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Couple says seized cash was insurance, sales proceeds

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A Massachusetts couple say $107,520 seized from their vehicle during a 2012 Henry County traffic stop was from vehicle sales and insurance and disability benefits.

Illinois State Police seized the money, along with Adam and Jennifer Perry's Toyota Tundra, after the Ashburnham, Mass., couple was stopped for speeding on Interstate 80 in Henry County Oct. 25, 2012.

Although no drugs were found in the vehicle, authorities used civil forfeiture laws to confiscate the couple's property without filing charges, under the assumption the money and vehicle were tied to illegal activity. 

A forfeiture case against the Perrys is pending in the U.S. District Court, Rock Island. Prosecutors say the couple has failed to comply with a judge's order to provide information about the source of the seized cash. 

In a letter filed with the court Wednesday, Mr. Perry wrote that he did not have to "and will not" answer the government's questions.

The letter, however, also stated that, months before the Henry County seizure, the couple received just under $150,000 from several different disability settlements and payments. 

Mr. Perry received more than $7,000 in an insurance collision payout in March 2012 and sold several vehicles for a total of about $50,000, the letter states. Other assets cited in the letter included work-related income, personal savings, Social Security payments and disability payments from the state of California, where he formerly lived.

Mr. Perry said he and his wife should not be required to prove their innocence in the civil case.

"This is not Nazi Germany where you can treat people like this," he wrote.

The letter also states that the couple is disabled and have previously tried, unsuccessfully, to have prosecutors return their "only vehicle" and personal effects, such as Mrs. Perry's wedding rings.

"I even begged and said please just give me my truck back and you can keep the money and ill (sic) walk away from it. Still denied," Mr. Perry wrote. "You don't understand the emotional, physical and financial terrorism you have caused."

In his letter, Mr. Perry also alleged that, after the traffic stop, he was denied an attorney and detained for nine hours while police questioned him. He claimed police also illegally searched his phone without a warrant.

No further action had been taken in the case as of Wednesday afternoon.

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