Pittsburgh retiree, daughter suing the federal government over seized life savings

Rebecca Brown and her father Terry Rolin, 79, are suing the federal government to get back Rolin’s life savings, which is more than $82,000.The pair filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. It claims DEA agents seized Rolin’s life savings because it was “greater than $5,000 and was thus considered a suspicious amount under the DEA’s policy or practice.”Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke with Brown over Skype on Wednesday night from her home in Boston. She said the DEA was wrong to seize her father’s money.“I’m a United States citizen taking my dad’s life savings from one state to another to be able to provide care for him,” she said. Back in August, TSA agents at Pittsburgh International Airport stopped Brown, who was traveling home after a trip to see her family in the city. She had her carry-on which had her father’s cash that he wanted her to put into a joint bank account. Brown said she couldn’t have put the money into a bank in Pittsburgh because when she received the money on a Sunday the banks were closed. She flew out from Pittsburgh early that next Monday. Before bringing the cash to the airport, Brown said she checked TSA’s website to confirm that she could bring a large amount of cash on her plane. According to Brown, the website does not say anything that would prohibit her from bringing the money on the plane. However, she said that she was flooded with questions from TSA, state troopers and the DEA.“What I was doing with the money, where I got it,” Brown said. “Where I was taking it when I arrived in Pittsburgh, if I could give him my boarding pass.” After 30 minutes of questioning, TSA told Brown she could board her flight but her father’s life savings could not go with her.The lawsuit is filed against the DEA and TSA. It cites that the TSA’s authority does not extend to “investigating potential crimes unrelated to transportation security.”Neither Brown nor her father have been charged with a crime. Both agencies declined to comment on the case. Dan Alban, the family’s attorney said that what happened to Brown and Rolin is common across the country.“We are trying to bring about institutional change and fix this terribly broken civil forfeiture system,” Alban said. Brown said her father is a native Pittsburgher, who retired after working as a railroad engineer. According to the lawsuit he planned to use his savings to pay for dental care and help his daughter.

Rebecca Brown and her father Terry Rolin, 79, are suing the federal government to get back Rolin’s life savings, which is more than $82,000.

The pair filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. It claims DEA agents seized Rolin’s life savings because it was “greater than $5,000 and was thus considered a suspicious amount under the DEA’s policy or practice.”

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Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke with Brown over Skype on Wednesday night from her home in Boston. She said the DEA was wrong to seize her father’s money.

“I’m a United States citizen taking my dad’s life savings from one state to another to be able to provide care for him,” she said.

Back in August, TSA agents at Pittsburgh International Airport stopped Brown, who was traveling home after a trip to see her family in the city. She had her carry-on which had her father’s cash that he wanted her to put into a joint bank account.

Brown said she couldn’t have put the money into a bank in Pittsburgh because when she received the money on a Sunday the banks were closed. She flew out from Pittsburgh early that next Monday.

Before bringing the cash to the airport, Brown said she checked TSA’s website to confirm that she could bring a large amount of cash on her plane. According to Brown, the website does not say anything that would prohibit her from bringing the money on the plane.

However, she said that she was flooded with questions from TSA, state troopers and the DEA.

“What I was doing with the money, where I got it,” Brown said. “Where I was taking it when I arrived in Pittsburgh, if I could give him my boarding pass.”

After 30 minutes of questioning, TSA told Brown she could board her flight but her father’s life savings could not go with her.

The lawsuit is filed against the DEA and TSA. It cites that the TSA’s authority does not extend to “investigating potential crimes unrelated to transportation security.”

Neither Brown nor her father have been charged with a crime. Both agencies declined to comment on the case.

Dan Alban, the family’s attorney said that what happened to Brown and Rolin is common across the country.

“We are trying to bring about institutional change and fix this terribly broken civil forfeiture system,” Alban said.

Brown said her father is a native Pittsburgher, who retired after working as a railroad engineer. According to the lawsuit he planned to use his savings to pay for dental care and help his daughter.