Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Government Extortion

     Government intimidation and extortion is happening all over America.  Businesses and individuals who have been raided by the feds are "settling" and signing gag orders, agreeing not to talk, in exchange for getting the government to go away..  They settle before a case has been delineated, before due process, before a trial--sometimes even before charges have been entered.  They don't settle because they're guilty and want to hide their crimes:  they settle because it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions, to defend oneself against the government, whose prosecutors have turned into bulldogs out to "get" citizens who are successful, and collect money for a bloodthirsty administration.  These guys have an unlimited budget, funded by taxpayers, and unlimited time to allow cases to drag on and on.
     Here's a case in which a thoracic surgeon who miscoded a difficult aortic procedure was arrested and put in a federal penitentiary, and is still there--for a clerical error, very easy to commit given Medicare's obtuse "coding" system for billing:
     And here's Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, interviewing Henry Jusckiewicz, owner of Gibson Guitar, about the extortionist raids on his factories.  Jusckiewicz says, "The current administration doesn't like successful businesses."
     When business owners and professionals are attacked in this way, or raided, they are rendered helpless.  They can't move to the government's time zone, where uncovering facts and charges can take seven years.  Anyone who has ever run a successful business knows that resolving problems quickly is the key to the solvency and stability of an enterprise.  With statutes of limitations that can extend for five or ten years, business owners like me can sit in limbo after raids and intimations of misconduct without hearing a word from the government.
     "What did I do?"
     "Why did you take my money and supplies?"
     "Why did you take my patients' medical records?"
     "Why won't you give back my patients' medical records?"
     "What was the purpose of the raid?"
     "Did you need all those guns?  Isn't that dangerous?"
     We're the government.  We can do what we want, when we want, and you can't do anything about it.
     "Right, I forgot.  I thought I was a contributing citizen of this country.  I thought I had rights."
     If I had said that, I might be in the slammer or, worse, dead....  Consider this story:
     Sal Culosi, a 38-year-old optometrist in Fairfax County, Virginia, was killed by a SWAT team during a raid on his home for betting $50 on a Virginia Tech football game.  While betting on football may be a crime, how can government officials justify the use of FBI agents armed with automatic weapons to bring the optometrist to justice?  Culosi was barefoot and wearing a t-shirt and jeans when a sleep-deprived agent who had been pretending to be his friend, to encourage him to increase his bets, shot him dead.
     "Dude, what are you doing?" were Culosi's last words.  The police officer named Bullock, who killed Culosi at close range (probably when Culosi reached for his cell phone in his pocket) was suspended for three weeks without pay--then, back to work!  During the family's lawsuit against government officials for violating Culosi's rights, the court asked why an unarmed optometrist with no criminal record should have required a SWAT team to arrest him for betting on football.  The case--centered around violation of Culosi's constitutional rights--was settled for $2 million, but the government spent an estimated $20 million (unlimited resources--even though our country is $19 trillion in debt) on its defense, and the country has lost a valuable professional.  See for more details on this case. 
     When government agents storm a peaceful place of business, brandishing automatic weapons and locking doors, telling employees they can't leave, and questioning them without reading their Miranda rights, giving them the right to call an attorney, or detaining them for many hours past when the officers' safety is secured, they are using maximum intimidation.  When they take supplies (totaling over $100,000 in my clinic; $500,000 at Gibson Guitar);  communicate with other government agencies (like Medicare, in my case, which withheld more than $1 million in payments over two years, without which my multi-service clinic couldn't function as it had in the past--all without explanation) to harrass a business owner and his or her relatives (Mountain Pure's owner reports that three of his relatives were audited by the IRS around the time of his company's raid--this is common practice, my lawyers tell me); and require companies or individuals to spend millions in legal defense costs over many years, before reaching a "settlement," without a trial or conviction--this is extortion.

     Extortion is defined as "the crime of obtaining money or property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones, intimidation, or false claim of a right" by Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary. Title 18 of the U.S. Code (Crimes and Criminal Procedure).

     The purpose of extortion on the part of government officials is simple:  to take back money for the government.  Our Department of Justice has made accumulation of assets through extortion--rather than enforcement of laws for the protection of citizens--its primary aim.  Stealing goods, robbing bank accounts, threatening harm, and overlooking the constitutional rights of Americans in the process is business as usual for the DOJ and its worker bees, who include my prosecutors and their FBI underlings who, if they hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before, in the motel rooms where our tax dollars put them up, far from home, before raiding my clinic at gunpoint, I might have suffered the same fate as the optometrist, Culosi.
     It's a crap shoot.  Yesterday, Culosi.  Today, me.  Tomorrow, you. 



  1. Yeah, that's what they do - why do you think they do that?

  2. 1. They think it's their job.
    2. Taking money from citizens and businesses helps to fund the FBI, prosecutors and DOJ.
    3. The publicity FBI agents solicit (calling TV and newspapers in advance of raids) projects the idea that they're "doing their jobs."
    4. To whatever extent they can make citizens and businesses look bad, employees of the DOJ look good
    5. They have relative immunity from counterattack.
    6. It is an exercise of power, which feels good, especially to people who, deep inside, feel impotent, but would never admit it.
    7. Eric Holder has instructed FBI agents and prosecutors to go after money.
    8. Obama has instructed the DOJ to go after "Medicare fraud"--which is loosely defined--and other types of fraud, which are also loosely defined, giving the agents a wide range of targets. They choose the ones with the most money and the least likelihood of mounting a defense.
    9. To "set an example"--one very visible attack on a company makes everyone who hears about it afraid. Almost everyone.
    10. To force American citizens into submission.

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