“FBI Misled Judge in Obtaining Warrant To Seize Hundreds of Safe Deposit Boxes”

Eric Boehm posted this blog post last month that I didn’t see. The L.A. Times published a Friday article about it. It’s better to wait than regret, but I think it’s best. Here is a small excerpt of the entire article, although you can read the entirety.

The FBI told a federal magistrate judge that it intended to open hundreds of safe deposit boxes seized during a March 2021 raid in order to inventory the items inside—but new evidence shows that federal agents were plotting all along to use the operation as an opportunity to forfeit cash and other valuables.

The federal magistrate judge issued the warrant for the highly publicized raid on U.S. property, but the agents did not disclose the plans to him. Private Vaults is a Beverly Hills private business that was under FBI surveillance since at most 2019. The FBI appears to have failed to comply with the restrictions imposed on them by warrants, such as the prohibition of using safe deposit boxes in further criminal investigations.

These details about the execution and planning of the FBI raid on U.S. The details of the FBI’s raid on the U.S. are now public after another federal judge decided this week that it was impossible for the government to keep these information secret.

As Reason has extensively reported, the raid on U.S. Private Vaults resulted in federal agents seizing and attempting to forfeit more than $86 million in cash as well as gold, jewelry, and other valuables from property owners who were suspected of no crimes. Attorneys representing some plaintiffs who are trying to recover their possessions interviewed the FBI agents who planned the raid, but federal prosecutors tried to keep some details of those depositions redacted….

U.S. authorities had been under investigation by FBI for over five years. The FBI had been investigating U.S. Private Vaults since 2005. They previously focused on individuals who were using the company to conceal criminal proceeds. Federal agents began to build a case against the entire company in 2019, some newly redacted depositions reveal.

But the raid that targeted the businesses also swept up the private property of hundreds of people suspected of no crime….