Roskam, Lewis demand prompt return of wrongfully seized assets
The Department of Justice (DOJ) shouldn't waste any more time before returning more than $16 million to people whose assets were seized unfairly, U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and John Lewis (D-GA) wrote in a letter to the U.S. attorney general.
“We respectfully urge the DOJ to examine the cases that the IRS has recommended for remission of funds and to remit the funds expeditiously,” the letter said.
The letter was a follow up to the congressmen's 2014 investigation into the IRS and DOJ's practice of seizing taxpayers' funds without filing criminal charges. The IRS has refunded more than $6 million. The agency also recommended the DOJ return more than $16 million more.
The change in IRS and DOJ policy on seizing assets under suspicion of illegally structuring transactions to avoid the Bank Secrecy Act stemmed from the investigation conducted by the 114th Congress Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Roskam and Lewis were chairman and ranking member of the committee, respectively.
The IRS changed its policy on structured assets in 2014 so that assets will be seized only if they are connected to illegal activity. In addition, the agency offered victims of asset forfeiture an opportunity to recover their funds in 2016. Since that notification went out, 454 petitions have been reviewed by the IRS.