(Patriot Insider) – As the Democrats love to repeat, “nobody is above the law in the US,” unless of course you’re a Democrat or the FBI. The FBI, apparently, has the power and authority to usurp the law in regards to a fair trial when they decide to seize the personal assets of Americans.
No trial necessary. No judgment needed for the FBI to come knocking down your door to take what’s yours. If you’re even so much as accused of wrongdoing, they could be headed your way.
That was the case for one family in Seattle, Washington. According to Reason, the FBI seized almost $1 million from Carl Nelson and his family after Amazon made accusations against him.
Nelson was working as a real estate transaction manager for Amazon when federal agents showed up at his home that he shared with his wife Amy and their four daughters. According to the FBI, Nelson was accused by Amazon of not providing “honest services.”
Specifically, Amazon was alleging that Nelson was providing extra benefits or deals for certain companies that resulted in him receiving illegal kickbacks. Nelson has vehemently denied the allegations and Amazon has never provided any evidence to prove them.
“That never happened and is exactly why I’ve fought as long and hard as I have,” Nelson said, according to Reason. “It’s that simple.”
The FBI, however, did not need a conviction when they seized approximately $892,000 in funds from the family’s residence in 2020.
“We went from living a life where we were both working full-time to provide for our four daughters to really figuring out how we were going to make it month to month,” Amy Nelson said. “It’s completely changed my belief in fairness.”
Reason reports the FBI seized funds that did not even come from Carl Nelson, the alleged “criminal.” They took money from “nearly every corner of the Nelson’s world,” including savings from Amy Nelson that she made during her time as an attorney.
Last week, however, the FBI agreed to a settlement that would return $525,000 to the Nelsons with the family forfeiting $109,000. The rest of the money has gone towards court fees.
Despite a portion of the money being returned it still won’t make life go back to normal for the family. They were already forced to sell their house and their car, liquidate retirement savings, move into Amy’s sister’s basement and pull their daughters from the school they were attending in Seattle.
A report by Bloomberg says that Amy was forced to close the Riveter, a co-working startup that she founded which focused on helping women. Carl is still entangled in a massive lawsuit and Amy says the $525,000 returned by the FBI will likely have to be used for attorney’s fees.
“It’s hard,” Amy said, according to Reason. “Not much has changed for us.”
Amy set up a GoFundMe to help the family try and survive such difficult times. As of Monday, it had raised about $70,000.
Nearly two years after the FBI seized their assets, Amazon has yet to file a single criminal charge against Carl Nelson, according to Reason. They have brought a civil case against Carl and another former employee.
According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady removed himself from the case in January 2022 after it was revealed that his wife held $22,000 in Amazon stock during the case. O’Grady had ruled in Amazon’s favor since the case began about 20 months prior.
O’Grady said he was reluctant to leave the case because his wife sold the stock in December, and he had previously denied knowledge of his wife’s holdings.
“However, perception of the fair administration of justice — both by the public and by the parties in the case — is of the highest importance to the Court,” he wrote, according to the Journal.
The Nelsons are not alone. The FBI’s practice of “civil asset forfeiture” has affected Americans all across the country whose funds or possessions have been seized by federal authorities without being charged with a crime.
Institute for Justice attorney Dan Alban says there is plenty of precedent for it despite how absurd it is.
“Civil forfeiture is quite common,” Alban said according to Reason. “The fact that the government can do this can obviously ruin lives, and it can ruin lives without anyone being convicted of a crime, without anyone even being charged with a crime.”
Alban said civil forfeiture is a very profitable venture for many government agencies.
“The vast majority of seizures and forfeitures … are driven by the profit incentive,” he said. “In most states and at the federal level, police and prosecutors get to keep up to 100 percent of the proceeds. So they just have a very strong incentive to go out and seize whatever they can and try to forfeit it, so that they can supplement their budget.”
This practice is completely unethical and cruel. As Amy Nelson pointed out, “If you can’t afford to defend yourself, let alone feed yourself, it becomes complicated.”
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