CBP made a press release about a recent cash seizure which, to my mind, makes them look pretty bad because I often hear the emotional side of customs money seizure cases from the violators (who yeah, are also victims).
It is sad because it’s a family of 5 traveling to Ethiopia. Although they had $27,330 with them, the government seized all but $830. Imagine getting around in a cash-based economy on $830.
Also imagine having to pay re-booking fees, hotel and transportation costs for 5 people. 😢💸
The details are below, but basically, the father reported having $8,000. Then the son reported he had $8,000 (structuring, anyone?). Then CBP found another $11,000 in their bags.
Tragic, yes. Avoidable, very much yes. CBP wants you to know – report the money truthfully, and you can avoid such tragedies! Unfortunately now, the family is going to have much more work to do than just filling out a FinCen 105 form when they try to get their money back from CBP Dulles. A lot more work, and a lot more time.
Do it the easy way. Report your cash before you get asked!
STERLING, Va. – With airline staffing shortages forcing flight cancellations and route reductions, it seems now would be an ideal time for international travelers to truthfully report all of their currency to Customs and Border Protection officers during an outbound inspection.
One Ethiopia-bound family learned that lesson the hard way after CBP officers seized $27,330 from them on Sunday at Washington Dulles International Airport for violating U.S. currency reporting requirements. The family also missed their once daily flight to Ethiopia and lost a day of their vacation trip.
Officers approached the family of five at the departure gate and asked how much currency they possessed. The father, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ethiopia, verbally reported that he had about $8,000. Officers then reminded the travelers of federal currency reporting laws and asked the father to annotate the back of the CBP form describing the currency reporting law. As the father prepared to write their currency amount and sign, the eldest son reported that he also possessed about $8,000.
The father then completed a U.S. Treasury form for the total amount of currency. During a subsequent inspection of their carry-on bags, CBP officers discovered an additional $11,000.
CBP officers then escorted the family back to CBP’s inspection station and examined their checked baggage. Officers found no additional currency. Officers discovered and seized a total of $27,330 for violating U.S. currency reporting laws. Officers returned $830 to the family and released them to continue their trip. However, their flight had already departed and they had to be rebooked on another Ethiopian Airlines flight.
Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?
If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.