made laws....
Which legalize theft for the government and give it unrestricted walking powers. We might want to give that a little thought as we drive around on streets that are under surveillance.
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-21 5:50:44 PM
And JC, That surveillance has only just begun ... Check Londonistan for what we are in for as the years go buy.
There is a reason that the 'hoody' is the most popular garment in England nowadays.
Posted by: John West | 2007-12-21 6:03:53 PM
I wonder why the police had any knowledge of the cash in the first place? They would have no reason to search the house, if it was an investigation of a self-defense shooting.
There must have been some prior knowledge of this money. I doubt that the home owner would simply blurt out that he had 400k in a safe. If I'm suspicius, why wouldn't the police be? They're even more paranoid than I am.
Besides that, if it was legally acquired money, it shouldn't take a lawyer to prove where it came from. You can't even deposit over a few thousand cash in your own bank without a paper trail. As long as you give them a name to verify it they don't bother you. This story probably has a whole other side to it.
Posted by: dp | 2007-12-21 6:14:55 PM
P.M. Maybe I was wrong, the guy just appears to be a moron! Still, like dp says, as long as the guy can show he earned enough money over his working career he shouldn't have a problem. Although with no interest, it's hard to imagine how he could save that much legally...
Posted by: Markalta | 2007-12-21 6:51:46 PM
Agreed, as this psuedo war on terror advances our liberties are diminishing proportionately. Personally I can't help but feel we are reaching a point of "critical mass". We will either see a major swing back to a state of civil liberties or we will see a gentle submission as speaking out becomes increasingly dangerous.
The victim may have said that it "was a good thing he was armed or the bandits might have gotten the safe..." Or something like that.
And its all well and good to be able to analyze a situation from a distance and come to the conclusion that the man's money may not be legitimate. But by the time we've gone that far we've overlooked the most important point. The victim has a right to privacy. And privacy isn't about having or not having something to hide, it is about human dignity and the right to be left alone and not live under a microscope.
I know you didn't imply all of that...I'm just venting :)
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-21 6:52:53 PM
Posted by: Kevin Houston | 2007-12-21 7:12:21 PM
In my previous post I wrote that I had seen other cases like this one. In one case a couple drove across state lines to buy a car. The seller asked for cash. The buyers were stopped for a traffic violation and the police asked them to open their trunk. The buyers foolishly did as they were asked and a search revealed over $10,000 in their luggage. It was confiscated. After much effort the buyers were able to prove that the money was legitimate and that their story was true. The authorities refused to give back the money but were willing to undertake a "deal" where about half of the money was returned. The police kept the balance. The couple could not afford a lawyer to fight the authorities. It is not always the case that the authorities will do the right thing when confronted with the truth.
Posted by: DML | 2007-12-22 12:03:49 AM
..the call is coming from INSIDE the house...
Posted by: dp | 2007-12-22 12:38:23 AM
DML, ever lived in Quebec? If you have, your last sentence would be the understatement of the year.
Posted by: Jerri | 2007-12-22 7:03:41 PM
Agreed! The police in Montreal especially are notorious for that.
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-22 7:07:27 PM
Thanks Jerri and obc, in the future I'll try to be less circumspect.
Posted by: DML | 2007-12-22 7:48:03 PM
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