FBI Seized Innocent Customers' Valuables During Raid of Safety Deposit Boxes, Alleges Group

The FBI seized $86 million in property from the safety deposit box vault in Beverly Hills, which included innocent people's valuables, says a group of customers trying to get their items back.

Several patrons of a safety deposit box vault in California are taking on the FBI, who they say confiscated their valuables and heirlooms during a raid reportedly looking for drug cartel money. The customers thought their possessions were 100% secure at the U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills.

Jeni Pearsons said she found the vault to store silver coins, which she says were apart of her retirement plan. “We found this place, we went and visited and talked to the people who were there,” Pearsons said. 

The ad promised high-tech security as well as a “no questions asked” policy. They also had good reviews and were located in a nice area, Pearsons said.

But then came a major shock, when the facility was raided by the FBI, which was reportedly looking for drug cartel money. The government opened every safety deposit box, seizing $86 million in property from everyone — from alleged criminals hiding their ill-gotten gains, to regular folks who just wanted a safe place to store their valuables. 

“If they can do this, what is it that they can’t do?” Pearsons said.

Joseph Ruiz says the FBI took $57,000 he got from a legal settlement. He walked in on the raid in progress.

“I am being treated like a criminal right now,” Ruiz said. “They stole my stuff. When I was there, they asked if I was part of the cartel.”

Jennifer and Paul Snitko say their priceless family treasures, like a grandfather’s gold watch and inherited gold bracelets were in their safety deposit box. 

“I felt powerless. I felt depressed. I felt like my own government did this to me,” Paul said.

The Snitkos were able to get the items back after showing the FBI proof they were theirs — not always an easy task when dealing with cash and family heirlooms. 

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