Dulles Airport Cash Seizure Nets CBP $40K

U.S. Money Seized by Customs (CBP) Stacked on a Table with Envelopes

A Dulles airport cash seizure resulted in a $40,000 loss for a Ghanaian man who had his money seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for allegedly falsely reporting having only $10,000, while he had hid another $30,000 within packages in his luggage. The hiding of the money is bulk cash smuggling, and the report of only $10,000 is a failure to report violation.

Dulles airport cash seizure showing $40,00 stacked on a table with envelopes
CBP officers seized $40,019 from a Ghanaian man for violating federal currency reporting laws at Washington Dulles International Airport on December 5, 2015.

The story, which we are including below, says that the person was told by Dulles CBP how to file an administrative petition for return of the “rest of the currency”. Here’s the truth about that: if the CAFRA notice of seizure alleges bulk cash smuggling (which is very probably based on what we are told here), then this person might only get back half of his money, or less, for the violation.

 This is why you should never take legal advice from someone who’s not a lawyer, and especially from a customs officer who just seized your money.
It may be more beneficial for this man to file a CAFRA seized asset claim form or make an offer in compromise, not a petition. If you’re wondering how best to handle your Dulles airport cash seizure or one that occurred somewhere else by customs,  contact us and read all we have written about customs money seizures.

The Dulles airport cash seizure news release excerpt, as told by CBP:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $40,019 Saturday from a Ghanaian citizen for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

A man was boarding a flight to Ghana and was selected for questioning by CBP officers who were conducting an outbound enforcement operation on an international flight.  The man completed a financial form, reporting $10,000, however; a total of $40,019 was discovered — $10,019 on his person and $30,000 in his luggage secreted inside two computer boxes.  CBP officers seized the $40,019 and advised him how to petition for the return of the rest of the 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,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”