George Reby was driving from New Jersey to Tennessee to pick up a car he had purchased on eBay when he was stopped for speeding.
Like many Americans, George felt he had nothing to hide from the police. So when the officer asked him if he was carrying any large amounts of cash, he admitted he had $22,000 on him because he was buying a car.
George was able to show the officer his eBay bids, and that the sale was legitimate. He was able to demonstrate that he has income from his job as an insurance adjuster.
But none of that mattered. The cop seized George's money on the spot.
Later, in a court hearing that George was not allowed to participate in, the judge allowed the police to keep the money even though George was never charged with a crime.
There was no proof of wrongdoing. Even more, George had proof that there was NO wrongdoing.
"You live in the United States, you think you have rights — and apparently you don't," George commented later.
He was forced to hire an attorney and jump through a ton of bureaucratic hoops over a period of several months before the state of Tennessee finally returned his money.
But not everyone is so lucky.
Numerous victims of the Tenaha police department in East Texas (population ~1,300 people) never got their money back.
One victim had his baby taken by child services because he chose to fight the town when they seized his assets without cause.
Another family was threatened with the same because they were carrying $6,000 in cash to buy a car. Police said the children were possibly decoys.