Guest Editorial: Disinheriting a Crime, Inheriting its Booty

There are certain circumstances that follow a crime. Particularly, a federal crime.  Take bank robbery. It is under 18 U. S, code #2113. The punishment is a fine or imprisonment of not more than twenty years, or both. The FBI reports that there are approximately 5000 bank robberies reported to them each year. Approximately 98% of these robbers are captured. Let’s just say it’s serious.


However, there is a less talked about amendment to #2113. That is the circumstances of a benefactor, or receiver of the benefits of a bank robbery, other than the robber.

It reads, partially; “Whoever receives, possesses, conceals, stores, or disposes of, any money which has been taken or stolen from a bank, knowing the same to be property which has been stolen shall be subject to the punishment provided for the taker.” In other words, if someone knowingly benefits from the stolen money, they are subject to the same punishment as the person that took the money.

When the perpetrator is caught, which is, as reported, 98% of the time, what happens to the money? This brings about a world of conversation.  What if the robber needed the money for their family, would the FBI and the banks leave it? However, there is no prevision for leniency in these felonies for “need.”

Having worked in banking for many years, I can tell you, they get their money back. Or whatever is remaining. Settling this crime, by the government, or the banks, is not a benevolent activity. It is business.

If the bank robber used the money to fund his family they are effectively living off the stolen cash. If a child had reached the designation of “legal age,” which is eighteen in most states, and knew the money was gotten illegally, that “adult “child is committing a crime as called out in the amendment. And, is subject to the remedy.

If the robber had a minor child, or children, who effectively lived off the money, what happens when the parent gets caught? (remember 98%)  No one petitions the judicial system to have the money left behind even as the criminal was taken away. Saying that it was no fault of the child what the parent did. This law, this federal felony law, does not work that way. Indeed, our judicial system does not work that way. If it did being a bank robber could become a lucrative career choice. As someone needs money they just go into a bank and take some. Because, they “needed it.”

This is a terrible situation for any child, of course. There are many organizations, federal, local and private, that would enter the picture and take care of the child/children. But, not the FBI or the banks. Social engineering is not their job.

By now, many of you are beginning to see where this is going.

Entering the United States without a permit is a federal crime. Regardless of age, we cannot have children be the determining factor in dealing with this crime. It is certainly horrible for a child, of any age, to be caught up in this, but to subvert our legal system to “fix it here” is not the way to do it.

Ernest Hemingway said, “I had an inheritance from my father, it was the moon and sun. And though I roam all over the world the spending of it is never done.” Fine!  However, one cannot disinherit a crime and then inherit its booty.