Money seized by Customs in Dulles laid out on a table

Customs in Dulles Seizes $33k for Failure to File FinCen 105

Customs at Dulles airport has seized $33,000 from a person traveling to Egypt because that person failed to report all the money he was leaving the country with. Instead of reporting the full $33,000, he only reported $20,000 verbally (instead of properly reporting it in writing and/or online on a FinCEN 105 form before he was ever asked).

That is, at best, an attempted failure to report (because he had to be asked for the report) and an under-report/mis-report, so a clear violation of 31 USC 5316.

Here’s the story:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers continue to seize unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport, after officers seized $33,000 from an Egypt-bound traveler on Tuesday

The traveler, a U.S. citizen male who CBP is not identifying because he was not criminally charged, verbally reported to officers that he possessed $20,000 and completed a U.S. Treasury Department form for his reported amount. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $33,868. Officers seized the currency and released the traveler.

Last month, CBP announced the seizure of $227,539 in unreported currency from four groups of travelers.

There is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments travelers may bring to or take out of the United States. However, federal law [31 USC 5316] requires travelers to report all currency of $10,000 or greater to a CBP officer and complete U.S. Treasury Department Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments [FINCEN 105].

CBP offers advice to travelers who may consider violating federal currency reporting laws.

“The most important lesson international travelers can take from these seizures is to truthfully report all currency in their possession to Customs and Border Protection officers when they arrive to or leave the United States. It is less painful to complete a simple form than it is to surrender all their currency for violating U.S. currency reporting laws,” said Kim Der-Yeghiayan, Acting CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Dulles CBP Seizes $227K from 4 Travelers

The DC Metro area has a large community of African ex-pats, which means that the DC Metro area and specifically, Dulles airport, has a lot of cash moving into and out of the country from and to Africa.

The story quoted below from CBP pertains to 4 recent cash seizures, 3 of which involve Africa. First, more than $100,000 from a couple traveling to Lagos, Nigeria. Customs seized all the cash after the couple only reported less than $20,000. From the looks of it (the money was in differing envelopes), they were probably carrying cash back for others.

Second, someone traveling to Ethiopia had $13,000+ seized by CBP after reporting only $2,700 at the Dulles airport.
Third, a man traveling to Ghana with $82,560 had all of his money seized by airport CBP, with no further details provided.
Finally, a father and daughter couple had about $30,000 seized by CBP on their way to Doha, Qatar.
As I’ve said as I’ve said in my commentary on previous seizures from CBP in Dulles Airport, it is one of the more stringent and more difficult places to get seized money back from. The the evidence that needs to be supplied to satisfy them that the seized currency came from a legitimate source and legitimate intended use must be thorough and meticulously presented.
Here’s the story:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than $227,000 from travelers departing Washington Dulles International Airport to Africa during the last 30 days for violating U.S. currency reporting laws.

The most recent seizure was the largest as CBP officers seized $101,825 from a U.S. citizen couple destined to Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday. The couple verbally declared $19,600 and completed a U.S. Treasury Department FINCEN 105 form reporting that amount. A subsequent baggage search revealed additional envelopes of currency. Officers seized all the currency and released the travelers.

Also on Saturday, CBP officers seized $13,332 in unreported currency from a U.S. lawful permanent resident who was destined to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The resident, a Togo national, reported that he possessed $2,700. Officers discovered the additional currency during a baggage examination.

On October 1, CBP officers seized $82,560 in unreported currency from a U.S. traveler who attempted to board a flight to Accra, Ghana, and on September 17, CBP officers seized $29,822 in unreported currency from a U.S. father and daughter who were boarding a flight to Doha, Qatar. A CBP currency detector dog alerted to the bulk currency in these two seizures.

The total amount of unreported currency seized was $227,539.

CBP is not releasing any of the travelers’ names because none were criminally charged.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

CBP Detroit Seizes $1 Million Cash at Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron

There was a huge cash seizure at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Michigan with Sarnia, Ontario, which is all part of the Detroit Field Office of CBP.

The story is interesting, of course, not only because it involves more than $1 million in cash but for some other details given.

First, he left the United States and was turned back when trying to enter Canada. This means he violated 31 USC 5316 when he left the country without reporting the money.

If Canada had let him enter at this point, CBP would have never found out (unless CBSA found out, and then reported back to CBP).

But things didn’t work out like that. He was refused entry into Canada and sent back through US Customs.

And that’s when the trouble started. CBP probably had a heightened level of suspicion after his refusal from Canada, and so they asked him some questions; one of them was, “Do you have any currency or monetary instruments to declare?”

He said he did not. It is alleged, then, the officer gave him a chance to amend his declaration. So he then declared $990,000. Even if this report was accurate (which it turns out it wasn’t), the initial violation already occurred when he left the country without reporting it.

At this point, of course, CBP steps in and starts counting the money to see if his report is accurate and, also no doubt, is interested to know why the man is traveling with so much cash (it’s not illegal in-and-of itself, but it’s certainly unusual).

Here’s the story:

PORT HURON, Mich.— On August 22, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Blue Water Bridge seized over $1 million in currency from a U.S. citizen after he failed to report the funds to CBP officers.CBP counting cash after seizureThe male traveler and his family arrived in Port Huron after being refused entry into Canada. He initially denied carrying more than $10,000 to officials. Officers gave the traveler a chance to amend his declaration, which he modified to $990,000. Further inspection by CBP officers led to the discovery of two safes containing $1,096,584.

“There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export as long as it is accurately declared to CBP,” said acting Port Director Geoffrey Stoffel.

Currency reporting rules require travelers to declare when they transport more than $10,000 in monetary instruments when travelling into or outside of the United States. Violators may face criminal penalties and forfeiture of the undisclosed funds.

In Detroit and Port Huron, I can typically resolve a cash seizure case in about 90 days from the date of seizure to the date of the return of (most of) the funds.

However, there are special rules for property that is worth more than $500,000. 19 USC 1610 says that if it’s worth more than $500,000, the money must be judicially forfeited. However, CAFRA still is going to apply and as such, a notice of seizure should be issued within the typical 60 day (but in certain cases, no later than 90 day) time-frame.

Even if the parties choose a petition, the case is going to be decided by CBP officials and Treasury Department officials. CBP policy says anything valued at more than $100,000 gets taken out of the hands of the local port-level officials (here, Detroit FP&FO) and instead goes to the Office of Regulations & Rulings at CBP HQ in Washington, DC.

The penalty, for a simple “failure to report” or inaccurate report, would be somewhere north of $50,000. If it’s considered bulk cash smuggling, which seems like a likely allegation in this case (given that he first passed through CBP without reporting it upon exiting the country), then the penalty can be 50% of the total amount seized.

The bottom line is, all the procedural options, complications, and safeguards surrounding seizures valued at more than $500,000, means this case is going to take more than the typical 90 days to resolve.

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Detroit seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

CBP Seizes $95K in Cash at Dulles Airport

Dulles CBP officers made a few large money seizures for failure to file a FinCen 105 form, which it touted last week in a news release, available to read in full here. However, I’m an attorney here blog about the highlights. First, however, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are two-thousand words:

Bulk cash seized by CBP in Dulles airportA table full of cash seized by CBP DullesHere’s the money seizure story to back up the picture:

Three groups of travelers recently learned [holding onto one’s money is imperative] after CBP officers seized a combined $95,397 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Two groups of travelers were attempting to board departing international flights when CBP officers encountered them. A Lebanon-bound couple surrendered $29,052 to CBP officers on July 21, and a Nepal-bound family surrendered $32,001 to CBP officers on July 26. On July 31, a South Korean family surrendered $34,344 to CBP officers after arriving on a flight from South Korea.

In each case, CBP officers discovered more currency during baggage examinations than what the travelers reported to CBP officers. CBP officers seized their currency and released all travelers to continue their trips.

The story has interesting use of the word “surrender.” As if they had a choice! Unless, of course, CBP means they “abandoned” the currency. That’s a terrifying reality we’ve made a video about (here).

Also, releasing “all travelers to continue their trips” does not mean they did were able to make their flight (highly doubtful!) or did not have any re-booking and hotel fees. The seizure of money by CBP has add-on effects; the interrogation, counting, and seizure procedures are time-consuming and so typically, you miss the flight (and so maybe your bags, if they’ve already been loaded); you are responsible to re-book on another flight; and if the next flight isn’t for a day or more, you’ve got to sleep in a hotel.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Display of cash seized by Dulles CBP going to Ethiopia

Dulles CBP Seizes $27K in Cash from Ethiopia-bound Family

CBP made a press release about a recent cash seizure which, to my mind, makes them look pretty bad because I often hear the emotional side of customs money seizure cases from the violators (who yeah, are also victims).

It is sad because it’s a family of 5 traveling to Ethiopia. Although they had $27,330 with them, the government seized all but $830. Imagine getting around in a cash-based economy on $830.

Also imagine having to pay re-booking fees, hotel and transportation costs for 5 people. 😢💸

The details are below, but basically, the father reported having $8,000. Then the son reported he had $8,000 (structuring, anyone?). Then CBP found another $11,000 in their bags.

Tragic, yes. Avoidable, very much yes. CBP wants you to know – report the money truthfully, and you can avoid such tragedies! Unfortunately now, the family is going to have much more work to do than just filling out a FinCen 105 form when they try to get their money back from CBP Dulles. A lot more work, and a lot more time.

Do it the easy way. Report your cash before you get asked!

STERLING, Va. – With airline staffing shortages forcing flight cancellations and route reductions, it seems now would be an ideal time for international travelers to truthfully report all of their currency to Customs and Border Protection officers during an outbound inspection.

One Ethiopia-bound family learned that lesson the hard way after CBP officers seized $27,330 from them on Sunday at Washington Dulles International Airport for violating U.S. currency reporting requirements. The family also missed their once daily flight to Ethiopia and lost a day of their vacation trip.

Officers approached the family of five at the departure gate and asked how much currency they possessed. The father, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ethiopia, verbally reported that he had about $8,000. Officers then reminded the travelers of federal currency reporting laws and asked the father to annotate the back of the CBP form describing the currency reporting law. As the father prepared to write their currency amount and sign, the eldest son reported that he also possessed about $8,000.

The father then completed a U.S. Treasury form for the total amount of currency. During a subsequent inspection of their carry-on bags, CBP officers discovered an additional $11,000.

CBP officers then escorted the family back to CBP’s inspection station and examined their checked baggage. Officers found no additional currency. Officers discovered and seized a total of $27,330 for violating U.S. currency reporting laws. Officers returned $830 to the family and released them to continue their trip. However, their flight had already departed and they had to be rebooked on another Ethiopian Airlines flight.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Hundred Dollar Bills Stacked of Cash Seized by CBP Texas

CBP Officers Seize over $100K in Undeclared Currency at Hidalgo International Bridge

Earlier this year, CBP seized a shocking amount of money was seized heading into Mexico from the United States by a 26 year old female U.S. citizen. The money was all found “on her person,” which is a way of saying that the money was more than just “undeclared” but rather, was smuggled. The cash was seized and the woman was arrested. Here’s the relevant part of the story (original here):

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $114,294 in undeclared currency.

On April 24, 2022, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a blue Ford SUV making its way out of the United States toward Mexico. The vehicle was a taxi occupied by a 26-year-old U.S. citizen woman. The vehicle was selected for inspection and at the secondary inspection area, officers discovered numerous packages of tape wrapped U.S. currency on the woman’s person. A total of twelve packages with a total of $114,294 of undeclared currency was discovered on her person.

The currency was seized by CBP. The subject was arrested, and the case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

The fact the woman was arrested is a pretty good indication that CBP believed the money was connected to illegal activity beyond the simple failure to report and smuggling; that it was derived from or intended to further some illegal enterprise, such as narcotic trafficking.

Have you had cash seized by CBP?

If you’ve had cash seized CBP in Hidalgo, 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.

Stacks of US Currency lined up on a long table in front of a CBP sign

Dulles CBP Seizes $46K in Cash from Ghana and Egypt bound travellers

 

CBP cash seizures in Dulles are on the rise with increased international travel. In this story, Dulles airport CBP officers seized $20,404 from a man traveling to Ghana and a couple traveling to Egypt with $26,043.

The man traveling to Ghana made an inaccurate report, but he still reported more than $10,000. But, his mistake was 1) his report was not accurate and 2) he did not report the money until he was asked. You need to file the FinCen 105 currency and monetary instrument report (CMIR) before you are asked to do so, otherwise it is obvious you had the intention of not reporting it until you were asked, and so, at minimum, would be responsible for an attempted violation of 31 USC 5316, failure to report cash.

The couple traveling from Dulles airport to Egypt that had their cash seized by CBP are in a tougher situation though. In their case, some of their money was “concealed inside a suitcase liner.” This allows CBP to claim the money was hidden with the intent it would not be found by Customs, which is the classic definition of bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling leads to higher penalties, and a higher rate of forfeiture (permanent loss of all or part of the money).

The story follows below….

STERLING, Va. – The best way for travelers to keep their currency when traveling is to truthfully report all of it to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during inspection. CBP has repeated that advice for years, yet officers still encounter travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport who ignore that simple advice.

For example, CBP officers at Dulles airport recently seized more than $46,000 combined during two separate currency seizures from travelers departing the United States.

In the most recent case on Sunday, CBP officers inspected a U.S. citizen destined to Ghana. The man initially reported, both verbally and in writing, that he possessed $14,000. However, officers discovered a total of $19,904 in his carry-on bag, and an additional $500 in his backpack for a total of $20,404. Officers seized the currency, returned $404 to the man as humanitarian relief, and released him to continue his travel.

Earlier, on April 26, a CBP currency detector dog alerted to a couple’s carry-on bags and the couple, who were destined to Egypt, reported that they possessed $15,000. During an examination, CBP officers discovered additional currency in the woman’s purse and even more concealed inside a suitcase liner for a total of $26,043. CBP officers seized the currency, then returned $1,043 as a humanitarian relief and released the couple to continue their travel.

“We cannot make this point enough, travelers can carry all the currency they want to and from the United States, but U.S. federal law requires them to make a formal report on amounts of $10,000 or greater. It’s that simple,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “The consequences for violating US currency reporting laws are severe – from missing a flight and interrupting vacation plans, to seeing all their currency seized by a Customs and Border Protection officer, and to even facing criminal prosecution for bulk currency smuggling. It’s too easy to just be truthful.”

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

USTR Conducts 4-Year Review of China Tariffs (Section 301)

The USTR is conducting a 4 year review of the Section 301 action which added additional duties to goods originating from China, and they want to hear your comments if you want the tariffs continued (if you don’t want them continued, they will be a comment opportunity in the future). The following appeared in the Federal Register, detailing what is happening and what they are looking for in comments:

The first step in the four-year review process is notifying representatives of domestic industries which benefit from the trade actions, as modified, of the possible termination of the actions, and of the opportunity for these representatives to request continuation of the actions. Requests for continuation must be received in the 60-day window prior to the four-year anniversary of the respective action: Between May 7, 2022, and July 5, 2022, for the July 6, 2018 action, and between June 24, 2022, and August 22, 2022, for the August 23, 2018, action. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is opening dockets in these two time windows for representatives of domestic industries which benefit from the trade actions to request continuation of the corresponding trade actions, as
modified. If the actions continue as a result of one or more requests from representatives of domestic industries which benefit from the trade actions, USTR will proceed with the next phase of the review. The second phase of the review will be announced in one or more subsequent notices, and will provide opportunities for public comments from all interested parties.

The full release, including details and submission guidelines, is available from the Federal Register notice.

Want to discuss filing Section 301 comments?

If you want to discuss a Section 301 tariffs and commenting on their benefit or harm? Give us a call at 734-855-4999 or use the contact forms.

Jewelry seized by CBP for failure to declare

Failure to declare violations nets CBP Chicago $1.4 million

CBP in Chicago is touting the revenue increase for dutiable goods by collecting duties and penalties from traveler’s who fail to declare the goods when they arrive in the United States. Here’s the story:

Officers in secondary screening are charged with enforcing duties travelers must pay for the items they bring back to the U.S. A Custom’s Duty is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders.

Officers are also assessing mitigated penalties. These penalties are imposed when a passenger does not declare – or does not accurately declare – new items or merchandise coming into the U.S. This also includes penalties for zero-tolerance drug/narcotics seizures & penalties for low level currency seizures.

Since the beginning of this Fiscal Year, October 1, CBP has collected over $477,000 in duties and $698,431 in mitigated penalties from travelers arriving in Chicago.

“It is important for travelers to be truthful and claim the items they are bringing back,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Those that try to avoid paying a tax could be charged a penalty that is three to six times the taxable amount that would have been due.”

* * *

“Failure to declare is covered by 19 USC 1497.  Violations can incur serious penalties,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago.  “I always encourage travelers to simply declare all of their items acquired overseas when returning to the U.S.  Otherwise, it can result in the seizure of the items(s) and significant penalties.”

Has CBP Chicago seized your property or given you a penalty for a failure to declare?

A failure to declare is serious, and can get seriously expensive. To get the best possible outcome, you will need to properly determine the duties owed (which involves classifying the products on the tariff schedule [HTSUS] properly) and also argue all the factors in your favor which warrant mitigation, and explain away any aggravating factors that are present that could lead you to a higher penalty.

If the person fails to pay the penalty, the government may bring a lawsuit against them in federal district court to recover the penalty in the form of a judgment, after which point the government can lien property, garnish bank accounts, and seize property.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely. You should contact us today to help you file a petition for mitigation, to get your seized merchandise back and to reduce the penalty for failure to declare to the lowest amount possible. If you’ve already paid duties and penalty, contact us for an evaluation of your case to see if we can get some of your money refunded.

 

YouTube Logo

Electronic FinCen105 From CBP

In the past few years, CBP has made it possible to file a FinCEN 105 form online at this website. Common sense would tell you if you file the report that you’re carrying more than $10,000 in cash (or monetary instruments) online, you can avoid having to go through the hassle of reporting the money in person.

That’s common sense, anyway. So much for that, because you’d be 100% wrong. If you file the report online, you still have to physically report to CBP as confirmation! For this reason, I did a new YouTube video on the topic:

You can also see my other YouTube videos on related cash seizure topics on our channel here: Great Lakes Customs Law YouTube Channel

Has CBP seized your money?

Has CBP seized your money? If so, we can help. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.