Layers of Protection

March 3, 2014

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

layers of protectionRegardless of what you think about J.D. Rockefeller as a person, or the things he did, please don’t allow that to assuage you from the truth and wisdom in this statement he made: “Own nothing and control everything.”

We have this quote on our website and for very good reason.  The reality is, ownership is not tantamount to control in today’s government and legal landscape.  It’s not about whether you like it or not.  Either you accept this as true, or you spit into the wind.

You don’t need to be rich to live according to this code either.  If you worked hard, played by the rules, built your wealth, and find yourself in the midst of one of life’s inevitable “rainy days”, you don’t want the fruits of your labor hanging out there for all of creation to seize!

Why?  Well, let’s look at a very recent case; a ground breaking case on several fronts, in point of fact.  There are several factors of great significance to everyone at play here: 1. A right to a defense; 2. A right to property; and 3. A presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

This trifecta of rights were summarily trampled by the SCOTUS in Kaley v. U.S.  Here are the highlights of this case: Kelli Kaley, a medical device sales person, repurposed and sold old, unwanted devices and turned them around to make a profit.  No hospital or individual could be found who would claim them as their property, which all but rules out “theft” on the part of Ms. Kaley.  However, the U.S. government saw things differently, and charged her with theft.

She realized she needed a good defense against these allegations, so she consulted an attorney and received an estimate of $500,000.  She took out a home equity line of credit in that amount and put those funds into a certificate of deposit (CD) for the purposes of retaining that legal defense.

The most she would be on the hook for, if she were found guilty of theft, is $140,000; however, the U.S. government decided to freeze the entire $500,000 compounding the charges of theft with money laundering, suggesting that the $500,000 was ill-gotten from the money made selling the allegedly “stolen” devices.

By freezing these assets, she could no longer afford the attorney of her choosing to defend herself in court.

The federal Supreme Court ruled, 6-to-3, that this is acceptable, legal and constitutional.  This ruling did not neatly fall along party lines in this particular case either, which demonstrates the bi-partisan, if not apolitical, nature of this disturbing determination by the high court.

Imagine, however, if she never took out the funds.  What if, she didn’t even own the house from which she took out the HELOC?  What do I mean?

Let’s say, she couldn’t afford her legal fees, but someone else sponsored her and picked up those costs for her.  For instance, her mom decides to help her out.  The court wouldn’t freeze her mother’s assets, right?  Certainly not, since she is a totally excluded party from this lawsuit.  Now, instead of her mom paying the legal costs, what if she had another “person” paying her legal costs.  The same person who owns the title to the house she lives in.  The corporation that owns her house.  The corporation that she created and now manages.

If this were the case, she would not own the house (which fulfills the first half of the Rockefeller code), but she would manage the assets held by that corporation (which fulfills the second half of the code).  It’s not her house, but she does have access to the funds.

I recently got into a discussion with my sister about the layers of security available for our assets and privacy.  The net result of that discussion is: the measures, and the costs of those measures, have to be worthwhile when weighted against the sensitivity and value of what is being protected.

Makes sense.  I would have a hard time making a strong case for someone to store $5 offshore, or encrypting messages pertaining to the next high school reunion.  But, there is a very strong case to be made for people who own high ticket items such as real estate, cars, retirement and/or college funds, a collection of precious metals, etc.  

Take Kelli Kaley, in the case discussed above: medical device sales brings in a rather comfortable income.  Some can make well into the six-figure range.  She had at least $500,000 in home equity to pull out of the house she lived in, for crying out loud!  It’s not lavish when pitted up to the Warren Buffets and Mitt Romneys of the world, but it’s sizable and well worth protecting… especially when your life is hanging in the balance and that money is the difference between a great defense and a public defender.

Welcome to the new normal, friends.  Is it unfair?  No question.  Is it really constitutional?  No.  Are you willing to hedge that people will vote this all away before your neck is on the chopping block? 

“I’m not doing anything wrong.”  Yeah, that’s what Kelli thought, too.  I mean, how can you steal something that was given to you?  Nevertheless, there she is, without the funds to get the best defense her money can buy.

Again, it’s not about whether you like it, it’s about reality.  And this case is very real.

If the system is now in the habit of presuming guilt, then is it really that radical to advise individuals to expect and prepare for the worst?  If you were to assess your net worth, would you be okay with a court freezing those assets or seizing them when you needed them most, such as for your own defense?  Would you be okay with some litigious ambulance chaser manipulating the system to take your house and car?

If we think it’s worthwhile to lock a door at night, put our expensive jewelry in safes, insure our fine art and antiques, why on earth is it not worthwhile to protect yourself from a system that puts a target on what you own. 

Own NOTHING and control everything.  That’s the key to KEEPING your wealth.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation to figure out how you can protect yourself from scenarios like this, CLICK HERE.

Comments

  1. Completely agree here! Of course hings could’ve wound up a lot worse for Kelli without her even being able to forecast it but luckily they didn’t. All the more reason to have strong asset protection. Do the banks have the power to reposes a horse for defaulting mortgage payments if a corporation owns the property? Here in Australia they do yet litigation is a lot less frequent.

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