• ERAD is a new tool being used in Oklahoma Civil Forfeiture to confiscate money from gift cards from popular retailers such as Best Buy, and gift cards from Master Card, American Express,and Visa. ERAD is a handheld device the police can use to swipe your card and remove or freeze all the funds on it. The ERAD device is supposed to be used to detect fraud such as identity theft, money laundering and drug mules transporting money.

    The ERAD devices are $5,000 each and the device maker gets 7.7% of each confiscation. The average confiscation in Oklahoma is $1,200. Between 2001 and 2014 the US government confiscated 29 billion under civil forfeiture laws. ERAD is a way to make confiscation more efficient and profitable for the device maker and the departments using it.

    One Trooper is reported as saying, “Who carries around 300 cards like this at one time unless they'er involved in some type of illegal activity,” Capt. Timmons says, “As far as anything that deals with banking information, that’s all protected information. We don’t have the ability to get that, even with a warrant.” While that may be true, banking records can be obtained by a subpoena.

    How is all this possible? The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 gave police the right to seize goods assumed to be associated with crime without making an arrest or even charging the suspect involved. The value of the seizures is split between the state and federal governments.

    Oklahoma’s use of the ERAD device is not being well received nationally, one company in Florida that routinely sends employees through Oklahoma says they won’t anymore.

    Politicians are already taking advantage of this looking for votes, such as Kyle Loveless (Republican - OK) is seeking legislation to require police obtain a conviction before taking funds. Nine other states have already abolished civil forfeiture laws and 11 more are blocking civil asset forfeiture until a conviction is obtained.