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.
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.
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