A few weeks ago we posted about the IRS stealing a small business owner’s money through civil forfeiture:
Lyndon McLellan has spent more than a decade running L&M Convenience Mart, a gas station, restaurant and convenience store in rural Fairmont, North Carolina. Then, almost one year ago, agents from the IRS came to the store and announced that they had seized his entire bank account, totaling more than $107,000.
Well it turns out that thanks to the Institute of Justice, this man has beat back the IRS and they’ve agreed to refund his full $107k:
Two months ago, U.S. Attorney Steve West told Lyndon McLellan that any attempt to garner publicity about his civil forfeiture case “doesn’t help. It just ratchets up feelings in the agency. My offer is to return 50% of the money.”
Yesterday, just two weeks after the Institute for Justice took on the case and brought it to the attention of the nation, the IRS and Department of Justice moved to voluntarily dismiss the case and give Lyndon back 100% of his hard-earned money.
“I’m relieved to be getting my money back,” said Lyndon McLellan. “What’s wrong is wrong, and what the government did here is wrong. I just hope that by standing up for what’s right, it means this won’t happen to other people.”
Even after he recovers his bank account, Lyndon is still out tens of thousands of dollars, thanks to the government’s actions. Lyndon paid a $3,000 retainer to a private attorney before IJ took the case on pro bono, and he also paid approximately $19,000 for an accountant to audit his business and to provide other services to help convince the government he did nothing wrong. The government is refusing to pay those expenses. And the government also is refusing to pay interest on the money.
Unfortunately it’s not a complete victory, given that he’s out $22k. Really, that’s a huge chunk of change and the IRS should recompensate him for that. But I suppose he’s lucky to be getting his money back in Obama’s America.