Category: customs cash seizure

X-ray technology was used by A truck passing through an X-ray machine used by CBP to seize hidden cash.

CBP Uses Tech to Seize Hidden Cash

Technology is used by CBP to seize hidden cash. In this case, the technology is an x-ray machine that can scan an entire container.

Sometimes a cash seizure by CBP is clearly connected to illegal activity, like when CBP seizes hidden cash in the body panels of a vehicle driven by a man with a criminal record going into Mexico. Other times customs seizes hidden cash from people who aren’t up to anything illegal (and who have never even got a traffic ticket).

Then there are other times when the intent, or the reason, someone fails to report cash or hides it is not clear. For me, one such time was a story we wrote about one year ago, when CBP seized $325,000 in hidden leaving Puerto Rico in a container, along with some personal effects.

The story below is kind of similar. It is scant on details, but nonetheless interesting. There is nothing stated about what else was inside the container other than half-million dollars seized for bulk cash smuggling, so it is a little different than last year’s story.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped an illegal exportation of currency when officers searched a cargo container intended to be shipped to the Dominican Republic on board the Caribbean Fantasy Ferry this past week.

Utilizing high-tech equipment, CBP officers examining outbound containers being loaded to the Caribbean Ferry selected some for further inspection.  During the additional inspection, officers discovered $518,980 USD, intended to be smuggled out of the United States. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to strengthening our borders.” said Keith McFarquhar, acting San Juan Area Port Director. “The currency seized is not only money lost by organizations that finance drug trafficking and other illegal activity.  It is currency that could also supply the weapons and the means for these organizations to disrupt governments and pose threats to our nation.”]

Has CBP seized hidden cash from you?

If CBP seized hidden cash from you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Texas CBP seized cash. A picture of 19 stacks of $20 and $100 bills part of the cash seized by CBP at Hidalgo International Bridge

Texas CBP Seized Cash at Hidalgo

Texas CBP seized cash from a man heading into Mexico in January, the amount of cash totaled about $300,000 cash and was seized by CBP at the Hidalgo International Bridge. The money appears to have

Texas CBP seized cash. A picture of 19 stacks of $20 and $100 bills part of the cash seized by CBP at Hidalgo International Bridge
Texas CBP seized cash at the Hidalgo International Bridge

been part concealed in the vehicle, which means it is potentially a bulk cash smuggling offense.

Texas CBP seized cash from him after they decided to give his vehicle a closer inspection — what is commonly called a “secondary examination.” Here is the story:

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $269,525 in unreported U.S. currency from a Donna, Texas man who was allegedly attempting to exit into Mexico.

“Working outbound operations at our international bridges allows us to detect export violations, which include failure to adhere to federal currency reporting requirements,” said Port Director Efrain Solis, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Importing or exporting currency is a simple process, and a traveler can lawfully transport any amount of currency as long as these currency reporting requirements are followed.”

On Jan. 19, CBP officers assigned to outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a 33-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a white 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck attempting to exit into Mexico. Officers selected him and his vehicle for further inspection and during the secondary examination, officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency hidden within the pickup. CBP OFO removed and seized nine bundles containing a total of $269,525 in unreported U.S. currency.

Has Texas CBP seized cash from you?

If Texas CBP seized cash from you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

CBP Money Seizure Techniques

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), among its many missions and responsibilities, tries to stop the flow of illegal goods and dirty cash flowing across the borders. In past articles, we wrote about how CBP money seizure techniques target people who might be transporting more than $10,000. Read our piece about Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizure.

But exactly how CBP chooses their targets is less well known. This television show Border Wars has an an episode on Youtube that shows some of the CBP money seizure techniques in use to identify certain people for inspection to verify the amount of cash they are carrying.

If more than $10,000 cash, or if the traveler’s story is suspicious, Customs can seize the cash.

Curiously, the narrator of this program says that for CBP to seize the money it must total more than $10,000. That’s not quite true, customs can also seize it if they feel it is connected to illegal activity under any number of criminal statutes.

In this case, however, the seizure was $65,000, so there was a failure to report (along with bulk cash smuggling) that resulted in seizure. To see the relevant parts, skip to 8:40, 18:30 and 25:00.

Have you been the victim of CBP money seizure techniques?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal guide toa customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.

$200k Money Seizure in Texas by CBP

There was a money seizure in Texas by CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection) of more than $200,000,

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.
CBP officers seized over $200,000 in cash in Eagle Pass, Texas

reported last week. The cash was hidden in the body panels of the vehicle, where it was found by officers when Texas CBP was conducting outbound money seizure inspections. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Most of our client’s are not criminally charged as seems to have happened here, but only face civil forfeiture for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring. In this case, even if the seized money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, it will probably all be forfeited because of the money was concealed. Even in cases where legitimate source and intended use are proven, the money can still be permanently lost because hiding the money from CBP so as to avoid reporting it is a serious crime.

Here’s the Texas CBP money seizure story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry seized a large amount of undeclared U.S. currency recently.

Shortly before 8 p.m., Jan. 22, CBP officers at Eagle Pass Bridge I inspected a southbound 2009 Pontiac G5 before it departed the United States bound for Mexico. Upon inspection, officers found several bundles of cash hidden in a body panel of the vehicle. Officers seized a total of $207,383.

The driver, a 37-year-old man from Humble, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution.

Had a money seizure in Texas by CBP?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Champlain, NY, border crossing with large stop sign where Customs and Border Protection seized money inspecting a vehicle.

Customs and Border Protection Seized Money in Champlain

Annually, ports across the country release news stories about the previous twelve months of enforcement activity. In Champlain, New York, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized money on 3 different occasions that made it into their “Top 10 Seizures and Arrests for 2015.”

Customs and Border Protection seized money in these three cases but we only previously reported on the $24,000 seized on an Amtrak train.

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations has compiled its top 10 seizures and arrests for 2015 at the Area Port of Champlain.  The list of seizures underscores the important role CBP officers play in protecting the country.

The following seizures represent the array of threats encountered at the Area Port of Champlain in both the commercial and passenger environments.  They further portray the efforts of CBP employees to prevent the import of illegal items and protect the commerce of the U.S.

  1. January 4, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $24,671

CBP officers inspecting passengers onboard the Amtrak train at Rouses Point, N.Y., encountered a female U.S. citizen who stated she was coming back from Cuba.  The subject had marked “no” to question 13 on Form 6059B (Customs Declaration) that she had filled out and signed, thus declaring that she was not in possession of over $10,000 U.S. dollars or its equivalent.  The subject was sent for a secondary examination to verify she had no prohibited Cuban goods in her possession.  During examination, it was discovered that she was travelling with $24,671 in unreported currency hidden in her luggage.

The other two stories, quoted below, apparently never made it into the headlines at the time Customs and Border Protection seized money. They are interesting in that the first story involves bulk cash smuggling by a 75 year old lady, and the second involves fraud in that the money was derived from cash advances taken out against credit cards without the intention of repayment. In both cases, Customs and Border Protection seized money.
  1. April 20, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $122,687

CBP officers at the Port of Champlain referred a 75-year-old Canadian female for secondary inspection to verify the answers she gave during primary inspection to basic questions.  During the secondary inspection, a search resulted in the discovery of unreported currency totaling $122,686 U.S. dollars and its equivalent hidden in luggage.  The currency was seized.

  1. June 1, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $38,220

CBP Officers at the Port of Champlain referred two Canadian-born sisters, who each declared $10,000 dollars in Canadian Currency, for a secondary inspection.  During the secondary inspection, it was discovered that they were structuring money for a third individual, who was also applying for admission to the U.S., to avoid reporting requirements.  Further examination revealed that the money had been obtained by taking out cash advances from credit cards with no intention of repayment.  In total, $38,220 dollars in Canadian currency was seized.

Has Customs and Border Protection seized money from you?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal guide to a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

The back of a CBP officer's shirt reading "CBP Federal Officer" in bold yellow letters.

Newark Airport Cash Seizure from Pilot

Customs seized cash at Newark airport from a commercial airline pilot for bulk cash smuggling. That’s the story reported by the Mumbai Mirror, which states that the pilot tried to smuggle $200,000 in without reporting it to customs and by concealing it inside a newspaper when he attempted to make entry at Newark airport after a trip to Mumbai.

He was arrested and is now being criminally charging him with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements. According to the story, he faces up 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 as a consequence for his false statements and bulk cash smuggling at Newark Airport. The full story is here:

An American commercial airline pilot has been arrested for trying to smuggle in nearly $200,000 in undeclared currency at a Newark airport shortly after arriving as a passenger on a flight from Mumbai.

Anthony Warner, 55, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was arrested at the Newark Liberty International Airport by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and charged with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements.

Officials said that US immigration and customs enforcement agents would not known that Warner was carrying the cash wrapped in a newspaper, besides 10 rings, earrings and other jewellery if the global entry kiosk computer system was in order. A physical screening of baggage led to his arrest. Warner, a commercial pilot, possessed a global entry card that allows for quick clearance when entering the US, officials said.

The complaint said Warner declared he was bringing into the country nothing of value except for $180. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the US Attorney’s office said. Warner was released on $100,000 bond after his initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Steven C Mannion.

The reason I share this story is to strongly warn people, whether customs seized cash at Newark airport or any other airport, if it is alleged the cash seizure was for bulk cash smuggling, call us for a free currency seizure consultation because you risk losing all of your money, even if not criminally charged!

It’s interesting that he was not only bulk smuggling cash but also some rings and other jewelry. It certainly sounds a little bit suspicious. But I’m not sure what I suspect, other than the story is a little strange. Why would an airline pilot risk customs seizing cash at the airport, his jewelry, loss of his job, and prison time if this was not connected to some other criminal activity?

Did customs seize cash from you at  Newark airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal

$40k Money Seized at Houston Airport by CBP

According to this story, about $40,000 in money seized at Houston Airport by Customs & Border Protection

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal
Money Seized at Houston Airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”)

(CBP) was on its way to Turkey.

This is the tale of a classic failure to report cash to customs, which also might have involved a language barrier (e.g., the reporter could have meant to say “forty-thousand” instead of “four-thousand” if English was the person’s second language). But, in our last post we noted that if Customs has to ask you to report money over $10,000 and you haven’t already filed a FinCen 105 form, you’ve already violated the law.

Here’s the money seizure storm from Houston airport CBP:

HOUSTON– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday seized more than $40,000 in unreported currency in an outbound enforcement action involving a departing air passenger bound for Turkey.

The [money seized at Houston airport] occurred on Thursday, Jan. 7 when CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations observed departing air passengers on a flight bound for Istanbul, Turkey and selected a 73-year-old male U.S. citizen passenger for a secondary inspection after a CBP canine alerted to his luggage. During the examination, the passenger declared $4,000 but subsequent examination by CBP officers revealed a total of $40,091 in unreported currency within his luggage. CBP officers seized the unreported currency.

Was your money seized at Houston airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

U.S. Money Seized by Customs (CBP) Stacked on a Table with Envelopes

CBP Confiscated Cash of $18,000 at Dulles

CBP confiscated cash of $18,000 at Dulles Airport from a family bound for Lebanon. The family verbally reported $12,000 cash to customs, then completed a FinCEN 105 form for $14,100.
Upon inspection, CBP discovered they actually had the equivalent of approximately $18,000, consisting of Euros and U.S. dollars.1
The real issue we want to address in this CBP cash confiscation story is the “verbal report” the family made. The CBP cash reporting regulations state that the cash report shall be filed “at the time of entry into the United States or at the time of departure . . . . with the Customs officer in charge”.
So, if you are stopped and make an accurate report of cash to Customs without filing a written report of cash on FinCEN 105, you’ve already violated the law. So even assuming the verbal report by the Lebanese family was accurate, there would still be a violation of the currency reporting requirement. A report of cash to CBP must be accurate, in writing, and on time! Otherwise, you’ll next person from who CBP confiscated cash.

Here’s the story about how CBP confiscated cash at Dulles:

CBP officers seized $18,592 on Thursday from a Lebanon-bound family for failure to comply with federal currency reporting regulations. A CBP currency canine alerted to the family on the jetway. The family verbally reported $12,000, and then reported $14,100 on a U.S. Treasury Department currency reporting form after a CBP officer explained the law. A baggage inspection revealed several white envelopes that contained a total of $17,428 in U.S. dollars and 1,164 Euros. CBP officers seized the U.S. currency, released the Euros to the family, and then released the family to continue their trip.
If CBP confiscated cash from you, you can learn more from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.
  1. The story notes that money was in “several white envelopes”, which could lead to allegations of bulk cash smuggling. We’ve talked about bulk cash smuggling in depth; and be forewarned, if Dulles alleges bulk cash smuggling after CBP confiscated cash, you are going to permanently lose a substantial amount of your money. Read about it at $16k Dulles Airport Currency Seizure by CBP or at Cash seized at Dulles airport by CBP or at Dulles Airport Cash Seizure Nets CBP $40K or at Dulles Airport Money Seizure by Customs of $43,015, just to name a few. []
Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure nets $145,000 USD

Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure Nets $145k

A Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure occurred in what would be unusual circumstances for average client of our customs law firm. The seizure happened on a boat “near” the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands during a maritime patrol. Usually our clients face a money seizure at an airport or land border crossing, not on the open water.

Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure nets $145,000 USD
Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure nets $145,000 USD

It is also unusual that there was no failure to report cash; rather, the money was seized primarily due to suspicious circumstances surrounding the encounter. CBP inspected the boat at a local marina and one of the three individuals in the boat tried to get away. That person was in possession of a brown bag with $145,000.

Now, aside from a possible failure to report cash – which is not clear in these circumstances (recall a report only needs to made at the time of entry or exit from the U.S.) – the money was seized under a kind of “catch-all” law that allows the government to seize cash if they believe it is connected to basically any illegal activity.

Let’s have a look at the Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents seized $145,000 from a vessel operated by 3 US citizens. All subjects were released pending further investigation.

“Our agents remain vigilant for illegal smuggling operations, as well as money laundering,” stated Johnny Morales Director of Air Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. During a maritime patrol, a St. Thomas-based marine crew located a vessel with 3 men traversing around the waters of the US Virgin Islands.

The vessel heaved and was escorted for inspection into a local marina, where one of the vessel occupants attempted to flee and was subsequently detained.  He had a brown bag which contained a significant amount of US currency.

The bag contained $145,000 which was seized for a civil forfeiture under title 18 USC section 981.

The story can be accessed here. If you’ve experienced a Virgin Islands CBP Cash Seizure, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Picture of what the cash seized at Dulles airport looked similar to.

Cash seized at Dulles airport by CBP

A Chinese traveler had cash seized at Dulles airport, again, last week. This time it was $20,377, instead of $16,000 in cash seized by CBP there last week.

Dulles airport CBP seems to be on a roll. This story has the man reporting $10,000, but carrying $20,377 on his person and in his luggage. In addition to the failure to report, that failure to report combined with the presence of the money in the luggage could be the basis for an allegation of bulk cash smuggling.

Here’s the story about the cash seized at Dulles airport last week (as told by CBP):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $20,377 Monday from a Chinese citizen for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who arrived on a flight from China, declared to CBP officers that he was carrying $10,000 and completed a financial form reporting the same. However; CBP officers discovered a total of $20,377 on his person and in his luggage. CBP officers seized the $20,377 and advised him how to petition for the return of the rest of the currency.

Always remember, legitimate source and legitimate use of the seized cash must be proven before Customs is legally required to consider returning the money. The types of documentation that is needed to prove this varies in every situation, and documentation should only be provided to CBP after

Picture of what the cash seized at Dulles airport looked similar to.
A Chinese citizen had cash seized at Dulles airport.

consultation with an attorney (here’s why). A customs lawyer will have a much better chance at getting your cash returned than doing it on your own.

If you’ve had cash seized at Dulles airport, or another airport, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.