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FBI Heists $86M from Beverly Hills Safety Deposit Boxes

'The government did not know what was in those boxes, who owned them, or what, if anything, those people had done... '

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) FBI agents in 2021 used a fraudulently obtained warrant to steal the contents from a 1,400-unit safety deposit box company in Beverly Hills, according to documents and testimony in a class-action lawsuit.

The FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles failed to tell the judge, who authorized the warrant to search US Private Vaults, that agents would seize the contents from each box containing more than $5,000 in cash or other assets, the New York Post reported.

The FBI said it confiscated assets from the vault in connection with undisclosed or unknown crimes, according to ZeroHedge. The federal government indicted US Private Vaults, not particular holders, for money laundering and selling drugs. The company pleaded guilty.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency lawfully obtained the warrant and executed the search “based on allegations of widespread criminal wrongdoing.”

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“At no time was a magistrate misled as to the probable cause used to obtain the warrants,” she dissembled.

During the raid, FBI agents found $86 million in cash as well as jewelry and poker chips.

The agents also photographed “password lists, credit cards, a prenuptial agreement, immigration and vaccination records, bank statements, heirlooms and a will” in its fishing expedition. They even disturbed a box with human remains.

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About 700 depositors at US Private Vaults sued the FBI for the raid, arguing that it violated their constitutional rights. From their perspective, the FBI seems to have conducted the raid without a particular crime or suspect in mind—a clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantee against arbitrary searches and seizures.

One lawyer representing 400 depositors said the FBI had no clear law enforcement objective in searching the boxes and seizing assets from them.

“The government did not know what was in those boxes, who owned them, or what, if anything, those people had done,” Robert Frommer wrote in a court filing.

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