Customs Currency Seizure in Philly

Below is a news release concerning a $40,359 customs currency seizure for failure to report, which based on the report seems like the currency was seized not only for mis/failure to report of currency, but also because it was concealed inside clothing and the lining of his baggage, which customs considers bulk cash smuggling. We handle currency seizure cases just like this that occur at the Detroit airport and land border crossings like the Detroit/Windsor-Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge on a regular basis, and have been very successful in getting our client’s money back from customs.  If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page.

Apparently, customs was satisfied that this person was not involved in any blatantly obvious criminal behavior because he was not arrested and apparently will not be criminally charged. That means that, in order to get his money back from customs, he will have to prove that the seized money came from a legtimate source and that he intended it for a legitimate use (e.g., nothing illegal). On to the full story:

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $39,500 from a Ghanaian man for violating federal currency reporting regulations Monday at Philadelphia International Airport.

The man, whose name isn’t being released because he wasn’t criminally charged, arrived from Frankfurt about 4 p.m. A CBP officer referred him to a routine secondary baggage examination.

The man reported to CBP officers, both verbally and in writing, that he possessed $9,400 in U.S. dollars and 80 Euros. The baggage exam revealed two stacks of U.S. currency and Ghana Cedi inside clothing and the baggage liner. A currency verification revealed $39,500 in U.S. dollars, 80 Euros and 2,280 Ghana Cedi, for a combined $40,359 in equivalent U.S. dollars.

CBP seized $39,500 and returned the foreign currency to the man for humanitarian purposes.

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 permitted this traveler multiple opportunities to truthfully report all currency in his possession. Hopefully, this is a lesson to all travelers that the easiest way to hold on to their currency is to truthfully report it all to a CBP officer,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.

If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs, 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:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. CustomsKeep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures