Tag: customs cash seizure

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP at Dulles Airport seizes $50k Cash Leaving Country

Dulles CBP has made a few notable seizures recently. Dulles cash seizures always seem to hit the CBP news release cycle, and last week was no exception. CBP reported on the seizure of almost fifty-grand in cash from travelers leaving the United States, so here is the story:

CBP officers seized $29,698 from a Qatar-bound family Saturday.  Officers explained the currency reporting regulations to the family and the father reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $14,000.  The man presented an envelope that contained $10,000 and $4,000 in pocket cash.  CBP officers then asked if he possessed additional currency, to which the man presented an additional $5,698.  An examination of the wife’s purse resulted in the discovery of an additional $10,000.  CBP officers returned $698 to the family and released them to continue their journey.

CBP officers seized $18,900 from a Ghana-bound man Tuesday.  The traveler reported verbally and in writing that he possessed $12,000.  During an examination, CBP officers discovered the additional cash.  Officers returned $500 to the traveler for humanitarian purposes and released him to continue his journey.

The original story says that everyone was a U.S. citizen, and non were criminally charged. In my experience, Dulles will likely say that both of these cases involved bulk cash smuggling, and therefore, they are able to keep at least 50% of the money that was seized according to CBP’s mitigation guidelines.

This Dulles cash seizure should also serve as a reminder to everyone that a report is required even when LEAVING the country, not just upon arrival. If you look closely, you’ll probably see signs in the airport containing notices about the reporting requirement.

A picture of a CBP officer watching travelers at an airport. CBP Officers at Philadelphia International Airport seized $26,000 from a couple going to Greece for a failure to report the cash

Philly CBP Seizes $39k Cash Outbound to Jamaica

Here’s a great story out of Philadelphia, where close to $40,000 was seized from a person traveling to Jamaica. CBP in Philadelphia has a good writer; their cash seizures stories are always the most informative or interesting.

In this case, the women whose cash was seized first reported not having more than $10,000; then changed it to $20,000; ultimately, she was found with almost $40,000. Read it for yourself:

PHILADELPHIA — Federal currency reporting requirements are simple.  International travelers can carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States, but they must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

The consequences for violating federal currency reporting requirements are severe:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers may seize the currency, and officers may criminally charge the violator.

Yet, travelers continue to conceal currency or remain less than truthful during CBP inspections.

A Jamaica-bound traveler departing Philadelphia International Airport Thursday learned this lesson the hard way when CBP officers seized $39,225 that she possessed.  The traveler initially reported that she possessed less than $10,000.  After CBP officers thoroughly explained the currency reporting requirements, she wrote down that she possessed $20,000.  A CBP inspection revealed $39,225.

“This currency seizure illustrates the importance and consequences of travelers complying with all U.S. laws, including currency reporting regulations,” said Shawn Polley, Acting CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “The best way to keep all of your currency is to honestly report it all to a to Customs and Border Protection officers during inspection.”

The traveler was not criminally charged and was allowed to continue her journey to Jamaica.

 

The story ends with the statement that “[o]n a typical day, CBP seizes $289,609 in undeclared or illicit currency along our nation’s borders.” That’s a lot of cash to get seized!

Have you had cash seized by CBP?

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$150,000 in bulk cash wrapped in bundles pictured on the on the roof of the vehicle from which the money was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

CBP Seized $150,000k in Smuggled Cash in El Paso

Way down in Texas, U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized nearly $150,000 in cash that was hidden in a backpack and a purse, when a two adults and two children were attempting to leave the country.

The seizure was made shortly after 9 a.m. when a 2000 Ford Focus with two adults and two children arrived at the outbound lanes at the Ysleta port of entry. CBP officers were conducting a southbound operation at the time and selected the vehicle for an examination. During the inspection CBP officers located bundles of U.S. currency concealed in a child’s back pack. Additional bundles of currency were located in the purse of the female adult passenger.CBP officers took custody of the driver, a 31-year-old male citizen of Mexico. They also took custody of the passenger, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen female. The subjects, vehicle and currency were turned over to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for prosecution.

The story also re-hashes, in a simple way, the law governing currency reporting requirements into or out of the United States:

“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United States,” said CBP El Paso Port Director Beverly Good. “The only requirement is travelers must report aggregate amounts that reach or exceed $10,000 to CBP. Failure to do so can result in criminal or civil penalties.”

U.S. law requires international travelers to properly report currency in their possession whether traveling into or departing from the United States.

Again, we have the mistatement of the law that there is a requirement to report “amounts that reach or exceed $10,000” when actually it only must exceed $10,000. But it is not clear if reporting the money in this border crossing scenario could have avoided the seizure of the cash, because it seems as though there was an independent basis for seizure of the money besides the bulk cash smuggling and failure to report; i.e., the money may have a illegal source or an illegal intended use.

If CBP seized your cash you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

A overhead shot $43,000 mostly in $20 bills that was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection protection heading outbound to Mexico.

CBP Seized Hidden Cash from US Citizen in Texas

The CBP news release feed has been full of news about various enforcement actions on the immigration side of its mission, but with fewer news releases about currency reporting enforcement. Of course, there was the story about the smuggling of horse meat from Mongolia a few days ago.

There has not been much news about currency seizures, although we have noticed no downturn in cash seizure activity on the part of CBP…. but then CBP released this story out of Presidio, Texas, which is your run-of-the-mill bulk cash smuggling seizure that occurs at our border with Mexico.

PRESIDIO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Presidio port of entry seized $43,514 Tuesday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in the center console and air manifold of a pick-up truck.

CBP officers were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Presidio crossing when at approximately 5:25 p.m. a 2010 Ford F-150 pick-up driven by a 27-year-old U.S. citizen from Andrews, Texas, approached the checkpoint. The driver and vehicle were selected for an intensive inspection. During inspection of the vehicle the officers noticed anomalies in the appearance of the vehicle. Inspection of the center console revealed currency bundles wrapped in plastic bags hidden within. Further inspection of the vehicle led to more bundles hidden in the air filter housing and side dashboard panel. A total of nine bundles were removed from the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the money and vehicle and turned the driver to ICE HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt. He was arrested and federal prosecution accepted.

“CBP officers are working hard to stop the illegal movement of guns, ammunition and unreported currency,” said Michael Neipert, CBP Presidio port director “Travelers who do not follow federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges.”

I am impressed that this was called what it was: a bulk cash smuggling seizure. As I’ve pointed out in the past, CBP often calls these failures to report cash; technically true, but not the most accurate name them.

U.S. CBP seized cash hidden in a shipping container at the San Juan, Puerto Rico seaport.

CBP Seizes $29,000 Smuggled at San Juan

A few weeks back, CBP announced another recent seizure of unreported cash at the San Juan seaport in a shipment of cargo containers. A customs cash seizure in Puerto Rico also happened back in May. The story makes the same curiously absent identification of the event as being an incident of bulk cash smuggling, not just a failure to report.

In this case, the seizure of cash happened when U.S. Customs & Border Protection offciers were examining cargo containers and discovered some anomalies (presumably when imaging) a 55 gallon drum. The cash was destined for the Dominican Republic, as below:

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers from the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) seized approximately $29,000 in unreported currency in an outbound enforcement action at the San Juan Seaport.

The interception occurred Oct. 21 while CBP officers were examining cargo containers at a CBP facility.  CBP officers conducted an intensive secondary examination of a container and discovered anomalies on a 55 gallon storage drum. Further examination revealed the hidden currency.  The container was destined to the Dominican Republic.

This is interesting because it again demonstrates that the currency reporting law applies equally to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Have you had cash seized by CBP in Puerto Rico?

If CBP seized your cash in Puerto Rico, you need a lawyer. That’s what we do. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Dulles CBP Seizes $17k in Unreported Currency from Peruvian Woman

Another week, another cash seizure at Dulles airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. They are really racking of the seizures — and talk about it, a lot — this year.

The meat of the story says:

The woman arrived from Peru via Colombia shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday.  During a secondary examination, the woman initially reported that she possessed $3,000, and then changed that amount to $5,000.  CBP officers discovered $15,870 in U.S. dollars, and additional Peruvian Sol equivalent to $1,189 U.S. dollars for a total of $17,059 in her purse.

The untruthful report to CBP makes it this currency seizure completely legal under the federal currency reporting regulations, which penalize any failure to report cash to U.S. Customs & Border Protection. But not only did she have her cash seized, but:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $17,000, a fraudulent permanent resident identity card and a fraudulent social security card from a 54-year-old woman at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday.

But, the story goes on to say that “authorities declined criminally prosecuting the woman.” At the time currency is seized, the seizing officers (or Homeland Security Investigations, I suppose…) are required to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office and advise them of the incident to determine whether to prosecute the case criminally and arrest the individual involved in the currency reporting violations.

However, CBP did “remove[] her from the United States for possessing fraudulent U.S. identity documents and barred her from re-entering the U.S. for five years.” Ooops!

Have you had cash seized at Dulles airport by Customs?

If you had cash seized at Dulles airport by Customs, you really need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

A picture of nearly $70,000 in cash laid out on the body of pick-up truck seized by CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection).

CBP officers seize bulk $68,422 smuggled to Mexico

CBP seized about $70,000 from two U.S. citizens who were heading into Mexcio in what must be drug money being returned to Mexico. The story, related by CBP in a news release, and also in the El Paso Times, involves the concealment of the U.S. currency inside the dashboard of pick-up truck.

From the looks of the picture, though, you’d swear it was hidden in the rocker panels. No matter where the cash was hidden prior to discovery by U.S. Customs & Border Protection, any time money is concealed with the intent of not reporting is bulk cash smuggling; like the failure to report and illegal structuring, bulk cash smuggling is a crime punishable by heavy fines, forfeiture (permanent loss) of money, and jail time.

PRESIDIO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Presidio port of entry seized $68,422 Thursday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden within the front dashboard of the vehicle. Two U.S. citizens were arrested.

CBP officers were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Presidio crossing when at approximately 3:30 p.m. a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up approached the checkpoint. The driver and vehicle were selected for an intensive inspection. During the x-ray inspection of the vehicle the officers noticed anomalies within the front dashboard area. Further inspection of the dashboard revealed currency bundles wrapped in black tape hidden within.

CBP officers seized the money and vehicle. The driver, 35 year-old [redacted] of Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico and her passenger, 30 year-old [redacted] of Fort Stockton, Texas, were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

So though both those involved are U.S. citizens, apparently one of them resides in Mexico. I’ve redacted the names because I have absolutely no interest in publicly shaming anyone for whom I have no proof of guilt other than mere arrest.

Were you caught bulk smuggling cash by CBP?

If you were caught bulk smuggling cash by CBP, we can help your get your money back from U.S. Customs & Border Protection and avoid forfeiture.  Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page, or requesting a call back.

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP Seizes $44k from Couple Flying to Ghana

What happens when you’re going to Ghana and you don’t declare your cash to CBP? Your cash is a Goner! Last week, CBP at Dulles Airport in Sterling Virginia seized $44,606 from a couple leaving the United States from Ghana.

According to CBP, the couple told CBP they only had $14,000…. that’s about $30,000 less than what they were carrying. If true, that is a pretty serious failure to report violation. No one forgets they are carrying $30,000 less than they have.

But there are always two sides to every story. In my experience, CBP occasionally has a way of justifying cash seizures if the facts later turn out not to support their reasons for seizure (like when family is traveling together and they think the money was intentionally structured). Here’s the story from CBP’s perspective:

In separate incidents on Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted an impostor who arrived from Ghana, and seized about $44,000 from a couple heading to Ghana.

[ . . . ]

Moments later, a CBP K9 alert led to CBP officers seizing a total of $44,606 in U.S. dollars and equivalent foreign currency from a Ghanaian couple who attempted to board a flight to Ghana. The woman was already on the flight when CBP officers interviewed the man. The Ghanaian man reported to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000. He then reported that his wife had an additional $5,000. CBP officers discovered the additional currency during a baggage inspection.

CBP returned $1,500 to the couple and released them to continue their journey.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

None of the three travelers was arrested. The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged.

“These are two very serious violations of U.S. immigration and currency reporting laws, and these travelers are very fortunate to avoid criminal prosecution,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “Customs and Border Protection hopes that these incidents are a reminder to all travelers to be truthful with CBP officers. The United States is a welcoming country, especially to those who respect our nation’s laws.”

Has CBP seized your cash?

If CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read 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.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Detroit CBP Seizes $10,005 in Cash at DTW

Press releases from CBP about cash seizures have been slow for the past several weeks, but there are still plenty of people getting money seized and lots of forfeiture actions being published on forfeiture.gov, like the following case where slightly more than $10,000 was seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on June 16:

2016380700087701-001-0000, Seized on 06/16/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 101; EA; Valued at $10,005.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A)

What a bummer for this person; he had another $5 with him that took him the category of people who do not have to file the currency report, to the category of people that must file. My guess is that he knew the reporting limit was $10,000, so that’s all he took with him (which could be a structuring violation, anyway); but he probably forgot about a $5 bill in the fold of his wallet, or in the pocket of his luggage. This is technically – legally – a violation of the reporting law. Of course, Detroit Customs seized his cash.

Sometimes they let people amend their report, sometimes they do not. I’ve had clients who’ve had money seized in same detention area with someone who, also failing to report, have not had money seized. I presume the decision to seize is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the seizure, and it is not just entirely arbitrary and capricious. I would really, really, like to believe that.

If you are traveling with $10,000.01 or more, you must file a currency report with CBP. If he was traveling with $10,000, no report was necessary. But, because he had $10,005, he had to file a currency seizure report.

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If Detroit CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read 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.

Money Seized by CBP near D.C.

A Virginia man had money seized by CBP near Washington, D.C., last week when CBP officers seized $38,872 worth of money exiting the country at Dulles International Airport en route to Ghana. The story says CBP officers were conducting an “outbound enforcement operation” which is a fancy way of saying that, as passengers were boarding their flights and presenting their boarding tickets at the gate, CBP officers were standing by and asking how much money they were carrying and were ready to seize money from anyone misreporting it.

These encounters are often unexpected by travelers. Questions are sometimes asked informally without an explanation from CBP. These often prompts surprise, panic, and thoughts like “What business is it of you how much money I am transporting?” Rare is an explanation of the reporting requirement made (though it is not required).

The the CBP officer might questions like:

  • “How much money is in your bag?”
  • “How much money is in your wallet?”
  • “How much money are YOU carrying?”

A truthful answer to those questions could get you in trouble, because in reality what CBP seeks to find out is how much money are you transporting in your bag, wallet, on your person, and with other members of your group.

After you’ve answered the question, truthfully or inaccurately, CBP will then either pull you aside and count the money (a “secondary examination”), or present you with form 6059B to read and sign (sometimes they prepare the form with your verbal report and present it only for signature).

The form 6059B contains a detailed statement about when money must be reported to customs, and how. It also explains the penalty for not reporting money to CBP. If you fill out the form inaccurately and sign it, you’ve just broken the law and your money is now subject to seizure by CBP.

If you’ve ever had money seized by CBP, you know that the process is tilted in the government’s favor. That’s Great Lakes Customs Law is here — to help you get your money back for you. In any event, here is an excerpt from the story from CBP in Virgina:

A man was boarding a flight to Ghana and was selected for questioning by CBP officers who were conducting an outbound enforcement operation on the international flight.  The man completed a financial form, reporting $8,500 however; a total of $38,872 was discovered on his person.  CBP officers seized the $38,872 and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.

Did you have money seized by CBP?

If you had money seized by CBP, 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.