Legally Enabled Bullies
The Anne Arundel County Police Department went after illegal Internet gambling and really made out, writes Brian McGraw at OpenMarket.org:
The gist of the story is that the police force set up their own online payment processor and processed payments for internet gambling sites as if they were a real legitimate business. The federal government used this evidence to seize funds belonging to those companies.
...They begin by seizing roughly $30 million in funds, a large majority of which belonged to American citizens engaged in a private activity within the confines of their home.Then they shut the website down and encouraged Americans to contact the gambling website to see if they can get their funds back. These are the same businesses that were just shut down and lost access to their website, capital, payment processing services, and are dealing with serious criminal charges. There is absolutely no chance that they will be able to pay back the money that belonged to American citizens, some of which is now in the hands of the Anne Arundel County Police Department:Police said they would use the money for equipment to assist with undercover investigations, plus new vehicles and weapons.
Apologies to the Americans who won't be receiving the money they deposited via a fake business the government set up, but fear not as they're going to be buying lots of shiny new police toys with your money. This is yet another way in which horrid police activity fuels itself (much more about that here). The police received monetary rewards for disrupting the lives of innocent people and are using that money to buy fancy new equipment which they will use to harass even more private American citizens engaged in activities that some bureaucrat finds distasteful.
As Radley Balko puts it at the link just above, it's a "license to steal."
via @walterolson and @ceidotorg