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.

 

Renewed China Tariff/Section 301 Exclusions March 2022

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced reinstated product exclusions that are valid for entries liquidated from October 12, 2021 and will continue to be excluded through December 31, 2022.

The reinstated exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the product exclusion set out in the digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings and product descriptions in the Annex to the Federal Register notice, set to be published on March 28, 2022, but available at this link (see pages 3 through 26).

I expect that the USTR will make new opportunities for new exclusions requests to be filed in the lead-up to the November midterm elections.

We File Protests for Section 301 Duty Refunds

If you need to file protests to get refunds of Section 301 duties, Great Lakes Customs Law can help. We’ve filed protests thousands of entries over the years, and have been successful in getting our clients refunds for Section 301 duties through protest exclusions. We are happy to discuss your needs, the level of organization required to successfully obtain refunds, and provide some transparent pricing for our services. Please contact us to speak to Jason Wapiennik, customs attorney.

Cash Seized by El Paso Texas CBP

CBP Laredo Seizes $91K in Unreported Cash

CBP new’s releases have been lean on stories about money seizures for structuring, bulk cash smuggling, failure to report; the trinity of CMIR (currency and monetary instrument report) cases. These types of asset forfeitures all pertain to the movement of more than $10,000 in cash without filing the necessary FinCen 105 report.

For that reason, I am reaching back in time to some old news releases that I never had a chance to comment on before. In this Laredo story, a 30 year old man and 19 year old woman were heading to Mexico and failure to report $91,116, which was also concealed in their clothing and packages.

That sounds like both a violation of 31 USC 5316 (failure to report more than $10,000 currency) and 31 USC 5332 (bulk cash smuggling). In this case, the they were both arrested! That to me means there was further suspicion on the part of CBP that there was criminal activity beyond the CMIR violations afoot. Here’s the full story:

LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations seized over $91,000 in undeclared currency in a single enforcement act.

. . .

The enforcement action occurred on Thursday, March 25 at the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge, when officers assigned to outbound operations selected a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox traveling to Mexico for inspection. A 30-year-old male United States citizen driver and 19-year-old female passenger were referred for a secondary examination. Upon physical inspection of the drivers’ clothing, packages containing $91,116 in undeclared U.S currency were discovered.

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

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S., however, if the quantity is more than $10,000, they will need to report it to CBP.  . . . Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Has Laredo CBP seized your money?

Has Laredo 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.

$29,000 worth of cash displayed by CBP after seizure at Dulles airport

Dulles CBP Seize $29K in Cash from Congolese Man

CBP seizes about $342,000 each day, on average, at airports across the country and at our borders. In this story, CBP seized about $29,000 from a Congolese man who was arriving the United States. He was not criminally charged and although the story contains a cautionary tale at the ending about bulk cash smuggling, it does not say he was actually bulk cash smuggling.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $29,900 in unreported currency from a man who arrived on a flight from Ethiopia at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday.

CBP officers interviewed the Congolese national traveler and explained the U.S. currency reporting law to him. The traveler declared both verbally and in writing that he possessed $10,000. During an inspection, CBP officers discovered a total of $29,900 in the man’s possession.

CBP officers seized the currency for violating U.S. currency reporting laws, then released the man. CBP is not releasing the traveler’s name because he was not criminally charged.

“The consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, or potential criminal charges,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and Border Protection strongly encourages all travelers to be well informed of their role in CBP’s international arrivals inspection process at CBP’s Travel website.”

CBP officers have observed that smuggled bulk currency may be the proceeds of illicit activity, such as proceeds from the sales of dangerous drugs or revenue from financial crimes, and officers work hard to disrupt transnational criminal organizations by intercepting their currency smuggling attempts at our nation’s borders.

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.

Stacks of cash seized by CBP in Laredo

CBP Laredo Seizes $261K in Currency to Mexico

In two recent cases described in a news release below two individuals were arrested not filing a CMIR (FinCen 105 report) upon leaving the USA to Mexico.

The story is light on details — except, for some reason, what car the people were driving (for unknown reasons this is always so important at the Mexican border!).

There is no mention of bulk cash smuggling, though it seems likely the money was hidden and not reported. Even if they are criminally charged, both defendants would have the ability to get the money back provided they show the money has no nexus to illegal activity (legitimate source, legitimate use).

Here’s what CBP says recently happened at the nation’s southern border in Laredo, Texas, as described here:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations at the Juarez Lincoln Bridge, seized over $261,000 in two separate, unrelated incidents.

The first enforcement action occurred on Jan. 24, when officers assigned to outbound operations selected a 2009 Kia Sorento traveling to Mexico for inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 53-year-old female United States citizen. Upon physical inspection of the subject’s personal belongings, packages containing $65,560 in undeclared currency were discovered.

The second enforcement action occurred on Jan. 29, when officers intercepted a 2006 Ford F-150 traveling to Mexico and selected it for inspection. The vehicle was driven by a 34-year-old male Mexican citizen. Upon physical inspection of the subject’s vehicle, packages containing $195,731 in undeclared currency were discovered.

The seizures combined totaled $261,291.

The currency and vehicles were seized by CBP. Both drivers were arrested, and the cases were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Has Laredo CBP seized your money?

Has Laredo 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.