Feds agree to return $1 million seized from armored car company Empyreal

The federal government will return all of the cash seized from armored transport company Empyreal Logistics during stops of its armored vehicles by the San Bernardino County Sheriff. The agreement was announced April 13 by the Institute for Justice (IJ), which represented Empyreal in its lawsuit against the federal government and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

“Empyreal was operating legally under California law, but with current federal civil forfeiture laws, even compliant businesses can be targeted,” said IJ Senior Attorney Dan Alban. “Civil forfeiture enabled law enforcement to seize over a million dollars in legal business proceeds and threaten to keep it. Returning this money is the right thing to do and we’re pleased to have helped Empyreal secure this outcome.”

Empyreal has agreed to drop its case against the federal government. However, the settlement “does not include the San Bernardino County Sheriff and does not affect a separate civil forfeiture action in Kansas in which Empyreal is represented by separate counsel,” IJ said.