Carol Hinders is stepping out of the restaurant business into retirement, but she isn't giving up the fight to get her money back from the government.
Hinders announced Tuesday that she will be closing Mrs. Lady's Mexican Food Thursday October 30 after 37 years in business.
"I'm 67, I'm tired and I'm ready for retirement," she said in an interview with The Dickinson County News. "We have decided to sell and look elsewhere for our entertainment, if you will. My son isn't doing well enough to take over operations and endure the toll restaurant work takes on you."
MRCTV previously reported that the government seized $33,000 in assets from Hinders due to the government's suspicion of criminal activity:
According to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, financial institutions are required by law to report any transactions made exceeding $10,000 or any transactions that might be a result of criminal activity.
Hinders claims that each of her deposits were less than $10,000, even after she made multiple trips to the bank to avoid having too much money at her restaurant.
The government, on the other hand, claims that Carole made her deposits in a way that went around these reporting requirements.
The fight to keep her restaurant open may be over, but according to Larry Salzman, an attorney at The Institute for Justice, his client won't drop her legal fight to retrieve the seized funds.
Salzman, in an exclusive interview with MRCTV, said that the IRS's response to going after cases like Carol's has put it in a situation where it now has to "rush to change terms of the current news."
Salzman continued to say that in the IRS's complaint, they made no mention of "tax evasion" as the reason they seized Hinders' assets.
"The government has made no allegations about tax evasion," Salzman said. "There's no question Carol was depositing her lawfully earned money."
In most civil forfeiture cases, the government is usually the first to sue. That's why the lawsuit shows up in court filings as The United States Government vs. $32,820.56 (the money in Carol's bank account).
"The case is against the property and not the property owner," Shira Rawlinson, a press secretary for IJ, said.
Even though current regulations say the government has to officially file a complaint before someone else can sue, Larry Salzman is confident that her client will prevail in her case.
Salzman said it will ultimately take a judge to engage with The Constitution to impose limits on how the IRS engages with innocent people.
"It's inexplicable that they would take the money and not return it to people like Carol," Salzman said. "She just wants her money back and that's all we're suing for."
If the government keeps going down this path, we may as well be like this kid throwing his hard-earned money out the window.