Federal authorities cash in on safety box seizures as owners fight back | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Federal authorities cash in on safety box seizures as owners fight back

Married couple Jeni Pearsons and Michael Store aren't wealthy.

Pearsons works at a nonprofit theater in Los Angeles , and Store is a transportation coordinator in the film industry. The couple has been saving for retirement for years, buying silver here and there when they could afford it. To keep their property safe, they rented a safe deposit box at U.S. Private Vaults.

They thought everything was above board until news broke earlier this year about a raid at the Beverly Hills business.

The government alleged that the company conspired with customers to sell drugs, launder money, and stash ill-gotten goods.

LA COUNTY ABUSES ASSET FORFEITURE, SEIZING MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MONEY WITHOUT DUE PROCESS

Armed with a warrant, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents spent five days ripping several hundred safety deposit boxes out of the walls and laying claim to its contents.

Prosecutors argued they were within their rights and that the boxes contained weapons and drugs. They also took jewelry, precious metals, and stacks of money to an undisclosed warehouse. Their final haul was worth around $86 million.

The problem is that federal authorities took the items from people who hadn't been accused of a crime, including Pearsons and Store.

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