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Innocence Doesn’t Matter When the Government Wants to Steal Your Money

January 11, 2023

There’s a fault line permeating America’s criminal justice system—a built-in defect that the government can use to steal your property, even if you’re innocent. And many Americans don’t even know about it.

Hardworking sisters Vera and Apollonia Ward didn’t either, until it happened to them. A California county government used a civil asset forfeiture law to seize $17,500 of their hard-earned money and treat them like criminals without a shred of evidence. County officials did their best to intimidate these two law-abiding Americans into relinquishing their claim on what was rightfully theirs, railroading these two sisters who were pursuing the American Dream, and who hadn’t done a single thing wrong.

“It was nothing short of terrifying — and it’s a lesson for every law-abiding citizen in America,” the Wards wrote recently in The Orange County Register.

Read the rest of the op-ed at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Joe Setyon is the Communications Manager at the Goldwater Institute.



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