Two Americans are alleging the FBI lost or stole their property after seizing it through a “shady” process.
“All we know is that their property was in a box and safe before the FBI broke into the box,” Joe Gay, an attorney with the nonprofit law firm Institute for Justice, told Fox News. “Once the FBI broke into the box, we honestly don’t know exactly what happened.”
“We don’t know if they lost it. We don’t know if somebody pocketed it and walked away,” he continued. “We have no way to know.”
The Institute for Justice filed two lawsuits Friday on behalf of clients who had property seized from their safety deposit boxes in a March 2021 FBI raid on U.S. Private Vaults, a Beverly Hills–based company. After prevailing in court, and the FBI agreeing to return their property, both Don Mellein and Jeni Pearsons discovered some of their property was missing and suspect the FBI’s haphazard raid or sticky fingers are to blame.
“There’s literally been no explanation,” Pearsons said. “I think you have to assume that it’s the simplest explanation, and I think, unfortunately, the simplest explanation is they took it or lost it.”
Mellein, a 79-year-old