Philly CBP Seizes a Combined $96K from Two Women Heading to Jamaica on Consecutive Days

A sure way to ruin your vacation to Jamaica is by failing to correctly report the amount of currency you are transporting from the United States. Any failure to report, or mis-report, of the amount of currency you transport makes the currency subject to seizure and forfeiture. Customs released some details of some unlucky travellers who had their money confiscated by customs:

Philadelphia — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a combined $96,683 from two women heading to Jamaica on consecutive days this weekend for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

CBP officers stopped the first woman as she attempted to board a flight to Montego Bay Saturday. CBP officers explained federal currency reporting regulations to the woman and


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she reported that she possessed $4,900. A CBP examination of both the woman’s carry-on bag and her checked luggage revealed a total of $65,643, including some currency concealed inside children’s shoes.

The following day, CBP officers stopped another woman boarding the Montego Bay-bound flight. After CBP officers explained the currency reporting regulations, the woman reported $5,000 to $6,000. She then removed an envelope from her carry-on bag that contained $10,700. CBP officers then discovered an additional $13,340 in the woman’s carry-on bag. The woman then admitted that there was additional currency in her checked luggage. CBP officers counted a total of $31,040

Neither woman was criminally charged. CBP officers seized the currency and released the women.

There is no limit to how much currency that travelers can bring into, or take out of the United States. Travelers are required to formally report amounts of $10,000 or more [NOTE: Wrong again, it is more than $10,000] in U.S. dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments.

“These are two very expensive lessons that these women learned, and we hope that this experience entices other travelers to truthfully report to Customs and Border Protection officers the total amount of currency that they bring to the U.S., or intend to take from the U.S.,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP derives no great pleasure from seizing travelers’ currency. However, there are severe consequences for failing to comply with our nation’s laws.”

CBP’s Port of Philadelphia seized $1,319,195 in unreported currency during Fiscal Year 2013, (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013).

In both cases, CBP officers were conducting routine enforcement operations on outbound international flights.

CBP routinely conducts such inspections on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, dangerous drugs, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.

If these women weren’t up to anything illegal, then having their money seized by customs was totally avoidable. They would have had to file the currency report, and demonstrate a lawful source for the money and lawful intended use. In cases of a civil customs money seizure as here, a person can file a petition for remission for the return of the currency. If you have had currency seized from Customs, do not go it alone. Get the advice of an attorney who knows what he is doing. If you do not, you might only make the situation worse by handling it on your own or hiring a lawyer who doesn’t regularly handle these cases.

If you have had moneyseized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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 around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  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. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?