Category: customs cash seizure

A picture of nearly $150,000 in cash seized by CBP laid out on a table

Timid Smuggler Has Cash Seized by CBP

Here is another story about cash seized by CBP. In this case, the amount seized is almost $150,000. CBP made the seizure after a timid smuggler began acting suspicious.

Noting the suspicious behavior of not crossing the border but retreating to a nearby parking lot, CBP sent HSI agents pursued the vehicle and escorted it back to the border where an examination found vacuum sealed packages containing the cash. Of course, the cash was seized by CBP. Most likely under the bulk cash smuggling law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Presidio port of entry seized $138,209 Wednesday afternoon. The money was discovered hidden in the dash area of a pick-up truck.

At approximately 12 p.m. CBP officers were conducting a southbound inspection operation at the Presidio crossing when a 2004 Ford F-150 pick-up driven by a male was observed approaching the southbound inspection area. The vehicle stopped, immediately turned around and pulled into a parking lot in front of the inspection area. After a few minutes the vehicle pulled out of the parking lot driving away from the port of entry. Homeland security investigation agents were immediately notified. The agents intercepted the vehicle at a local convenience store parking lot. The vehicle was escorted back to the port where an intensive inspection resulted in the discovery of six vacuum sealed packages containing U.S. currency.

CBP officers seized the money and vehicle and turned the driver [ . . . ] over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI special agents in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

Have you had cash seized by CBP?

If you’ve had cash seized by CBP 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 Counterfeit $100 Bills that was part of the cash seizure at Detroit Metro Airport

$4.65M Counterfeit Cash Seizure At Detroit Metro Airport

On February 12, there was an unusual cash seizure at Detroit Metro Airport. U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) seized over $4.6 million dollars in “Hell money” — counterfeit currency burned in Asian funeral rituals to impart wealth the deceased in the afterlife — from a couple arriving from Seoul, South Korea.

This is definitely an interesting story. And from the buzz I see on social media, the couple will not face (or at least has not faced) criminal prosecution. The law on use and possession of counterfeit currency is found in 18 USC Title 25, and it appears that the government was not satisfied the couple had intent to use the money (as if it were lawful tender) so as to charge them with a crime.

In fact, I’m not sure this qualifies as a “cash seizure” because the story only says that the Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations “took custody” of it. I’m not sure what that means, if not seizure. But the legal question that I am curious about is, if there is no crime under Title 18 (and assuming no other crimes), what is the basis for seizure?

There must be one, and I’m sure the notice of seizure will be rife with citations if, in fact, this actually is a cash seizure. I don’t have the time to get into that issue now.

In any event, here’s the story of this cash seizure at Detroit metro airport:

DETROIT– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport announces, today, the seizure of $4,650,000 in Hell money printed to resemble U.S. and Vietnamese currency.

Hell money is printed on joss paper and resembles legal tender bank notes but is not legal tender or recognized currency; instead, Hell money is presented as burnt offerings to the deceased. This custom is often practiced in certain Asian cultures.

“Attempting to import any amount of counterfeit currency, regardless of the intended purpose, can have serious implications for arriving travelers,” said CBP Port Director Devin Chamberlain.  “Quality law enforcement work and solid attention to detail resulted in this seizure, and I am proud of the officers involved.”

The seizure occurred Feb. 12 after CBP officers encountered the couple who were arriving from Seoul, Korea.  Each person made conflicting statements about the amount of currency they were carrying. CBP officers referred the couple for a baggage examination.  A search of their luggage resulted in the discovery of 93 bundles of counterfeit U.S. $100 bills and 32 bundles of counterfeit Vietnamese Dong, the national currency of Vietnam.  The couple said the counterfeit currency was to be used as burnt offerings to the deceased.

CBP reminds international travelers that the manufacturing of, or importation of counterfeit Federal Reserve notes could result in federal charges.

Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service took custody of the fake currency.

Agents are reminding all travelers that the manufacturing of, and/or importation of counterfeit bank notes could result in federal charges.

 

Have you had a cash seizure at Detroit Metro airport?

If you’ve had a cash seizure at Detroit Metro airport by CBP 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.

Port of Buffalo, N.Y. border crossing check point where cbp seized cash for currency reporting violations.

Buffalo CBP Seized Cash for Currency Reporting Violations in 2015

Last year, we reported that CBP at the port of Buffalo “seized $267,323 in a total of 22 currency seizures”.  This year, CBP makes a similar report this year which shows that CBP seized cash for currency reporting violations and the total is nearly a half-million dollars.

What’s the take away? Never make a failure to report cash to CBP Buffalo, never smuggle bulk cash, and never divide money to avoid the reporting requirement. Here’s excerpt from the Buffalo CBP story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees from the Buffalo Field Office, Office of Field Operations, had a successful fiscal year in 2015, which began October 1, 2014, and ended September 30, 2015. The Buffalo Field Office made over 380 narcotic seizures, over 400 arrests and seized more than $450,000 in unreported currency.

Last year there were 22 cash seizures in Buffalo, for an average cash seizure amount of just over $12,000. This year, there were 23 seizures and the average amount of seized cash by CBP in Buffalo was $19,579. That probably means that people were, on average, carrying more cash than in 2014.

The best way to hang on to your cash is to report it to Customs. When in doubt, report. Travelers make lots of unnecessary problem for themselves by attempting to get around the reporting requirement. Educate yourself before traveling with cash into or out of the United States and the chances of a cash seizure will be significantly lessened as long as you’re not an otherwise suspicious individual.

Has CBP seized cash for currency reporting violations from you?

If Buffalo CBP seized cash from 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.

 

X-ray technology was used by A truck passing through an X-ray machine used by CBP to seize hidden cash.

CBP Uses Tech to Seize Hidden Cash

Technology is used by CBP to seize hidden cash. In this case, the technology is an x-ray machine that can scan an entire container.

Sometimes a cash seizure by CBP is clearly connected to illegal activity, like when CBP seizes hidden cash in the body panels of a vehicle driven by a man with a criminal record going into Mexico. Other times customs seizes hidden cash from people who aren’t up to anything illegal (and who have never even got a traffic ticket).

Then there are other times when the intent, or the reason, someone fails to report cash or hides it is not clear. For me, one such time was a story we wrote about one year ago, when CBP seized $325,000 in hidden leaving Puerto Rico in a container, along with some personal effects.

The story below is kind of similar. It is scant on details, but nonetheless interesting. There is nothing stated about what else was inside the container other than half-million dollars seized for bulk cash smuggling, so it is a little different than last year’s story.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped an illegal exportation of currency when officers searched a cargo container intended to be shipped to the Dominican Republic on board the Caribbean Fantasy Ferry this past week.

Utilizing high-tech equipment, CBP officers examining outbound containers being loaded to the Caribbean Ferry selected some for further inspection.  During the additional inspection, officers discovered $518,980 USD, intended to be smuggled out of the United States. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to strengthening our borders.” said Keith McFarquhar, acting San Juan Area Port Director. “The currency seized is not only money lost by organizations that finance drug trafficking and other illegal activity.  It is currency that could also supply the weapons and the means for these organizations to disrupt governments and pose threats to our nation.”]

Has CBP seized hidden cash from you?

If CBP seized hidden cash from 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.

Texas CBP seized cash. A picture of 19 stacks of $20 and $100 bills part of the cash seized by CBP at Hidalgo International Bridge

Texas CBP Seized Cash at Hidalgo

Texas CBP seized cash from a man heading into Mexico in January, the amount of cash totaled about $300,000 cash and was seized by CBP at the Hidalgo International Bridge. The money appears to have

Texas CBP seized cash. A picture of 19 stacks of $20 and $100 bills part of the cash seized by CBP at Hidalgo International Bridge
Texas CBP seized cash at the Hidalgo International Bridge

been part concealed in the vehicle, which means it is potentially a bulk cash smuggling offense.

Texas CBP seized cash from him after they decided to give his vehicle a closer inspection — what is commonly called a “secondary examination.” Here is the story:

HIDALGO, Texas—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted $269,525 in unreported U.S. currency from a Donna, Texas man who was allegedly attempting to exit into Mexico.

“Working outbound operations at our international bridges allows us to detect export violations, which include failure to adhere to federal currency reporting requirements,” said Port Director Efrain Solis, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “Importing or exporting currency is a simple process, and a traveler can lawfully transport any amount of currency as long as these currency reporting requirements are followed.”

On Jan. 19, CBP officers assigned to outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a 33-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a white 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck attempting to exit into Mexico. Officers selected him and his vehicle for further inspection and during the secondary examination, officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency hidden within the pickup. CBP OFO removed and seized nine bundles containing a total of $269,525 in unreported U.S. currency.

Has Texas CBP seized cash from you?

If Texas CBP seized cash from 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.

 

CBP Money Seizure Techniques

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), among its many missions and responsibilities, tries to stop the flow of illegal goods and dirty cash flowing across the borders. In past articles, we wrote about how CBP money seizure techniques target people who might be transporting more than $10,000. Read our piece about Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizure.

But exactly how CBP chooses their targets is less well known. This television show Border Wars has an an episode on Youtube that shows some of the CBP money seizure techniques in use to identify certain people for inspection to verify the amount of cash they are carrying.

If more than $10,000 cash, or if the traveler’s story is suspicious, Customs can seize the cash.

Curiously, the narrator of this program says that for CBP to seize the money it must total more than $10,000. That’s not quite true, customs can also seize it if they feel it is connected to illegal activity under any number of criminal statutes.

In this case, however, the seizure was $65,000, so there was a failure to report (along with bulk cash smuggling) that resulted in seizure. To see the relevant parts, skip to 8:40, 18:30 and 25:00.

Have you been the victim of CBP money seizure techniques?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal guide toa customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.

$200k Money Seizure in Texas by CBP

There was a money seizure in Texas by CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection) of more than $200,000,

Over $200,000 in cash laid out for presentation on a wooden table as part of the money seizure in Texas by CBP.
CBP officers seized over $200,000 in cash in Eagle Pass, Texas

reported last week. The cash was hidden in the body panels of the vehicle, where it was found by officers when Texas CBP was conducting outbound money seizure inspections. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Most of our client’s are not criminally charged as seems to have happened here, but only face civil forfeiture for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring. In this case, even if the seized money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, it will probably all be forfeited because of the money was concealed. Even in cases where legitimate source and intended use are proven, the money can still be permanently lost because hiding the money from CBP so as to avoid reporting it is a serious crime.

Here’s the Texas CBP money seizure story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry seized a large amount of undeclared U.S. currency recently.

Shortly before 8 p.m., Jan. 22, CBP officers at Eagle Pass Bridge I inspected a southbound 2009 Pontiac G5 before it departed the United States bound for Mexico. Upon inspection, officers found several bundles of cash hidden in a body panel of the vehicle. Officers seized a total of $207,383.

The driver, a 37-year-old man from Humble, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution.

Had a money seizure in Texas by CBP?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Champlain, NY, border crossing with large stop sign where Customs and Border Protection seized money inspecting a vehicle.

Customs and Border Protection Seized Money in Champlain

Annually, ports across the country release news stories about the previous twelve months of enforcement activity. In Champlain, New York, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized money on 3 different occasions that made it into their “Top 10 Seizures and Arrests for 2015.”

Customs and Border Protection seized money in these three cases but we only previously reported on the $24,000 seized on an Amtrak train.

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations has compiled its top 10 seizures and arrests for 2015 at the Area Port of Champlain.  The list of seizures underscores the important role CBP officers play in protecting the country.

The following seizures represent the array of threats encountered at the Area Port of Champlain in both the commercial and passenger environments.  They further portray the efforts of CBP employees to prevent the import of illegal items and protect the commerce of the U.S.

  1. January 4, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $24,671

CBP officers inspecting passengers onboard the Amtrak train at Rouses Point, N.Y., encountered a female U.S. citizen who stated she was coming back from Cuba.  The subject had marked “no” to question 13 on Form 6059B (Customs Declaration) that she had filled out and signed, thus declaring that she was not in possession of over $10,000 U.S. dollars or its equivalent.  The subject was sent for a secondary examination to verify she had no prohibited Cuban goods in her possession.  During examination, it was discovered that she was travelling with $24,671 in unreported currency hidden in her luggage.

The other two stories, quoted below, apparently never made it into the headlines at the time Customs and Border Protection seized money. They are interesting in that the first story involves bulk cash smuggling by a 75 year old lady, and the second involves fraud in that the money was derived from cash advances taken out against credit cards without the intention of repayment. In both cases, Customs and Border Protection seized money.
  1. April 20, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $122,687

CBP officers at the Port of Champlain referred a 75-year-old Canadian female for secondary inspection to verify the answers she gave during primary inspection to basic questions.  During the secondary inspection, a search resulted in the discovery of unreported currency totaling $122,686 U.S. dollars and its equivalent hidden in luggage.  The currency was seized.

  1. June 1, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $38,220

CBP Officers at the Port of Champlain referred two Canadian-born sisters, who each declared $10,000 dollars in Canadian Currency, for a secondary inspection.  During the secondary inspection, it was discovered that they were structuring money for a third individual, who was also applying for admission to the U.S., to avoid reporting requirements.  Further examination revealed that the money had been obtained by taking out cash advances from credit cards with no intention of repayment.  In total, $38,220 dollars in Canadian currency was seized.

Has Customs and Border Protection seized money from you?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, 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.

The back of a CBP officer's shirt reading "CBP Federal Officer" in bold yellow letters.

Newark Airport Cash Seizure from Pilot

Customs seized cash at Newark airport from a commercial airline pilot for bulk cash smuggling. That’s the story reported by the Mumbai Mirror, which states that the pilot tried to smuggle $200,000 in without reporting it to customs and by concealing it inside a newspaper when he attempted to make entry at Newark airport after a trip to Mumbai.

He was arrested and is now being criminally charging him with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements. According to the story, he faces up 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 as a consequence for his false statements and bulk cash smuggling at Newark Airport. The full story is here:

An American commercial airline pilot has been arrested for trying to smuggle in nearly $200,000 in undeclared currency at a Newark airport shortly after arriving as a passenger on a flight from Mumbai.

Anthony Warner, 55, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was arrested at the Newark Liberty International Airport by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and charged with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements.

Officials said that US immigration and customs enforcement agents would not known that Warner was carrying the cash wrapped in a newspaper, besides 10 rings, earrings and other jewellery if the global entry kiosk computer system was in order. A physical screening of baggage led to his arrest. Warner, a commercial pilot, possessed a global entry card that allows for quick clearance when entering the US, officials said.

The complaint said Warner declared he was bringing into the country nothing of value except for $180. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the US Attorney’s office said. Warner was released on $100,000 bond after his initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Steven C Mannion.

The reason I share this story is to strongly warn people, whether customs seized cash at Newark airport or any other airport, if it is alleged the cash seizure was for bulk cash smuggling, call us for a free currency seizure consultation because you risk losing all of your money, even if not criminally charged!

It’s interesting that he was not only bulk smuggling cash but also some rings and other jewelry. It certainly sounds a little bit suspicious. But I’m not sure what I suspect, other than the story is a little strange. Why would an airline pilot risk customs seizing cash at the airport, his jewelry, loss of his job, and prison time if this was not connected to some other criminal activity?

Did customs seize cash from you at  Newark airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal

$40k Money Seized at Houston Airport by CBP

According to this story, about $40,000 in money seized at Houston Airport by Customs & Border Protection

Stacks of Money Seized at Houston Airport in front of a Homeland Security Seal
Money Seized at Houston Airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”)

(CBP) was on its way to Turkey.

This is the tale of a classic failure to report cash to customs, which also might have involved a language barrier (e.g., the reporter could have meant to say “forty-thousand” instead of “four-thousand” if English was the person’s second language). But, in our last post we noted that if Customs has to ask you to report money over $10,000 and you haven’t already filed a FinCen 105 form, you’ve already violated the law.

Here’s the money seizure storm from Houston airport CBP:

HOUSTON– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday seized more than $40,000 in unreported currency in an outbound enforcement action involving a departing air passenger bound for Turkey.

The [money seized at Houston airport] occurred on Thursday, Jan. 7 when CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations observed departing air passengers on a flight bound for Istanbul, Turkey and selected a 73-year-old male U.S. citizen passenger for a secondary inspection after a CBP canine alerted to his luggage. During the examination, the passenger declared $4,000 but subsequent examination by CBP officers revealed a total of $40,091 in unreported currency within his luggage. CBP officers seized the unreported currency.

Was your money seized at Houston airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.