Supposed violations caused Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials to seize an estimated $17.1 million from people wrongly accused of being involved in “criminal enterprises,” according to a new report, and the money was taken directly out of their bank accounts.
The IRS acted in an effort “to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises,” but investigators found that the “funds involved in 91 percent of the 278 investigations by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) were obtained legally.”
“Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” said a TIGTA statement. “The report also concludes that the rights of some individuals and businesses were compromised in these investigations.”
According to the TIGTA, “When property owners were interviewed after the seizure, agents did not always identify themselves properly, did not explain the purpose of the interviews, did not advise property owners of any rights they might have, and told property owners they had committed a crime at the conclusion of the interviews.”
The money was seized for violations under the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires banks to report transactions greater than $10,000. However, it was discovered that IRS agents usually waited until after the money was seized to delve further with business owners to find out if the transactions were legal or if business owners had reasonable explanations.
“In most instances, interviews with the property owners were conducted after the seizure to determine the reason for the pattern of banking transactions and if the property owner had knowledge of the banking law and had intent to structure,” said the report.
“Business owners still violated the law if they avoided reporting large deposits, intentionally or not, even if it wasn’t to conceal illegal activity,” said the report, “But the law was created to catch criminals and was “not put in place just so that the government could enforce the reporting requirements.”
Friday it was reported that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz along with the support of nearly 40 Republican lawmakers are urging President Trump to fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, citing the tax agency cannot be repaired with him at the helm.
H/T: Daily Caller
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