Crime happens to criminals, too

Karma might not be instant,1 but this has to be as close as it gets.

One Sunday morning last summer in Kennewick, Washington, a man called police to report his pickup truck had been stolen. Surveillance video from a nearby business showed a bicyclist riding by the truck, doubling back to take a look, and then driving away in it (after taking the time to properly store his bike in the back, of course). The vehicle's owner, William Kelley, said he left the keys on the seat and returned to his truck just as the thief was driving away.

Some things need to be seen to be believed, so you can watch the surveillance video on the Kennewick Police Department's Facebook page.2

A crime caught on camera is already a perfect fit for an infomercial on dumb criminals, but wait…there's more! The surveillance video shows Kelley returning to his truck from across the street. Just what was he doing there? The police investigated further and determined Kelley was stealing items from another business.

Kelley was booked on a burglary charge that same morning. There's no word on whether his truck was recovered, but I'm left wondering about a more important question and all of the tax implications: How do you properly report the theft loss of a vehicle that's stolen while you're earning income from an illegal activity?

1 John Lennon would disagree (

How not to transport your bag full of drugs

On February 2, two drug traffickers were pulled over by the Florida Highway Patrol for speeding. During the traffic stop, the troopers noticed a large 12 ½" x 8 ½" bag labeled "BAG FULL OF DRUGS" on the back seat. Of course, the troopers couldn't simply gloss over such a thing. Upon inspection, the officers seized meth, GHB, cocaine, MDMA, and fentanyl.

For those of you who are like me and not in tune with the drug scene, I'll save you the Google search. GHB is Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (a club drug) and MDMA is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy). To be perfectly honest, if you asked me if I had any GHB or MDMA before I Googled these terms, my response would've probably been: "I'm sure my wife keeps some in the spice cabinet."

If you would like your own "BAG FULL OF DRUGS," you can purchase it here for $22.99. Wouldn't this make a fantastic belated Valentine's Day gift for the special someone in your life?

Remember kids, proceeds from the sale of drugs are taxable income and the federal government allows you a deduction only for the cost of goods sold when dealing in illegal substances. Supplies, such as the bag to transport said drugs, are not deductible.

AB 5: No injunction for Uber and Postmates; new exemptions proposed

A U.S. district court judge denied a request by Uber and Postmates for a temporary injunction against applying AB 5 to them, stating the court "cannot second guess the legislature's choice to enact a law that seeks to uplift the conditions of the majority of nonexempt low income workers." (Olson, et al. v. State of California, et al. (February 10, 2020) U.S. District Ct., Central Dist. of Calif.) The lawsuit is still pending, but for now because there is no exception for their drivers, Uber and Postmates may have to reclassify their workers as employees.

Also, bills have been introduced to provide for the following exemptions:

  • SB 963: Expands specific occupations to include youth sports referees and umpires;
  • SB 965: Expands specific occupations to include health facilities that contract with companies that employ health care providers, including:
    • General acute care hospitals
    • Acute psychiatric hospitals
    • Skilled nursing facilities
  • SB 966: Expands specific occupations to include pharmacists
  • SB 967: Prohibits franchisees from being deemed employees of a franchisor
  • SB 975: Expands specific occupations to include timber operators, foresters, and professionals providing forested landscape services

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Austin LewisAustin Lewis loves classic rock, despite being born a few decades late, and he goes to more concerts than anyone else in the office. Here he is in Toronto a few years ago, recreating the cover photo from one of his favorite Rush albums.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M., is an Orange County native, and you can find him doing some backyard gardening, playing with his 3 kids, or daydreaming about tee-time while he's answering Message Board questions.

Lynn Freer, EALynn Freer, EA, is a French literature major, so of course her favorite vacation destination is France. Here she is dining on mussels and fish stew near Nice.

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