Category: customs cash seizure

Money Seized at Detroit Airport for Bulk Cash Smuggling, Failure to report

A lady had money seized at Detroit airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) and the story made national news headlines. A lot of people have money seized at Detroit airport, so I’m not sure why this story generated such interest; in fact, many money seizure clients I’ve helped would make for more interesting news stories. I suspect that this story made the news because, I bet someone (herself or her attorney) chose not to file an administrative petition for remission but went the court-route, by filing a CAFRA seized asset claim.

Here is the full AP story (quoted below) which got the story about the money seized at Detroit airport from the Detroit News. This woman has the bad luck to have her story broadcast across country, but hers is not much different than many of the airport customs money seizures that take place everyday in Detroit, Chicago, and elsewhere.

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — A 78-year-old Florida woman tried to fly on an international trip from Detroit Metropolitan Airport with almost $41,000 in cash hidden inside her girdle, bra and carry-on bag, federal authorities said. A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit said the Clearwater woman was trying to board a flight April 2 to the Philippines with her daughter.

She initially said she had $200 in cash but submitted a form declaring she had $1,200, prompting questions. During a search, Customs and Border Protection officers found $8,000 in wallets in her carry-on bag, $4,000 sewn into a cloth pouch and nearly $1,000 in envelopes, according to the complaint.

Detroit Metro Airport Currency Seizure
International Arrivals at DTW

She then told them she had $3,000 in her blouse and $2,000 sewn into the strap of her bra. Officers continued to search and said they found about $21,000 in her girdle. The woman told authorities that she had recently sold her home for $120,000, wired some money to the Philippines and had planned to carry a portion of the money with her. “She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” according to the complaint.

Federal law requires travelers to declare if they are carrying more than $10,000. The woman hasn’t been charged, but the government in the forfeiture complaint said it wants to keep the money. The Detroit News reported details of the request Friday. Federal court records don’t list a lawyer for the woman. The Associated Press left a message Saturday seeking comment from her at a telephone listing in Florida.

The Detroit news story identifies the woman as Victoria Farren and gets into the details a bit more by explaining that a lot of the money she was carrying was sewn into various articles of clothing like her bra strap, blouse, girdle, and a cloth pouch; these facts takes her case out of the realm of a mere failure to report monetary instruments or currency exceeding $10,000 and into the category of bulk cash smuggling (that is, active efforts to conceal the money), which can make it a lot harder to get the money back.

Have your money seized at Detroit airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Detroit airport, the Ambassador Bridge, or the Detroit-Windsor-Tunnel, you can learn more 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.

Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit money)

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real cash getting caught importing counterfeit cash. Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) as a result of the currency reporting requirement. The purpose of the currency reporting requirement is to do exactly this — catch people who are bringing in illegal (in this case counterfeit) money into the United States.

You can educate yourself using our trusted “customs money seizure legal roadmap” as a guide to understanding what to do if Detroit CBP seized cash from you. In the particular case below, the the following news release clearly demonstrates why Detroit CBP does not allow anyone to under-report cash:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport announces the seizure of $32,300 in counterfeit U.S. currency from a Ghanaian citizen.

“This amount of counterfeit cash can inflict serious harm on a local economy.” says Devin Chamberlain, port director. “I am pleased that the officers’ attention to detail

Image of location near where Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).
Detroit CBP seized cash (counterfeit) at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).

resulted in this seizure.”

On Sunday November 17, CBP officers encountered a male citizen of Ghana after he arrived in Detroit on a flight from Amsterdam. Because he did not complete a required customs declaration, CBP form 6059b, he was asked to complete this form while his passport was being checked. The traveler checked “no” that he was carrying more than $10,000 however reported to the officer verbally that he indeed had more than $10,000 and made an error on the form. A secondary search of his luggage resulted in the discovery of $32,300 in U.S. currency that CBP officers suspected, was counterfeit.

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations were notified and responded. The counterfeit cash and traveler were turned over to Secret Service. The United States Attorney’s Office has accepted the case for Federal prosecution.

Based on these facts, I doubt the man knew that the cash seized by Detroit CBP was counterfeit. Nevertheless, his bumbling answer and the failure to accurately report in the first place in his being arrested and pending criminal charges.

Did Detroit CBP seize cash from you?

If Detroit CBP seized cash from you at Detroit Metro Airport, the Ambassador Bridge, or the Detroit-Windsor-Tunnel, 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.