$25K Currency Seizure at Philadelphia International Airport

This is the second such story from Philadephia about Russian’s and the Philadelphia airport, the first one I commented on here. CBP releases this news with my emphasis in bold:

Philadelphia – Failing to truthfully declare items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists at Philadelphia International Airport proved to be expensive lessons for several travelers during a busy weekend.

CBP officers seized $25,720 from a Russian citizen Friday, and assessed a mitigated $1,000 penalty to a U.S. citizen Sunday who each violated federal currency reporting requirements, [ . . . . ]

“The events of this weekend represent just a simple snapshot into what U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees do at our nation’s 330 ports of entry every day to ensure respect for established U.S. laws, and to protect our citizens, our economy and our nation,” said Paul Nardella, acting CBP port director for the area port of Philadelphia. “The one thing that we ask is for travelers be honest with us and truthfully declare what they are bringing to the U.S.”

The Russian man first reported that he possessed $9,000 during a routine inspection Friday. He then amended that amount to $19,000 after CBP officers advised him that currency reporting requirement also covered personal and travelers checks. CBP officers then discovered a total of $27,448 during a baggage examination. The currency consisted of $17,220 in U.S. dollars, $250 in Australian dollars (equivalent to $228 USD) and a $10,000 personal check. CBP officers seized $15,720 in U.S. dollars and the check, and released the remainder to the traveler for humanitarian purposes. Officers also advised the traveler the process for petitioning for his currency, and then released him to continue his visit.

CBP officers assessed the mitigated $1,000 penalty Sunday after they discovered $17,579.43 in U.S. dollars and equivalent foreign currency during a baggage inspection. The U.S. man initially reported $4,000 in U.S. dollars and $4000 in Euros.

There is no limit to how much currency that travelers can bring into, or take out of the United States. However, travelers are required to report amounts of $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments.

[ . . . ]

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.


Do not decide how to respond to a CAFRA Notice without first consulting an attorney. Any mistake or error in judgment you make can cost you dearly. The Petition process is a legal process. The petition itself is and should always be a legal document, no different than in any other legal proceeding, that contains detailed factual narrative, what led to the seizure, a review of the relevant law, regulations and Custom’s own guidelines concerning the criteria for remission. When the facts allow for it, our Petition will always include a strong argument for return of the money in full, or even when there is a valid basis for the currency seizure, a strong argument for the money to be returned upon payment of a fine in the smallest amount of money possible, rather than forfeiture of all your money.


If you have had currency seized and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information I make available on this website or call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with currency seizures around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Read about responding to a customs currency seizure.