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Chairman Roskam Statement on IRS and DOJ Decision to Return Wrongfully Seized Bank Account to NC Business Owner

May 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement after reports that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) returned the wrongfully seized $107,000 bank account of North Carolina business owner Lyndon McLellan, which was taken without any suspicion of illicit activity.

“What the IRS and Justice Department did to Lyndon McLellan is unfortunately not unique. The law provides the government tools to stop terrorists and money launderers from avoiding bank reporting to hide illicit activity. However, it is clear that federal agencies and the IRS in particular have routinely abused this authority to harass law-abiding small business owners. I hope the decision by federal prosecutors to return Mr. McLellan’s money, while long overdue, signals a recognition that this practice is wrong and must end. I also want to commend the Institute for Justice for their diligent work on behalf of hardworking Americans who have fallen victim to the abuse of asset forfeiture laws. The Oversight Subcommittee will continue to investigate these cases to ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly and equally under the law.”

The Institute for Justice, which has been instrumental in helping people like Mr. McLellan, highlighted his case in a press release yesterday.

At an Oversight Subcommittee hearing earlier this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen apologized for the agency’s longtime practice of seizing bank accounts of law-abiding individuals and small businesses.