Customs can seize money from passengers transporting more than $10,000 when leaving the country, not just when entering the country. Recently, customs released an account of a customs money seizure where the person was leaving the United States at an airport and travelling to Istanbul, Turkey. It resulted in over 34,000 seized by customs/CBP for failure to report. This story is below.
When customs seizes your currency after arriving at an airport or border crossing you should keep calm and contact us. Even though it seems like the end of the world, there are legal steps that can be taken to get your money back through forfeiture remission proceedings. For instance, this passengercan get their money back by proving legitimate source and legitimate intended use and follow the right steps to respond to their currency seizure. On to the story (ORIGINAL HERE):
STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $34,149 from a passenger departing to Istanbul, Turkey at Washington Dulles International Airport Monday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.
The passenger, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Turkey, was departing with his family when CBP officers asked how much currency he possessed. He initially reported $7,500, but then wrote down $15,000 after officers explained the currency reporting law to him.
During the CBP inspection, the passenger presented two bundles of $100 bills, $20,000 in total, from his handbag. Officers discovered an additional $10,000 in a carry-on bag, and $4,149 in the man’s wallet. A currency verification resulted in a total of $34,149.CBP seized the currency and released the man to continue his travels.
There is no limit to how much currency travelers may bring to, or take from the U.S.; however, federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency. Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers permit travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully report all currency in their possession, and this traveler failed to comply. The easiest way to hold on to one’s currency is to truthfully report all of it to a CBP officer,” said Stephen Kremer, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington.
The man was not criminally charged.
In addition to currency enforcement, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel webpage to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
The story also notes that man was not criminally charged, although the failure to report itself is crime. When crossing the border with cash or monetary instruments, remember to stay calm and report anything in excess of $10,000 USD. The vast majority of our client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs.
We handle currency seizure cases that occur at the Detroit airport and land border crossings like the Detroit/Windsor-Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge on a regular basis, and are very successful in getting money back from customs. If you have had money seized by Detroit customs/CBP, 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:
- Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
- Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
- Structuring currency imports and exports
- Is it $10,000 per person? Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
- Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
- Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
- How do I get my seized money back from customs?
- Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
- How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
- Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures