A woman is suing the TSA for the confiscation of her father’s life savings for no good reason!
Terrence Rolin, 79, from Pennsylvania, and his daughter Rebecca Brown, are lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week after agents confiscated Rolin’s “suspicious” $82,373 in cash.
According to Brown, she was visiting her dad in Pittsburgh back in August when he asked her to put his savings in a joint checking account back in Boston, where she lives.
But TSA and DEA agents at Pittsburgh International Airport grilled Brown about the large cash sum when she was flying back to Massachusetts before confiscating the cash. In a statement issued to the press, Brown said, “My father and his parents worked hard for this money, and the government shouldn’t be able to reach into his pocket and take it.
The statement continued, “We did nothing wrong and haven’t been charged with any crime, yet the DEA is trying to take my father’s life savings. His savings should be returned right away, and the government should stop taking money from Americans who are doing something completely legal.”
Brown says she had checked online to confirm that carrying cash on a flight is legal and put it in her carry-on bag. She says since the money has been confiscated, her father cannot pay for dental work or needed repairs to his truck.
According to the local newspapers, Brown passed through security with the money before being approached at the gate by a DEA agent and a state trooper. She told them that it was her father’s life-savings that he kept at home, because he “did not trust banks,” and she was taking it to her home to put it safely in a bank for him. According to court documents, they demanded her elderly father back up her story, calling him from the airport.
But the elderly Rolin – a retired railroad worker who reportedly has cognitive issues – was groggy and confused during the 7 am call. The DEA agent allegedly told Brown her father’s answers and hers “don’t match” before confiscating the nearly 84K in cash.
Rolin said he learned from his parents – who lived through the depression – to keep money hidden in the home, not in banks. But, he eventually became nervous about holding onto such a large amount of cash, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Brown and her siblings were supposedly planning to surprise Rolin with a new truck, which her father would not have known when he took the phone call.
Brown Sues Over Confiscated Cash
The federal class-action lawsuit filed on January 15, by the Institute for Justice accuses the Drug Enforcement Administration and TSA of “treating American citizens like criminals” without any evidence.
But the Virginia-based nonprofit says that Brown and Rolin’s situation is far from unique. The Institute for Justice claims that the DEA has a history of “civil asset forfeiture,” when authorities seize suspect money and property – even if the owner isn’t charged with anything.
Police advocates say it’s a vital tool in disrupting drug trafficking by seizing the money. The lawsuit argues this policy of taking funds over $5,000 from travelers without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment.
This key segment of the US Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. A senior attorney at the Institute for Justice Dan Alban said, “You don’t forfeit your constitutional rights when you try to board an airplane. It is time for TSA and federal law enforcement to stop seizing cash from travelers simply because the government considers certain amounts of cash “suspicious.”
“We are trying to bring about institutional change and fix this terribly broken civil forfeiture system.”
Do you believe the Government has the right to confiscate a person’s valuables, and not return them when they have not been charged with any kind of crime? Reply in the comments below.