Story Archive

To Have and To Hold (Your Money)

When federal agents told John Gutowski they were after him in a sham-marriage case, he said he’d been married 32 years to the same woman. No matter: it wasn’t his marriage they were concerned with, but the marriages of some of his Walled Lake, Mich., tenants. “Just because people lived in my apartments and got married — what does it have to do with me?” The government accused Gutowski of helping immigrants marry U.S. citizens for the immigration benefits; it filed criminal charges and seized $250,000 of his money, claiming it “could be” proceeds from the alleged crime. After two years, prosecutors dropped the criminal charges and returned most of the money — but to settle the case, Gutowski had to agree to let the feds keep $15,000. “The government just wears you out and you just want to get it over with,” a former assistant U.S. attorney commented. “They considered me guilty,” Gutowski said, “and I felt I had to prove I was innocent.” (AC/AP) ...So long as we let our government take money by wearing people down, none of us is innocent.
Original Publication Date: 06 March 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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