Tag: airport money seizure

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP at Dulles Airport seizes $50k Cash Leaving Country

Dulles CBP has made a few notable seizures recently. Dulles cash seizures always seem to hit the CBP news release cycle, and last week was no exception. CBP reported on the seizure of almost fifty-grand in cash from travelers leaving the United States, so here is the story:

CBP officers seized $29,698 from a Qatar-bound family Saturday.  Officers explained the currency reporting regulations to the family and the father reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $14,000.  The man presented an envelope that contained $10,000 and $4,000 in pocket cash.  CBP officers then asked if he possessed additional currency, to which the man presented an additional $5,698.  An examination of the wife’s purse resulted in the discovery of an additional $10,000.  CBP officers returned $698 to the family and released them to continue their journey.

CBP officers seized $18,900 from a Ghana-bound man Tuesday.  The traveler reported verbally and in writing that he possessed $12,000.  During an examination, CBP officers discovered the additional cash.  Officers returned $500 to the traveler for humanitarian purposes and released him to continue his journey.

The original story says that everyone was a U.S. citizen, and non were criminally charged. In my experience, Dulles will likely say that both of these cases involved bulk cash smuggling, and therefore, they are able to keep at least 50% of the money that was seized according to CBP’s mitigation guidelines.

This Dulles cash seizure should also serve as a reminder to everyone that a report is required even when LEAVING the country, not just upon arrival. If you look closely, you’ll probably see signs in the airport containing notices about the reporting requirement.

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

Dulles CBP Seizes $52K headed for Ghana

It is now my opinion that Dulles CBP is vying to be first in currency seizures in the nation. That is a distinction held by Detroit CBP in the 2015 fiscal year. That year, the seized cash from over 500 people.

My opinion about Dulles is based on the most recent of many stories about Dulles CBP seizing cash from unwitting (and sometimes witting..) travelers at Dulles airport in Sterling, Virginia, since only September.

This story, like those, involves a failure to report cash to Customs; in this case, though, the person involved reported $40,000 – way more than than the $10,000 – and he actually possessed slightly more than $52,000. Now, it’s still illegal to underreport cash even when you do report more than $10,000. In other words, no matter how much you carry and how much you report, the report of cash to Customs still has to be ACCURATE. Being off by $12,000 is not accuracy.

But, the story is unique in that many people will report to Customs that they are carrying $9,990, or $9,800, or $9,700, when they are really carrying more than $10,000. They think that as long as they report some number less than $10,000, they will not be scrutinized. They’re wrong.

This man, however, reported $40,000. That seems like good faith to me, and my guess is he probably did not know exactly how much he had with him (yes, it happens), and he gave it his best guess, never expecting to be held to such a strict account by U.S. Customs & Border Protection.

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized over $52,000 from a Ghana-bound U.S. citizen on Thursday 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.

During an outbound inspection, the man declared, both verbally and in writing, to CBP officers that he possessed $40,000; however, CBP officers discovered a total of $52,156 on his person and in his luggage.  The officers seized the $52,156 and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.  The traveler was then released to continue his journey.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash you need a lawyer. That’s what we do. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Dulles CBP Seizes $17k in Unreported Currency from Peruvian Woman

Another week, another cash seizure at Dulles airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. They are really racking of the seizures — and talk about it, a lot — this year.

The meat of the story says:

The woman arrived from Peru via Colombia shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday.  During a secondary examination, the woman initially reported that she possessed $3,000, and then changed that amount to $5,000.  CBP officers discovered $15,870 in U.S. dollars, and additional Peruvian Sol equivalent to $1,189 U.S. dollars for a total of $17,059 in her purse.

The untruthful report to CBP makes it this currency seizure completely legal under the federal currency reporting regulations, which penalize any failure to report cash to U.S. Customs & Border Protection. But not only did she have her cash seized, but:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $17,000, a fraudulent permanent resident identity card and a fraudulent social security card from a 54-year-old woman at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday.

But, the story goes on to say that “authorities declined criminally prosecuting the woman.” At the time currency is seized, the seizing officers (or Homeland Security Investigations, I suppose…) are required to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office and advise them of the incident to determine whether to prosecute the case criminally and arrest the individual involved in the currency reporting violations.

However, CBP did “remove[] her from the United States for possessing fraudulent U.S. identity documents and barred her from re-entering the U.S. for five years.” Ooops!

Have you had cash seized at Dulles airport by Customs?

If you had cash seized at Dulles airport by Customs, you really need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Structured Cash Seized by CBP Detroit

Last week, CBP posted another round of notices of seizure and intents to forfeit on their website, forfeiture.gov. Among the many thousands of items seized and subject to forfeiture is $19,300, in cash seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan, on August 23, 2016.

Like all notices on forfeiture.gov, it is sparse on detail; but, we do know that it was seized for both a failure to report and unlawful cash structuring, which likely means that more than 1 person was traveling with the money; or that CBP took two family members or traveling companions, pulled them aside, found that each was traveling with slightly less than $10,000, and grouped the amounts together and is accusing one person of giving the money to another so as to avoid filing the currency transaction report on Form FinCen105.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: October 14, 2016
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: November 13, 2016
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: December 13, 2016

DETROIT, MI

2016380700111101-001-0000, Seized on 08/23/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 247; EA; Valued at $19,300.00; For violation of  31USC5316, 31USC5317, 31USC5324, 31CFR1010.340(A)

The reason the notice of seizure was published on the website is because either the recipient decided to abandon the money, did not receive the personal CAFRA notice of seizure letter, or messed up the petition (unlikely in the span of 7 weeks since the seizure occurred). Don’t make that same mistake, and hire a customs lawyer for any cash, money, or monetary instrument seizure you experienced at the hands of U.S. Customs & Border Protection.

Have you had structured cash seized by CBP Detroit?

If you had structured cash seized by CBP Detroit, you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP Seizes $44k from Couple Flying to Ghana

What happens when you’re going to Ghana and you don’t declare your cash to CBP? Your cash is a Goner! Last week, CBP at Dulles Airport in Sterling Virginia seized $44,606 from a couple leaving the United States from Ghana.

According to CBP, the couple told CBP they only had $14,000…. that’s about $30,000 less than what they were carrying. If true, that is a pretty serious failure to report violation. No one forgets they are carrying $30,000 less than they have.

But there are always two sides to every story. In my experience, CBP occasionally has a way of justifying cash seizures if the facts later turn out not to support their reasons for seizure (like when family is traveling together and they think the money was intentionally structured). Here’s the story from CBP’s perspective:

In separate incidents on Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted an impostor who arrived from Ghana, and seized about $44,000 from a couple heading to Ghana.

[ . . . ]

Moments later, a CBP K9 alert led to CBP officers seizing a total of $44,606 in U.S. dollars and equivalent foreign currency from a Ghanaian couple who attempted to board a flight to Ghana. The woman was already on the flight when CBP officers interviewed the man. The Ghanaian man reported to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000. He then reported that his wife had an additional $5,000. CBP officers discovered the additional currency during a baggage inspection.

CBP returned $1,500 to the couple and released them to continue their journey.

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.

None of the three travelers was arrested. The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged.

“These are two very serious violations of U.S. immigration and currency reporting laws, and these travelers are very fortunate to avoid criminal prosecution,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “Customs and Border Protection hopes that these incidents are a reminder to all travelers to be truthful with CBP officers. The United States is a welcoming country, especially to those who respect our nation’s laws.”

Has CBP seized your cash?

If CBP has seized your cash, you need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

CBP Detroit Cash Forfeitures for 7-29-16

Last Friday’s notice of seizure and intent to forfeit for U.S. Customs & Border Protection featured 3 currency seizures that occurred in 3 separate incidents on June 2 and June 9, with a total seizure value of $72,338.

The seizure on June 2 for $40,080, was for a failure to report cash to Detroit CBP and for bulk cash smuggling:

2016380700084501-001-0000, Seized on 06/02/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 403; EA; Valued at $40,080.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5332

The seizures on June 9, one for $17,657, was for a failure to report; the other, for $14,601, was for failure to report cash to Detroit CBP and for an unlawful cash structuring violation.

2016380700086001-001-0000, Seized on 06/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 186; EA; Valued at $17,657.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

2016380700086101-001-0000, Seized on 06/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 175; EA; Valued at $14,601.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

As with most cases that are posted up on forfeiture.gov, the publication of the intent to forfeit the property likely represents a total failure on the part of the person whose money was seized to successfully navigate the process for getting seized back from Detroit CBP.  Administrative forfeiture is a last resort and also has the worst outcome in most cases; if any money is recovered at all, it is often far, far less than would be recovered through the administrative petition process. But, whether to file a claim or an administrative petition is a decision that should be made in consultation with your attorney.

Due to how quickly people have money seized and the representations of the seizing officers, people mistakenly believe that getting seized money back from Detroit CBP is an easy process.

Instead, it is fraught with difficulties and unforeseen challenges. Instead of risking forfeiture and the total loss of your money, do the smart thing and call us for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of the free customs money seizure legal guide we publish on this website.

$100 Dollar Bills Slider

$22K Currency Seized by CBP enroute to Serbia

Dulles strictly enforces the bulk cash smuggling and structuring guidelines (to my knowledge, not publicly available and not published in CBP’s mitigation guidelines) that call for a hefty forfeiture of half – or more than half of the money even when legitimate source and intended use are shown.

The repeated denial of carrying more than $10,000, couple with the splitting of the money between two envelopes in the carry-on bag is enough for customs to infer an intent to evade the reporting requirement; the concealment of the money in envelopes in the carry-on baggage is enough to infer an intent to conceal the money from the view of CBP.

That means this man heading to Serbia is about to lose, at a minimum, $11,000, for not properly understanding the the cash reporting laws and for not being (anywhere near) truthful to CBP at the time he was asked to report how much money he was traveling with.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $23,000 from a Serbia-bound U.S. citizen on Sunday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

During an outbound inspection, the Serbia-bound man declared, both verbally and in writing, to a CBP officer that he possessed $9,000. CBP officers discovered $700 in U.S. dollars and 190 Euros (about $211 in USD) in the man’s wallet. CBP officers then discovered an additional $22,000 split between two envelopes in the man’s carry-on bag.

CBP officers seized $22,911 in total. Officers then provided a humanitarian release of $723 plus the 190 Euros to the traveler, and advised him how to petition for the remainder of the currency. Officers released the traveler to continue his journey to Serbia.

“Customs and Border Protection officers afforded this traveler multiple opportunities to truthfully report his currency, and he chose not do to so. Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements risk severe consequences, including currency seizure and potential criminal charges,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “The easiest way for travelers to hold on to their currency is to truthfully report it all to a CBP officer during inspection.”

Incidentally, the story says that CBP advised him “how to petition for the remainder of the currency”. We just wrote about taking legal advice from CBP — in short, you have a lot more options for getting seized cash back from CBP besides a petition, some of which are presented on the election of proceedings form.

Has CBP seized currency from you?

If you got currency seized by CBP you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

CBP Cash Seizure Chicago O’Hare Airport

On April 12, 2016, some poor soul in Chicago had over $16,000 currency seized at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. For what, you ask? Well, judging from the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit published Friday last, some violation of Title 31 of the United States Code.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: June 24, 2016
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: July 23, 2016
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: August 23, 2016

2016390100067501-002-0000, Seized on 04/12/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 768; EA; Valued at $16,210.00; For violation of 31USC

As can be seen, the notice published on the forfeiture.gov contains, what I assume, is a clerical error. Typically, these notices will contain a host of laws violated. 31 USC is not a law, but rather, an entire book of laws that outlines the role of money and finance in the United States. It is most likely that the money was seized for purported violations of the usual suspects; 31 USC 5316, 31 USC 5324 and/or 31 USC 5332.

My sources tell me that O’Hare International Airport recently began permitting on-site mitigation of cash seizures valued at less than $25,000, to ease the processing burden on the folks who handle the petitions filed with FP&F Chicago. Customs policy permits individual ports to choose to offer on-site mitigation when the persons are transporting less than $25,000 and they mis-report an amount that is 5% or less in variance with the actual amount being transported.

If on-site mitigation was an option, the likely explanation for the seizure still occurring is a misreport of 5% or more in the amount that was being carried by the traveler. Over the years, we’ve helped a lot of people who have their cash seized by CBP at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Do not let your cash seizure case in Chicago get to the point that CBP publishes a forfeiture notice.

Did CBP seize cash from you at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport?

If you have had currency seized from Chicago CBP, please contact us in Chicago at (773) 920-1840. Our customs lawyer in Chicago’s office is a short walk from U.S. Customs & Border Protection Chicago’s Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures office.

Back-to-back Detroit airport money seizures are listed in this May 27 Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit published by CBP

Back to back Detroit airport money seizures

Detroit CBP seized a total $40,249 in back-to-back money seizures at Detroit airport on March 29, 2016 for failure to report and illegal cash structuring. The excerpt from the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit gives only the most essential information that allows for someone with an interest in the property to file a claim.

The fact that administrative forfeiture proceedings have begun (as signified by the fact it is being published in this way on forfeiture.gov) probably represents a bad decision by the people who experienced the Detroit airport money seizures, or by their attorney. Immigration attorneys and general practitioners have no business doing the work of a customs lawyer in responding to a money seizure by CBP at Detroit airport or elsewhere.

What are some reasons people choose the administrative forfeiture route?

It could be lack of evidence to prove legitimate source or intended use, failure to actually receive the personal notice of seizure letter, fear of criminal repercussions, failure to understand the difference between the different election of proceedings options… and other reasons related to ignorance of the law about money seizures.

Here’s the excerpt from CBP’s forfeiture.gov posting:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START:
PUBLICATION/POSTING END:
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM:

May 27, 2016
June 25, 2016
July 26, 2016

2016380700066701-001-0000, Seized on 03/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 265; EA; Valued at $20,558.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31CFR1010.340(A),31USC5324

2016380700067101-001-0000, Seized on 03/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 235; EA; Valued at $19,691.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31CFR1010.340(A),31USC5324

Have you experienced a Detroit airport money seizure?

If you experienced a Detroit airport money seizure by U.S. Customs & Border Protection  you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Money Seized by CBP near D.C.

A Virginia man had money seized by CBP near Washington, D.C., last week when CBP officers seized $38,872 worth of money exiting the country at Dulles International Airport en route to Ghana. The story says CBP officers were conducting an “outbound enforcement operation” which is a fancy way of saying that, as passengers were boarding their flights and presenting their boarding tickets at the gate, CBP officers were standing by and asking how much money they were carrying and were ready to seize money from anyone misreporting it.

These encounters are often unexpected by travelers. Questions are sometimes asked informally without an explanation from CBP. These often prompts surprise, panic, and thoughts like “What business is it of you how much money I am transporting?” Rare is an explanation of the reporting requirement made (though it is not required).

The the CBP officer might questions like:

  • “How much money is in your bag?”
  • “How much money is in your wallet?”
  • “How much money are YOU carrying?”

A truthful answer to those questions could get you in trouble, because in reality what CBP seeks to find out is how much money are you transporting in your bag, wallet, on your person, and with other members of your group.

After you’ve answered the question, truthfully or inaccurately, CBP will then either pull you aside and count the money (a “secondary examination”), or present you with form 6059B to read and sign (sometimes they prepare the form with your verbal report and present it only for signature).

The form 6059B contains a detailed statement about when money must be reported to customs, and how. It also explains the penalty for not reporting money to CBP. If you fill out the form inaccurately and sign it, you’ve just broken the law and your money is now subject to seizure by CBP.

If you’ve ever had money seized by CBP, you know that the process is tilted in the government’s favor. That’s Great Lakes Customs Law is here — to help you get your money back for you. In any event, here is an excerpt from the story from CBP in Virgina:

A man was boarding a flight to Ghana and was selected for questioning by CBP officers who were conducting an outbound enforcement operation on the international flight.  The man completed a financial form, reporting $8,500 however; a total of $38,872 was discovered on his person.  CBP officers seized the $38,872 and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.

Did you have money seized by CBP?

If you had money seized by CBP, you can learn more from our trusted legal guide to a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.