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Stripper's $1M savings have to be returned to her, judge says

July 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Rancho Cucamonga woman won her fight to get back $1 million that authorities confiscated from her. She said it is money she saved working as an exotic dancer.

The Tropical Lei in Upland is just one of many strip clubs Tara Mishra worked as an exotic dancer. Her attorney, Robert Diamond, says his client managed to save $1 million during her 15 years in the industry and kept the money in safety deposit boxes in hopes of one day owning her own business.

In March 2012, she says she turned over her life savings to friends to drive to New Jersey and invest the money in a strip club.

"On the way there, the two people in the car transporting the cash were stopped by a Nebraska state trooper for speeding," said Daimond.

The state trooper then asked to search the couple's car, which they agreed to. In the trunk, the officer found the neatly packed bundles of money and got suspicious.

"[The state trooper] took the two persons into custody, handcuffed them and drove them back to the office in Nebraska, where a dog specializing in sniffing for drugs sniffed positive for drug residue, allegedly, or drug odor on the money," said Diamond.

The cash was confiscated and considered property of the U.S. government. That is until last week when U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon ordered the money returned, citing the lack of evidence or connection to drug activity. Diamond says his client will also receive interest.

"In fact, it's earning more interest than it earned, which was nothing when she had it in safety deposit boxes," said Diamond.

Diamond says his client has not received the money yet because as the U.S. attorney in Nebraska could file an appeal. So far, he estimates Uncle Sam owes his client $1,074,000 plus interest.

A spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Omaha said they are evaluating whether to appeal the judge's decision.


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