Mistake costs dishwasher $59,000 - CNN.com
Two years ago, Zapeta was ready to return to Guatemala, so he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 -- all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years -- to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
But when Zapeta tried to go through airport security, an officer spotted the money in the bag and called U.S. customs officials.
"They asked me how much money I had," Zapeta recalled, speaking to CNN in Spanish.
He told the customs officials $59,000. At that point, U.S. customs seized his money, setting off a two-year struggle for Zapeta to get it back.
. . .
Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta's attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn't talk publicly and left the country immediately.
Zapeta said, "No." He wanted all his money. He'd earned it, he said.
Now, according to Gershman, the Internal Revenue Service wants access to the donated cash to cover taxes on the donations and on the money Zapeta made as a dishwasher. Zapeta admits he never paid taxes.
. . .
Zapeta said his goal in coming to the United States was to make enough money to buy land in his mountain village and build a home for his mother and sisters. He sent no money back to Guatemala over the years, he said, and planned to bring it all home at once.
How many taxes would he have had to pay at $5.50 an hour? Probably next to nothing. He certainly didn't owe $59,000 in back taxes. And, isn't it his employer's legal responsibility to pay that up?
In no way is it fair to seize a man's life savings for trying to move. He didn't owe $59K to anybody, and illegal aliens have rights under the law. Their posessions are not forfeit in any court.
NOTE: Do not read the comments on the CNN article, they are full of ape-poop crazy racists.