Tag: failure to report cash to customs

$211k Cash Seized by CBP laid out on a table in stacks

$211k Cash Seized by Nogales CBP

CBP has been busy seizing cash across the country, and that is the reason my customs law blogging activity has slowed down in recent weeks. For the many readers of this blog who like these posts, I apologize. I’ll be trying to return to more frequent blogging in the next week or so.

It seems CBP has also been too busy to make many news releases about the seizure activity, too. But, today, we have word of a pretty huge seizure of $211,000 in cash being seized from a Mexican national while leaving the United States.

From the story below, it was more than just a seizure for a failure to report — but also for bulk cash smuggling. Here is the story, with scant details, but with a picture:

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa crossing in Nogales, Arizona, arrested a Mexican national Friday for attempting to transport almost $211,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 45-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, for an inspection of his Chevrolet truck and found the currency in the vehicle’s dashboard.

Officers seized the vehicle and currency, and turned the subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

 

Money hidden in a traveler's bag that was not reported is photographed by CBP after seizure.

CBP Seizes $86,000 Smuggled in Houston

CBP announced the seizure of around $86,000 in cash from a man in Houston. The seizure took place on December 7, and, sounds like a very unfortunate incident for the man whose cash was seized. In this case, he is a Peruvian national and it sounds like he was only in the United States for a layover on his trip from Japan.

While at the Bush Intercontinental Airport, he went through Customs (presumably to do some more duty-free shopping) when he was taken for a secondary inspection to pay taxes on some cigarettes. For whatever reason, CBP supposedly explained the currency reporting requirement to him and he declared only $4,000.

Apparently, he had keys to some other luggage on his person. CBP located the luggage that those keys belonged to and inspected it, and lo and behold, discovered $86,000 hidden within 8 packages of photo paper. A picture of that concealment is included. Here’s the story:

HOUSTON— U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) seized over $86,000 from a traveler en route to Peru.

A Peruvian national, arriving from Japan, was referred to secondary for duty collection on cigarettes.  CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements and the traveler declared $4,000, Dec. 7.

A baggage exam revealed keys to additional luggage, which the traveler claimed were in Peru.  The luggage was located and inspected, at which time CBP officers discovered $100 bills lined within eight packages of photo paper totaling $80,000. An envelope containing over $2,400 was also discovered.  In total, CBP seized more than $86,000.

“Travelers have no limit to the amount of currency they can bring into or take out of the U.S.; however, they are required by U.S. law to report if they are carrying $10,000 or more,” said Port Director Charles Perez.  “When travelers refuse to comply with federal reporting requirements, they face the risk of having the currency seized and possible civil and or criminal penalties assessed.”

Now, the link provided by CBP is to their own Q&A about currency reporting requirements. Frankly, the advice given their is more or less accurate, except that the law requires a report of more than $10,000, not $10,000 or more. It’s a difference of a penny but that’s the law, so CBP gets it partially wrong.

No word on whether or not this traveler was arrested, but likely they would have mentioned that fact if it was the case with this bulk cash smuggling seizure — money concealed with the apparent intention to not file the currency report. Did this traveler have that intent? Hmm, a tough call — a great argument could be made that he did not!

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer's uniform, featuring the seal of the agency.

CBP Seizes $38k Bulk Cash in Texas

I’ve not had much time for blogging about customs law, as CBP enforcement seems to have increased lately. But, I did see this story come up about a seizure of money in…. suprise: Texas! Not Dulles this time.

The money seizure occurred at the Del Rio International Bridge. Just three days ago, Customs officers stopped and searched a Mexican woman driving her vehicles out of the United States. During the course of the inspection, CBP found that she had “several bundles of cash in her possession” that totaled $37,901.

Although the story does not explain how, or if, the money was hidden, it does say that she will be prosecuted for bulk cash smuggling. It’s odd that, most of the time these seizure stories form CBP in Texas explain how they money was hidden but only calls those violations a failure to report; in this case, it is not explained how the money was hidden, but is called bulk cash smuggling. It’s becoming my pet peeve.

On to the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Del Rio International Bridge recently seized more than $30,000 in U.S. currency from a woman leaving the United States bound for Mexico.

On Dec. 19, CBP officers, conducting outbound inspections at the Del Rio Port of Entry, encountered a 2010 SUV departing the United States for Mexico. During inspection, officers discovered the woman driving the SUV had several bundles of cash in her possession. Officers seized $37,901 in undeclared U.S. currency.The driver, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Mexico, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution for bulk cash smuggling – 31 USC § 5332.

“Seizing undeclared currency at ports of entry serves to deprive criminal organizations of their profits,” said Port Director Alberto D. Perez, Del Rio Port of Entry. “Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation.

“Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions.”

The CBP global entry line at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Detroit Metro Airport CBP Seize $59,451 Cash

Finally, a CBP cash seizure press release from my own home port of Detroit that happened at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is just a few miles down the road from our office. This one involves a U.S. citizen returning from China with his wife; together, the couple was found to be transporting more than $10,000 cash through Customs…. about $50,000 more, actually.

Here’s the full story from Detroit CBP:

DETROITOn November 28, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized $59,451 in U.S. currency from a United States citizen after he failed to report the currency to CBP officers. The traveler is a member of the Global Entry trusted traveler program.

The male traveler and his wife arrived in Detroit on a flight from Beijing, China. He initially denied carrying $10,000 or more in U.S. currency or its equivalent in foreign currency. CBP Officers questioned the traveler as he and his wife attempted to exit the federal inspection area separately 13 minutes apart. Further inspection led to the discovery of $59,451 divided between the two.

“You must report to CBP that you are carrying $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency or other monetary instruments when you travel into or out of the United States, especially if you are a member of Global Entry.” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Detroit (Airport) Port Director. “There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export. However, the law requires travelers to report when they carry at least $10,000 in monetary instruments.  Violators may face criminal prosecution and forfeiture of the undisclosed funds.”

As you can see, this story involves both a failure to report cash to customs and unlawful cash structuring. As we’ve explained time and time again at this customs law blog, cash will be seized by Detroit CBP if it is divided between a husband and wife (or other family members) traveling together and CBP has cause to believe it was done for the purpose of avoiding filing the currency report on form FinCen 105.

Had cash seized at Detroit Metro Airport by CBP?

If you’re like the people in this story and have suffered a cash seizure by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at Detroit Metro Airport, you’re in need of a lawyer to help you get your money back and potentially avoid criminal prosecution or inquiry. Every case is different and nuances, exceptions and interpretations are almost always present making each case unique and challenging. Many people need help even understanding the election of proceedings form that is included with the notice of seizure.

Please make use of our customs currency seizure legal guide, but remember to also take advantage of our free currency seizure consultation by contacting us today by clicking on the contact button!

Violation of Federal Currency Reporting Regulations at BWI

Baltimore Washington International Airport, to the best of my knowledge, does not have a high rate of enforcement in cash seizures by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. But, every once in a while the port touts their enforcement efforts in connection with this important area of law – the federal currency reporting regulations.

What follow is such a story, from a couple traveling to Nigeria with almost $35,000 in cash. According to the story, the couple violated “federal currency reporting regulations” which can mean they broke any number of laws such as a failure to report cash to customs, bulk cash smuggling, or unlawful structuring.

It is likely that this is a cash structuring offense because it involves a couple. For example, the husband could have given the wife $10,000 to carry that he (incorrectly) believed she would not have to report because it was not “more than” $10,000.

If he did that, however, this would be unlawful structuring and, by the very commission of unlawful structuring, also a failure to report.

BALTIMORE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport seized $34,030 Saturday from a Nigerian couple for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The two travelers, who arrived on a flight from the United Kingdom reported carrying $8,000 to CBP officers however; multiple envelopes of currency totaling $34,030 were discovered in their bags. CBP officers seized the $34,030 returning $1,030 for humanitarian release and advised them how to petition for the return of the rest of the currency.

Have you violated the federal currency reporting regulations?

If you violated the federal currency reporting regulations, 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 pile of $20 bills on a table.

CBP Seizes Structured Cash at Dulles

CBP Dulles seized over $23,000 that was unlawfully structured and not reported. Below, the story from CBP, explains that the a man was leaving the United States for South Africa and reported only $9,000, when he really had more than $13,000. This is the second recent story about a cash seizure at Dulles for from someone traveling to South Africa.

To make matters worse, CBP discovered that he was traveling with his sister, who was carrying another $10,000 for her brother. At Dulles airport, a structuring offense means a hefty penalty even if legitimate source and intended use of the documentation is presented.

Here are the interesting parts of the story, as told from the perspective of CBP Dulles:

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized over $23,000 from a South Africa-bound traveler on Thursday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

During an outbound inspection, a CBP currency detection canine alerted to the carryon bags of a U.S. citizen.  The man, both verbally and in writing, declared to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000; however, $13,267 was discovered in his bags and on his person.  During the course of the inspection it was determined that he was traveling with his sister, a Ghanaian citizen.  An additional $10,000 in unreported currency was found in her bags which the man stated belonged to him.  The officers seized the $23,267, returned $667 to the man for humanitarian relief, and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.  The travelers were then released to continue their journey.

Did you structure cash seized by CBP?

If you structured cash that was seized by CBP, 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.

 

Nearly $60,000 sealed in two clear plastic bags in bundles laying on a table that was confiscated by CBP

CBP Confiscates $57,691 in Cash at Veterans International Bridge

CBP seized almost $60,000 in currency from a two Mexican citizens leaving the United States last Wednesday at the Veteran’s International Bridge. The story from CBP says tells me this was in fact not a failure to report cash, but typical bulk cash smuggling:

The seizure took place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, when CBP officers working outbound inspections at the Veterans International Bridge came in contact with a bronze 2003 Chevy Trail Blazer as it attempted to exit the United States into Mexico. The driver, a 52-year-old female Mexican citizen from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and a passenger, a 35-year-old male Mexican citizen also from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, were selected for a routine inspection and were referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, with the aid of a K9 unit, CBP officers discovered two packages containing a total of $57,691 in bulk, unreported U.S. currency hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency along with the vehicle, arrested the driver and passenger and turned them over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Have you had cash confiscated by CBP?

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

Dulles Airport CBP Took Cash from Husband and Wife

Cash Taken by CBP From Travelers at Dulles

If you’re visiting the United States or leaving the United States and have more than $10,000 cash or equivalents, you must report it to CBP or risk having it seized for failing to report it (or worse yet, risk fines and jail time). A case in point comes to us from CBP at Dulles Airport from “from two South Africa-bound U.S. citizens on [September 22] for violating federal currency reporting violations“:

During an outbound inspection, the man and wife declared, both verbally and in writing, to CBP officers that they possessed $17,500; however, CBP officers discovered a total of $27,378 on their person and in their luggage.  The officers seized the $27,378 and advised them how to petition for the return of the currency. The travelers were then released to continue their journey.

So after the cash was taken, the couple was detained, questioned, and the cash counted, they were released to continue their journey.

What is a CBP detention like after cash is taken?

Typically after cash is taken by CBP, the seizure and detention takes long enough that the traveler’s cannot continue on their journey until the book a new flight (and pay re-booking fees). If husband and wife are traveling together, most of my husband-and-wife clients report that they are separated from each other and independently interrogated about the source of the cash and their intended destination, and what they intended to use the money for.

This interrogation can be done by a CBP officer or by a Homeland Security agent, depending on the situation. Customs’ is required to report the currency report violation to the U.S. Attorney’s office who is charged with determining whether or not they wish to press criminal charges, and thus determine if the violators should be arrested.

The encounters with CBP range from polite and apologetic to demeaning, rude, and aggressive; and everything else in between.

Did CBP take your cash?

If CBP took your cash, 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 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

CBP Seizes $12K at Baltimore Washington International Airport

CBP issued a news release about the seizure of little more than $12,000 from a woman traveling from a woman traveling from the UK to the USA who did not report the currency at Baltimore Washington International Airport.

Is it a big deal? Yes, any violation of the law is a big deal and carries with a potential for criminal prosecution, heavy fines, jail time, forfeiture (loss) of the money, along with shame, embarrassment, and everything else.

But is such a big deal that should make headlines? I don’t think so. These kind of cash seizures happen all the time all around the country at airports and land border crossings between the United States and Canada. There’s a lot more noteworthy seizures and even more noteworthy cash seizures that CBP could make public, but does not. Why? I have no idea.

The only purpose I see in reporting a relatively small violation of the reporting requirement — where the violator was not criminally charged and was even advised to file a petition — is that it serves some public good in making it known to others that they need to report cash if carrying more than $10,000 into or out of the United States.

Without further ado, here is the meat of the story from CBP:

BALTIMORE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport seized $12,322 Tuesday from a Nigerian woman for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

A woman, who arrived on a flight from the United Kingdom reported carrying $9,000 to CBP officers however; multiple envelopes of currency totaling $12,322 was discovered in her luggage. CBP officers seized the $12,322 returning $322 for humanitarian release and advised her how to petition for the return of the currency.

Have you had cash seized from CBP at Baltimore Washington International Airport?

If CBP at Baltimore Washington International Airport 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.

CBP checkpoint at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel border crossing, with vehicles in the foreground.

Detroit & Chicago Cash Forfeiture Notices

There have not been any CBP news releases recently about cash seizures conducted by U.S. Customs & Border Protection, but that does not mean CBP has stopped seizing cash. Far from it, in fact. For example, there are only a couple (if that) of cash seizure news releases from the Port of Detroit each year, yet last year they were #2 in cash seizures nationwide.

Once cash is seized by CBP, a person has several options to try to get it back (or to not get it back), most of which are on the election of proceedings form. If they aren’t successful, don’t try to get the money back, or file a claim, the publication of the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit is published online for all the world to see and, if interested, to make a claim for the seized cash.

Case in point, on November 20, 2015, at the land border crossing between Detroit and Canada $14,000 cash was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection for a failure to report. Because the seizure occurred last November and is only now being published, it is very likely that the administrative resolution was unsuccessful.

That usually means a bad lawyer, no lawyer, or insufficient documentation showing legitimate source and use of the seized cash.

DETROIT, MI
2016380100013401-001-0000, Seized on 11/20/2015; At the port of DETROIT, MI; $14000 IN USD; 140; EA; Valued at $14,000.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A)

Now even though Detroit has more CBP cash seizures than Chicago for violating the reporting requirements, Chicago CBP seizes a lot of cash seizures for alleged criminal violations, including money laundering:

CHICAGO, IL
2016390100098701-001-0000, Seized on 08/11/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 1,344; EA; Valued at $31,000.00; For violation of 18USC981, 18USC1956, 21USC881

2016390100098901-001-0000, Seized on 08/10/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 176; EA;Valued at $4,000.00; For violation of 18USC981, 18USC1956, 21USC881

Now, I would love to know if these were seized from people traveling internationally, or just people traveling within the United States. If seized while traveling internationally, because there is no cited violation of the reporting requirement (or bulk cash smuggling or structuring laws), I would imagine either the money was truly reported but Customs suspected (or knew of…) a connection to illegal activity; or, the connection to illegal activity was so strong they chose not to allege a violation of the reporting requirements laws under Title 31.

Has Chicago or Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Chicago or Detroit 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. Our new, Chicago customs law office is located at 150 S. Wacker Drive, where we can be reached at (773) 920-1840.