- The owners of Cartier bracelets, Rolex watches and their lifesavings in cash are fighting back against the FBI after they were seized from their safety deposit boxes
- The goods were seized in a raid on a safety deposit box business in Beverly Hills which authorities say was a front for money laundering in March 2021
- The renters argue the government violated their Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by seizing their property
The owners of Cartier bracelets, Rolex watches and gold bars are suing the FBI from seizing their property from their safety deposit boxes and refusing to give it back.
Around $86 million in cash as well as a trove of jewelry and other valuables were seized in an FBI raid on a safety deposit box business in Beverly Hills in March 2021.
The business was accused of money laundering and a judge granted the FBI a search warrant.
Agents seized around 1,400 safe deposit boxes from US Private Vaults, that was regularly used by ‘unsavory characters to store criminal proceeds’ according to court documents.
However, depositors who have not been accused or charged with any crime had their lifesavings and valuable possessions retained under the ‘administrative forfeiture proceedings’, Fox News reported.
Security box renter Linda Martin (pictured) is one of the plaintiff’s in the case against the government
Civil asset forfeiture allows the government to seize property and cash from individuals believed to be linked to a crime without ever charging the owner.
U.S. Private Vaults eventually pleaded guilty to money laundering, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it had not filed any other criminal charges.
A spokesperson on Thursday declined to comment on the case.