Here’s a story about a man who had $43,409 in cash seized by customs at Dulles Airport. I’m going to use the story, which follows, to illustrate appoint about when a violation of the reporting requirement occurs.
The Dulles CBP officers seized cash as the man went to board a plane to Brussels. At this point, the violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5316 occurred. The man was getting on the plane without any intent to make a report of cash; he had to be asked. Even if he truthfully responded that he had exactly $43,409, the violation would already be completed his money could still be seized because he obviously had no intention to do what the law required; make a physical report of the cash at the time of departure.
Here’s the full news release:
STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $43,000 from a Belgium-bound man on Sunday at Washington Dulles International Airport.
CBP currency detector dog Cato alerted to the man as he prepared to board his flight to Brussels. The man verbally reported to CBP officers that he possessed $15,000, then admitted to possessing $37,000 as officers prepared to examine his baggage. The man completed a FINCEN105 reporting $37,000. During that baggage exam, officers discovered a combined $43,409 in U.S. currency. Officers seized the currency and released the man.
CBP is not releasing the man’s name because he was not criminally charged.
CBP canines are highly skilled at a variety of detection specialties, such as narcotics, firearms, humans, agriculture, and currency.
“Customs and Border Protection’s canines are a vital component to our border security mission and demonstrate their exceptional skill every day to help enforce our nation’s laws and keep us safe,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.
Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.
During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.
Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges. CBP seized about $386,000 every day in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders last year. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2020.
An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.
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.