Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. You will note that this (counterfeit) cash seizure occurred 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. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release clearly demonstrates
Jamaica, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized 1500 counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (bills) last month.
On December 14, CBP officers selected Ciara Ryan for a random baggage examination. Ryan, 38 was returning from Colombia and had two bags in her possession. The first bag was examined by officers and was found to have a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, CBP found alterations to its bottom; within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
A black leather satchel also in her possession was examined and found to contain more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining. Ms. Ryan was placed under arrest and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills ($150,000) were seized. She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.
Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in a false compartment in the bag and in the lining. If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.