Sometimes, not violating the law can get you in trouble with the law.
Just ask the Hirsch family, from Long Island, New York.
Or, better yet, ask Loretta E. Lynch, the U.S. attorney who could be the nation's next attorney general.
After nearly three years of legal battles, the federal government last week dropped its case against the Hirschs, who own a distribution company that serves convenience stores on Long Island. The government agreed to return more than $446,000 in assets and cash seized by the Internal Revenue Service in 2012 under federal civil asset forfeiture laws, even though the Hirsch family was never charged with a crime.
"This is a significant victory not only for the Hirsch brothers, but for property owners around the country," said Larry Salzman, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, which joined the Hirsch's case in 2014. "No American should lose their bank account or other property to law enforcement without even being charged with a crime."
Why was the IRS interested in the Hirsch Family in the first place?
Under federal law, all bank deposits of more than $10,000 must be reported to the IRS. The Hirschs never deposited more than the legal limit, but the officers who investigated the family wrote in an affidavit that daily deposits ranging from $500 to $9,000 were suspicious enough to seize their bank account.
After cleaning out the family business, the IRS never filed criminal charges against Jeff Hirsch, or his two brothers who co-own the business.
It took two and a half years, but the family is finally going to get its money back. The agreement signed with the federal government requires the Hirschs to pay their own legal fees and clears the feds of any wrongdoing in the case.
The Hirsch case garnered a front-page story from the New York Times and a recent editorial from the Wall Street Journal.
That's where the plot thickens.
The case was handled, and last week officially dropped, by Lynch, President Obama's pick to be the nation's next attorney general, pending approval by the U.S. Senate.