Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

A New Way to Steal

ERAD, gift card, civil asset, forfeiture, stealing, theft, drug war

The fight against government theft of private property, through “civil forfeiture,” just got a little harder.

There’s a new technology available: ERAD card scanners.

And the Oklahoma City Police Department’s joint interdiction team has them, and can use the scanners to take money from you without your consent.

What money, in particular? The money you have stored in pre-paid debit cards.

ERAD stands for Electronic Recovery and Access to Data, and the ERAD Group, Inc., stands to make a lot of cash from the technology. Police around the country want to be able to take the funds secured in debit cards. It’s the latest thing in the war against the war against the War on Drugs.

Drug traffickers, we’re told, hide dozens of such cards in vehicles transporting drugs.

It’s not enough that police can, in the course of investigating a crime — without conviction, mind you; indeed, without charges being filed — confiscate the cards themselves.

The police also want to be able to siphon the money out of those cards.

Which leads to corruption. Which is already rife in civil forfeiture usage, as a recent Oklahoma state audit found — missing money, misused funds, that sort of thing.

The cavalier way in which government officials defend expropriation by ERAD scanners is chilling. In an Oklahoma Watch article, reporter Clifford Adcock relates the official explanation: “These cards are cash, not bank accounts. . . . Individuals do not have privacy rights with magnetic stripe cards.” Why not? Because the information on the strip “literally has no purpose other than to be provided to others to read.”

That’s so open to logical criticism you could drive a confiscated truck fleet through it.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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ERAD, gift card, civil asset, forfeiture, stealing, theft, drug war


By: CS Admin


  1. Brian Wright says:

    Great column, as usual, Paul. The act of civil forfeiture–outright stealing by police officials–is a crime… that needs to be indicted and prosecuted. So, too, any public official who knowingly received funds from the theft and any public official responsible for the legislation. All these individuals, with restored people’s grand juries, will face indictment and most likely restitution and lengthy prison terms. Some argue that civil forfeiture is petit treason, the penalty for which in some early English jurisdictions was public hanging. Let the grand juries begin.

  2. JFB says:

    An additional abomination, and blatant violation of the Constitution with every perverse incentive possible.  No forfeiture of private property should be allowed except following a criminal conviction AND proof the finds or assets are the direct result of the the criminal enterprise.   
    As an aside, the ERAD devices are most probably financed by previously stolen “civilly forfeited” funds.

  3. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Great article, yes as usual by Paul. Your two comments, were good rounding out on this important issue by you, Mr. Wright and JFB . I remember when no one had ever heard of Asset Forfeiture, but now more people are at least aware. I am deeply troubled that it still goes on blatantly.

    • JFB says:

      Civil asset forfeiture is a relatively “new” concept in US jurisprudence, and was enacted to forfeit the proceeds of criminal activity.
      It was a new weapon for the War on Drugs. It, like many expansions of the governmental powers has become bastardized and misused. I personally believe it should never have passed Constitutional review, and will shortly, given its current abuse, be re-reviewed and hopefully abolished. A number of states have recently revised or, in some cases, eliminated it.
      Look for the same progression for some of the “enhancements” brought by the Patriot Act.
      Liberty must be defended daily!.

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