Federal prosecutors have dropped the case against a North Carolina small businesses owner.
Lyndon McLellan, a convenience store owner in rural Robeson County, became an emblem for the many ways that IRS seizure and civil forfeiture laws have dogged run-of-the-mill business owners who operate with cash.
For nearly a year, the 50-year-old Fairmont man has been fighting the federal government to recover the $107,702.66 seized from his business account without any allegations of crime.
On Wednesday, nearly two weeks after The New York Times profiled his struggle with the government, McLellan received a welcome call from his lawyer.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker, the top federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of North Carolina, had dismissed the case that since July had blocked his access to his money.
Recently, Civitas staff attorney Elliot Engstrom outlined the details of this egregious federal overreach:
In recent weeks, the small town of Fairmont, N.C. has received what is likely the most national media coverage it has seen in years. The Robeson County town of less than 3,000 is home to Lyndon McLellan, who owns and operates a local convenience store. Last summer, his entire business bank account, totaling $107,702.66, was seized by the Internal Revenue Service.
McLellan was never accused of criminal activity. Rather, his money was taken under a law that allows the IRS to seize money if its agents detect a pattern of cash deposits of just under $10,000. The law is designed to catch drug lords, terrorists, and others who are seeking to evade federal financial reporting requirements.
That the case against this NC business owner that did nothing wrong is welcome news, but the case provides yet another reminder that Big Brother is watching.