By: Kyle James | 02-01-2018 | News
Photo credit: Derrek Vaughn | The Valdosta Daily Times

Upstanding Sheriff Returns $400,000 To Owner After Seizing It

Normally, if the government seizes your money, you don't get it back. In a rare move, Lowndes County Sheriff's Office returned $400,000 to its owner after seizing it on January 19 during a traffic stop.

The driver was pulled over after a call came into dispatchers that a vehicle was driving erratically in a van with New York plates on West Street. When deputies pulled over the vehicle they found the driver had no license.

Typically, this would result in a trip to jail and a driving without a license charge but instead, the deputy on the scene offered to give the driver a ride home instead of taking him to jail. When he agreed, the man grabbed a duffel bag from his car.

The deputy asked him what was inside the duffel bag before placing it in his car for the sake of safety. The deputy then discovered $400,000 in cash consisting of $100 bills wrapped with rubber bands.

Since the man could not provide a reason for having the large sum of cash the sheriff's deputy seized the money suspecting it was involved in criminal activity.

After a thorough investigation, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said the money could not be connected to any criminal activity.

Paulk says the LCSO remained in contact with the driver throughout the investigation always keeping him informed of where his money was at.

Paulk went on to say, "He was driving erratically, he didn't have a driver's license. We were very polite to him and did not take him to jail for driving without a license. I don't see how we could have treated him better."

Since the investigation could not find any evidence of criminal activity associated with the man or his money, the LCSO issued a cashier's check to the man several days later.

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