Frontiers of forfeiture: emptying pre-paid bank cards

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has become the latest law enforcement body to begin using “ERAD readers,” devices that allow police to freeze and seize any funds on pre-paid debit and credit cards, now used by many poorer and younger persons as a favored financial vehicle. The devices also allow police to obtain some data about conventional credit and ATM cards, but not, it appears from coverage, to freeze and seize funds in those accounts on the spot. “If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you,” said a police spokesman. Oklahoma “is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.” [Aaron Brilbeck/News 9 Oklahoma, Clifton Adcock/Oklahoma Watchdog, Scott Greenfield (highway patrol’s views of what is and is not suspicious confer a great deal of arbitrary power), Justin Gardner/Free Thought Project last October on Arizona use]

Plus: “New Mexico Ended Civil Asset Forfeiture. Why Then Is It Still Happening?” [NPR] A car is stopped for “swerving,” and soon police have confiscated the $18,000 its owner was carrying for payroll and other expenses of her southern California janitorial business [ACLU of San Diego, p. 7, “It happened to me: Janitorial business”]


  • If the police take property that is not evidence of a crime and without legal authorization for forfeiture, isn’t that robbery? Maybe victims should file a criminal complaint.

  • “If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you,”

    Orwellian. Having money is now de facto evidence of crime unless one can provide prove to the contrary.

  • If this is theft. and imho it is, can another poloce force, or a private citizen. seize the offending police cruiser and equipment in turn?

  • Or make a citizens arrest against the officer for theft.

  • I have much respect for law enforcement, but any officer or department that participates in this demeans the police overall. This was designed to be used against major drug dealers, etc not against every minor offender. Now it has been twisted even further so that the person doesn’t even need to be arrested. It is abhorrent that THIS many police departments are corrupt enough to participate in this. We can’t get the feds to go after the local corrupt departments because they also are complicit.

  • How exactly do the police get their hands on one’s credit cards and debit cards? Do they actually have the chutzpah to claim that they need to search them to ensure that one is not hiding weapons in them? What is the basis for the search?