- Under US civil forfeiture law enforcement agencies may seize monies, cars and even homes just for presuming guilt
- The Feds have already grabbed 849,000 worth of bank funds, cash and luxury watches from four different individuals allegedly tied to an illegal gambling biz
- Homeless families with small children to be thrown out into the excruciating heat
- The seizure will likely be the largest ever recorded in this particular state
A Portland, Maine homeless shelter is among the properties the FBI is looking to seize as part of a massive gambling probe.
Under US civil forfeiture law enforcement agencies may seize monies, cars and even homes from individuals who have been accused of committing a crime and said individuals must then be able to prove their innocence in order to get that property back.
The Feds have already grabbed 849,000 worth of bank funds, cash and luxury watches from four different individuals alleged to be involved in the gambling enterprise. None of those individuals have been arrested or charged with any wrongdoing however.
Darpana Sheth, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, a Washington D.C.-based public interest law firm, told the Bangor Daily News last week that civil forfeiture “completely reverses the presumption of innocence”.
“No one in America should lose their property without being convicted of a crime,” Sheth says.
At the time of the initial seizures, civil suits were filed against 30 properties owned by the primary defendant, Stephen Mardigan.
One of those properties just happens to be a homeless shelter.
Four buildings the city rents to use as a shelter complex for homeless families, many with small children, have been caught in the crossfire.
The buildings at the corner of Chestnut and Oxford streets are split into apartments and together serve as a 96-bed family shelter, according to city documents. The city has leases for them through the estate of Madigan’s father Edward Mardigan through June 30, 2018.
The case, first profiled on the Gambling911.com website last week, left many readers scratching their heads in bewilderment. How is this possible.
One reader advised Gambling911.com that New Mexico is the only state that has thus far challenged the state forfeiture laws. Last year, legislators say some cities' budgets are so dependent on seized assets that they disregarding the law. Still, it hasn’t prevented the seizures from occurring.
“This [is the] upside-down world of civil forfeiture,” Sheth said.
- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com