Tag: CAFRA

Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations

This is an article about the statute of limitations for currency reporting violations (failure to report monetary instruments over $10,000, bulk cash smuggling, and structuring); in other words, how soon after an offense is committed (or when the currency is seized) that the government must bring criminal charges against you before they are prevented by the statute of limitations. If you want to skip to that part and don’t want to learn some fascinating facts about the most intact T-Rex skeleton ever found, and how one of its discoverers was pursued by the government for allegedly failing to report a currency and monetary instruments over $10,000, scroll down to the next heading.

Currency Reporting Violations and Sue the Dinosaur

Like a lot of grown men, I was fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid. So those kind of headlines still catch my eye. The other day I came across this CNN story — a saga really — about the discovery of the “most intact T-rex skeleton ever found” back in 1990 (“Sue“). To sum things up, shortly after the fossil was discovered FBI agents, accompanied by the national guard, seized the fossil because it was, they alleged, on Indian Trust land (read: under Federal government jurisdiction). The

Sue the Dinosaur

ownership of the dinosaur, and allegations that the people involved with the discovery had stolen and sold dinosaur fossils found on public land, were in the courts for years.

But as I read the story, I was intrigued to read that one of the people responsible for the discovery of the dinosaur “served 18 months in federal prison for customs violations” unrelated to the dinosaur discovery. I thought it must have had something to do with the importation of dinosaur fossils like happened in Detroit a few years ago, which I blogged about. But not so. Looking into the matter further, I discovered this 1996 article from the New York Times that explains the customs violations were for failing to report the transport of more than $10,000 into or out of the United States:

…Mr. Larsen was convicted of two felonies — failure to report to American customs officials $31,700 in travelers checks he had brought from Japan, and failure to report $15,000 in cash he took to Peru.

Oops! The story basically says that, of 153 charges in a 39 count indictment brought against him by the Federal government, these currency reporting violations and some misdemeanors related to the sale of fossils valued at less than $100 is what stuck. In the context of the fiasco about the dinsoaur bones, winding up getting criminally charged with failure to report currency being transported in excess of $10,000 seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it?

What’s the statute of limitations of currency reporting violations?

This story was just the occasion for me write about the statute of limitations for currency reporting violations (failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, and unlawful structuring that often result in currency seizures). The statute of limitations for currency reporting violations under 31 USC §§ 5316, 5324 and 5332 is found in 18 USC § 3282(a), which states:

Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense, not capital, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after such offense shall have been committed.

That means once the event giving rise to the violation has occurred, the government has 5 years from that date to bring criminal charges against you.

My customs currency seizure clients often want to know: is failing to report currency a crime? Yes, it is, and it is punishable by a fine of $250,000 to $500,000 and 5 to 10 years in jail. But I also tell them that if they were not arrested at the time the currency was seized, and the U.S. Attorney was notified and declined to prosecute you, they probably will not face criminal charges.

But just because you weren’t arrested and charged immediately still means it could happen up to 5 years later.

Keep Calm and Declare Monetary Instruments Exceeding $10,000 USD

If you have had cash seized 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?

 

Holiday Weekend Customs Cash Seizures

Many customs cash seizures by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) are bound to happen all over the country this weekend at airports and border crossings. The increased amount of travel for labor day weekend will be a big Customs Cash Seizurefactor, but most cash will be seized because as it is the start of the academic year. Foreign exchange students, graduate students, PhD candidates, visiting professors,  researchers, and other professionals employed or sponsored by universities will be arriving in the United States with their tuition money or money for living expenses, and if they fail to report it to customs, it will be seized before they ever get a chance to use it. Get the details: Tuition Money Seized by Customs.

It does not matter that the money is legitimate. It only matters that there is a failure to make an accurate report to customs about how much money is transported. This reporting process usually starts by properly filling out your customs declaration form on arrival. Failure to properly report more than $10,000 transported into or out the country will result in a customs cash seizure. As we explained in previous articles, customs knows how to target arriving passengers to find people who might have money (Read: Targeting Customs Seizure Enforcement). If you are reading this after you already had a customs cash seizure then this article will tell you what to expect: Responding to a Customs currency seizure.

You can get your money back, but it will take time and effort. If you file a petition for remission, customs will require proof of the source of the money and its intended use. Customs has stringent requirements for getting your money back. They have specific documentation requirements depending on the country the money came from. Although the process is difficult and time consuming, it is almost always worth trying to get your money back. There is no customs cash seizure case that is hopeless, even if the documentation is missing or unavailable! For the best chances of success, you should hire a customs lawyer with a track record of successfully getting seized currency back from customs.

We are that experienced customs lawyer. If you have had your tuition money seized by customs, call us at (734) 855-4999 or contact us HERE because Great Lakes Customs Law can help.

Read these other articles about customs cash seizures:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Customs cash seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Customs cash seizure; 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. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  8. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  9. Customs cash seizure; Tuition Money Seized by Customs

Customs Currency Seizure Assisted by K9

Customs seized currency at Dulles airport for failure to file a currency report for a man who repeatedly reported transporting only $8,000, but he was instead found with more than $20,000. Below is a picture from the customs news release that shows, apparently, the offending currency and it’s new owner, a German Shepherd. Alright, the German Shepherd will not become the new owner, as the story correctly points out anyone who has had their currency seized by customs has the right, among others, to petition to have the currency returned to them provided that they can establish a legitimate source for the money and show that it had a legitimate intended use. Here’s the story from Customs:

IAD K9 24k Seizure

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $24,789 from a U.S. citizen Monday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who arrived on a flight from Qatar, declared possessing only $8,000. While proceeding to the exit from the federal inspection area a CBP K9 enforcement officer led his partner, CBP currency detection K9 “Nicky,” over to sniff the traveler’s luggage. Nicky alerted and the officer asked the man how much money he was carrying. He declared $8,000. The officer then referred the traveler for a secondary inspection.

In secondary the man again declared possessing $8,000 to CBP officers. While examining the passenger’s luggage, CBP officers discovered an envelope containing $24,789. CBP officers seized the $24,789 and advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his currency.

CBP K9 ‘Nicky’ detected $24k in unreported currency a traveler concealed at Washington Dulles International Airport April 21, 2014.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 monetary instruments, which includes foreign 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 Frances B. Garcia, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.

Like other law enforcement, Customs’ uses dogs to enhance it’s search capabilities at the border and in airports, and in this case, the dog was able to sniff out the currency, most likely because it contained trace amounts of narcotics, as I am told most U.S. currency does.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Currency Reporting Violations and the Global Entry Program

As some of my currency seizure clients have come to find out, failing to properly report currency over $10,000 being transported out of the United States can result in removal from trusted traveler programs. This news release from my local port of Detroit by customs confirms it:

Detroit – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Detroit Metro Airport announces that three travelers enrolled in the Global Entry program have been removed due to zero tolerance violations of program rules.

Global Entry is a CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. The program benefits CBP and participating foreign governments by allowing them to focus efforts on unknown and potentially higher risk air travelers, thereby facilitating the movement of trusted travelers in a more efficient and effective manner.

“Global Entry provides a level of trust not afforded to regular air travelers,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director. “Violations of any kind will result in removal from the program.”

The violators, all returning U.S. citizens failed to declare personal use steroids and prescription drugs and failed to report the transport of currency over $10,000. Two events occurred February 26 and the last March 1, 2014.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Border Patrol Agents Seize Over $1.5

Though not exactly the type of customs money seizure that my client’s experience (which usually at a land border crossing or at an airport), nevertheless Customs & Border protection recently issued a news release about some check-point currency seizures that the border patrol wing of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol executed.

San Clemente, Calif. — In two separate events, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two foreign nationals with large quantities of concealed bulk cash.

The first event occurred Friday at 4:30 p.m., when an Uzbekistan national, who is a permanent U.S. resident, arrived at the San Clemente checkpoint driving a commercial truck. The 27-year-old man was hauling five used cars on a trailer. The man was referred to secondary, where a K-9 performed a cursory inspection resulting in a positive alert. California Army National Guard members, operating an x-ray system, detected anomalies in two Acura MDXs. Agents searched those vehicles and discovered false compartments in their rear bumpers. The compartments were filled with 49 bundles of cash. The bundles contained an approximate total of $1,476,245 in U.S. currency. The cash and two Acuras were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The second event occurred on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m., as agents were patrolling I-5. Agents observed a suspicious vehicle travelling southbound and initiated a vehicle stop. The 39-year-old Mexican national driver was holding a valid visa. Agents requested and received permission to search the man’s vehicle. Upon inspection, agents discovered $49,900 inside a black bag and inside the man’s jacket. An additional $10,000 was in the man’s pockets. When questioned, the man stated that the $10K was his, but he did not have a receipt of declaration for bringing the money into the U.S. He claimed that the other $49,900 did not belong to him and that he did not want to be associated with it. The driver is being held in Department of Homeland Security custody with removal proceedings pending. The vehicle and cash were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizure

How does customs target people for money seizures?

There are certain groups of people who are more likely to be transporting large amounts of money through airport customs. For example, people who come from largely cash based economies and people who for cultural reasons, do not trust banks or prefer to pay with and keep cash on hand. Walking around with more than $10,000 in cash is hard for a lot of Americans to understand because credit is easy and we are notoriously bad savers. I suspect many American’s would not think twice about having a $10,000 balance on their credit card, but those same people would be shocked to hear about someone walking around with $10,000 in cash.

Another example of people who are more likely to be transporting large amounts of money through customs are those travelling to the U.S. for an extended vacation or are staying for a long time to attend a university, work an internship, or immigrate from China, Korea, Iran or Indonesia, for example, and make a permanent residence in the United States . They might be carrying money with them to pay for tuition (which usually cannot be paid by credit card), books, expenses related to renting an apartment, buying car, purchasing health insurance, etc.

Why does customs target certain groups for money seizures?

From the perspective of customs, targeted enforcement of the more than $10,000 currency reporting requirement makes sense and any diligent customs officer who wants to make sure the currency reporting laws are enforced is going to target certain people de-planing from flights from certain countries or parts of the world.

Extended vacationers are easy to target by customs. Customs may review your itinerary (e.g., one way or return flight) and ask about the purpose of your visit to the United States. So when a customs officer asks, “How long are you staying in the United States?” and the response is, “A month,” one of the next few questions likely to be asked is going be, “And so how much money are you travelling with?” If you look nervous, or if they just do not believe you, there are likely going to search you and your luggage in a secondary inspection to verify whatever you tell them about how much money you are transporting.

What’s an example of a group targeted by customs for currency reporting purposes?

The Chinese New Year is coming up (1/31 to 2/6) and traditionally, Chinese people visit relatives and give cash gifts in red envelopes, called hongbao, during this holiday. You can read more about

Red Envelope (hongbao) Customs Money Seizure
Cash Filled Hongbao – Red Envelopes

this interesting cultural practice at Wikipedia. Chinese people living in the United States also celebrate the Chinese New Year. Chinese nationals travel to the United States to visit their family living here and bring with them hongbao red envelopes stuffed with cash from relatives back in China. It might be in certain “lucky” denominations, it might be for a wedding, a new baby, or just to help a young family out.

As a result, Customs might target flights from China for enhanced enforcement of the currency reporting requirement near and during the Chinese New Year and seize money for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring violations (multiple red envelopes being transported on behalf of multiple relatives). Chinese nationals coming to the United States during the Chinese New year celebrations are probably going to be targeted by customs to make sure that they are reporting any amount over $10,000 in currency they are transporting into the United States, or if they fail to report, customs will seize their money and tell them to file a petition to get it back.

Customs seized my money! What do I do now?

If you have had money seized by customs 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, Las Vegas, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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?

 

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?

Customs Seizes $409,000 in Unreported Currency

Customs in Arizona seized a particularly large amount of unreported currency for what appears to be bulk cash smuggling offenses (that is, concealing cash so as to evade the reporting requirement) and failing to file a currency and monetary instrument report (CMIR) for amounts being transported over $10,000. Presumptively, since the individuals involved in the transportation of the money seized by Customs were involved, there is probable cause that these events were linked to some sort of illegal activity.

Every time currency is seized Customs asks the district attorney’s office if they want to prosecute. In this instance, the government is likely going to decide prosecute and the people are would face criminal charges. If it turns out the money was from legitimate source and she had a legitimate intended use, this situation was completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if they are ultimately not found guilty of a crime, they will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if they wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

(Tuesday, January 07, 2014) Tucson, Ariz. — Two women, a 36-year-old Mexican national and a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, were arrested Sunday in separate incidents for attempting to smuggle unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through ports in southern Arizona.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers conducting outbound inspections at the Port of Nogales selected a vehicle driven by a Nogales, Sonora, Mexico woman for further inspection and found $301,000 in unreported cash hidden in a wheel-well of her vehicle. The cash was seized.

Earlier in the day at the Port of Douglas, officers referred a Ford SUV for further inspection where they found $108,000 in unreported U.S. currency concealed in the center console.The vehicle and cash were processed for seizure.

Both women were arrested and referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have had cash seized 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?

Customs in Philadelphia Seizes Money for Violation of Currency Reporting Laws

A customs news release relates the tale of two travelers who had their money seized by customs at the airport for a failure to report the currency they were transporting. As you will read, the father and son were travelling together and therefore customs lumped the currency each of them were carrying together. The story does not explain how much cash was found on each person individually, but it could have a bearing on whether or not seizure was proper and even if it was, it could affect the penalty that is owed through the customs mitigation guidelines for currency seizures.

This story raises questions in my mind of structuring and who needs to make the report when more than one person is transporting more than $10,000 across the border. I would not be surprised if customs also alleges a structuring violation in the CAFRA notice of seizure document. These folks should hire a customs lawyer to help them get their seized currency back from customs. On to the story:

(Tuesday, December 31, 2013) Philadelphia – An Israeli father and son learned a very difficult lesson Friday at Philadelphia International Airport after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $27,648 that they failed to truthfully report to officers.

The two men, who arrived from Cancun, Mexico, repeatedly reported to CBP officers that they possessed about $6,000. CBP officers conducted a currency verification and determined that the pair were in possession of $19,020 in U.S. dollars and 5,850 in Israeli shekels for a combined total of $27,648 in U.S. or equivalent foreign currency. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The currency reporting requirement applies to US and foreign currency. Foreign currency is counted in USD at the prevailing exchange rate, so you have to be careful].

Neither man was criminally charged. [EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a civil customs money seizure so they can file a petition to try to get get their money back.] CBP officers seized the currency and released both men to continue their visit.

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  in U.S. dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments. [EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is, like many news releases, incorrect. The reporting requirement is only for more than $10,000 U.S., equivalent, or other instruments]

“CBP derives no great pleasure from seizing travelers’ currency. However, there are consequences for failing to comply with U.S. currency reporting laws,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “We hope that all travelers are honest with CBP officers and truthfully declare currency or other things that they are bringing to the U.S.”

Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing names as neither subject was criminally charged.

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.

Too bad for these folks, but they can act quickly, hire a customs lawyer, and respond appropriately to try to get their money released. If you have had cash seized 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?

Dulles CBP Seizes Over $13K in Unreported Currency

Customs does not stop seizing money from travellers at airports just because it’s the holiday season. On December 26, customs seized over $13,000 from a Ghanian man who failed to report transporting more than $10,000 from the United States at Dulles airport. The link is here. The serves as a reminder that the currency reporting requirements apply to persons transporting money both into or outside of the United States equally.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $13,585 from a Ghanaian citizen Thursday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who was boarding a flight to The Netherlands, was interviewed by CBP officers. During the interview CBP officers explained the currency and monetary instruments reporting requirements and asked him numerous times how much money he was travelling with. He declared verbally and in writing possessing $8,700. A subsequent search produced a total of $13,585. The $13,585 was seized with $185 being returned to him for humanitarian relief.

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.

CBP officers advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his seized 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 Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.”

In addition to currency enforcement, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items.

If you have had cash seized 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?