Seizure of Private Vault for Forfeiture
What happens if a federal agent raids a private vault or safety deposit box and confiscates the contents? The contents of the private vault or safety deposit box might include U.S. Currency, precious metals, gold coins, jewelry, or other valuable property.
After the seizure, an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney can help you file a verified claim and assert all defenses to show that insufficient evidence supports the forfeiture or that the evidence was illegally gathered.
Contact attorney Leslie Sammis after a seizure for forfeiture of the contents of a private vault or safety deposit box by calling 813-250-0500.
FBI’s Seizure for Forfeiture at US Private Vaults, Inc.
The FBI recently raided a company known as US Private Vaults, Inc., a self-storage facility in Beverly Hills, California, in the Beverly Palm Plaza located at 9182 W Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Other federal agencies involved in the seizure at U.S. Private Vaults included the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Postal Service.
After a grand jury indicted the private vault company for conspiring with its customers to launder money, distribute drugs, and structure financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements, the FBI obtained a sealed criminal seizure warrant.
The search warrant covered property owned by U.S. Private Vaults, Inc., including its computers, cameras, security cameras, and money counters. Although the FBI did not have authority to rifle through the private vault boxes for criminal or civil forfeiture, the FBI agents claimed they could not leave the property unsecured and had to inventory it for safekeeping.
Of course, the best way to make sure the property was returned to its rightful owner would have been to leave the boxes intact. Instead, federal agents then used that excuse to raid every single security deposit box. In fact, the FBI seized the contents of more than 800 boxes.
In the process, when the FBI found large amounts of U.S. currency in the boxes, it was seize based on suspicion of being involved in drug trafficking or money laundering.
After the seizure, the FBI refuses to give anyone their property back until they come forward and submit to an interrogation. Many customers decided a better course of action was to retain a civil asset forfeiture attorney to help them file a verified claim for court action. Filing the claim triggers a 90 day deadline for an Assistant United States Attorney to either agree to return the money or file a complaint in the United States District Court.
Read more about how to fight FBI seizures for forfeiture to get the money or property back quickly after filing a verified claim for court action.
How Do Private Vaults Differ From Safety Deposit Boxes?
Unlike a safety deposit box at a bank, private vault companies provide consumers with additional security and privacy. Instead of using the customer’s personal identification, the private vault companies use an iris scan or biometric hand geometry scan with encrypted biometric information.
Private vaults do not maintain their own set of keys to the boxes. The private vault companies also provide heat sensors, motion detectors, and private security.
Many civil asset forfeiture attorneys expect the FBI and other federal agencies including the United States Secret Service (USSS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to take a closer look at private vault companies throughout the United States.
This article was last updated on Thursday, June 3, 2021.