Tag: cash

$3,700 in counterfeit cash seized by CBP from an Argentinian woman laid out on a metal table presented by a CBP officer

CBP Seizes Over $72K in Undeclared Currency in Florida

Today, a story came out of Orlando, Florida, about a pretty large cash seizure. The story — which is light on the details about where they were from or where they were going — is a classic case failure to report combined with a bulk cash smuggling offense.

It is a failure to report because they did not file the FinCen 105 upon entry or departure with the customs officer in charge of the airport. It is also a failure to report because when stopped, they made an inaccurate declaration as to the amount seized; the reported first $15,000, then $51,000, but were ultimately found with $72,000.

It will likely be seized because the money was not reported — and mis-reported — and also hidden from view, such as someone might hide it prevent to discovery by CBP. These two elements — failure to report and hiding — will allow CBP to presume that the money was hidden with the intent it not be reported to CBP, which is the essence of a bulk cash smuggling offense.

Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Florida reminds travelers of the requirement to report currency amounts of $10,000 or more to CBP when traveling to or from the United States. CBP officers seized over $72,000 in unreported currency from a traveler at Orlando International Airport (MCO) for failing to declare this week.

The individual initially said they possessed $15,000 to CBP officers and further misstated the amount as $51,000 in writing. CBP officers subsequently discovered bundles of cash inside a backpack.

International travelers who arrive or depart the United States in possession of more than $10,000 or equivalent foreign currency are required to report all currency to CBP officers and complete a Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) form.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe and may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Have you had money seized by CBP in Orlando?

If CBP in Orlando 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.

Undeclared and smuggled currency sewn into the lining of under was seized by U.S. Customs at Boston Logan Airport

CBP Seizes Cash Hid in Underwear in Boston

After handling nearly 300 incidents of cash seizures by U.S. Customs & Border Protection, very little surprises me. So, it comes as no surprise to me at Boston Logan Airport, CBP discovered almost $5,000 sewn into the lining of a woman’s underwear.

The $5,000 they found in her underwear was part of a larger amount being transported; almost $27,000 in all. The story says law the cash was seized for a failure to report, but this is also a textbook case of bulk cash smuggling.

Likewise, the story does not say if either of the couple was criminally charged. Criminal charges for bulk cash smuggling, and failure to report cash to CBP, is possible. Here’s the full story:

BOSTON. — On November 8, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Logan International Airport discovered $4,900 in undeclared currency sewn inside an Indonesian national’s underwear.

The female passenger arrived with her 63 year-old husband on a flight from Doha, Qatar. During a secondary examination the couple was asked to declare any currency and stated they had approximately $12,000. A patdown and search of possessions by CBP Officers discovered $4,900 sewn into the 63 year-old female passenger’s underwear. The search also uncovered more than $20,000 in US currency and $2,000 in Canadian currency in the couple’s possession.  In total, CBP seized nearly $27,000 in undeclared currency from the two travelers.

“This situation is a reminder that passenger’s should be forthcoming with our Officers,” said Area Port Director Linda K. Brown.  “CBP Officers are highly skilled individuals and are committed to enforcing the laws of the United States at all our ports of entry.”

The undeclared currency was seized pursuant to Title 31, U.S. Code, Section 5317 for violation of Title 31, U.S. Code, Section 5316, failing to declare over $10,000 in currency or monetary instruments.

A few months back we posted a video showing some more real-life customs cash seizures at Boston Logan Airport. Go check it out.

Have you had cash seized at Boston Logan airport?

If you’ve had cash seized at Boston Logan airport, 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.
CBP Counting Seized Money on Steel Table

CBP Philadelphia Seized $152k in Unreported Cash

The last time we wrote about how CBP Philadelphia seized cash was more than 3 years ago. Cash seizures do not happen too frequently at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), but they definitely do happen.

As proof, recently CBP Philadelphia conducted two cash seizures, with the total value being over $150,000. The two men, apparently in two separate incidents, were traveling to Turkey and Ghana. The story is light on details and follows the typical format, including the 2017 cash seizure statistic that on a typical day, CBP seized $265,205.

Here are the (scant) details on the CBP Philadelphia cash seizure:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $152,342 in unreported currency from two men who recently departed Philadelphia International Airport.

On Saturday, CBP officers seized $105,842 from a man destined to Ghana who initially claimed that he possessed $60,000.

On April 1, CBP officers seized $46,500 from a man destined to Turkey who initially claimed that he possessed $30,000.

In each case, CBP officers afforded the travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully report all currency.

CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none was criminally charged. Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States.  Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

“Customs and Border Protection encourages all travelers to be completely honest and report all their currency during an inspection with a CBP officer.  Consequences could be severe, including seizure of all currency and possible criminal prosecution,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Area Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “The best way for travelers to hold onto their currency is to fully comply with our nation’s currency reporting laws.”

Has CBP Philadelphia seized your cash?

If CBP Philiadelphia seized your cash at PHL airport, you should act quickly to ensure that your rights to get the money out of seizure and forfeiture are not lost. You should educate yourself on the process by reading our customs money seizure guide, or contact us directly for a consultation. Our experience can help you just like the many, many others we have already helped.


Stacks of bills totaling $163,130 in unreported currency seized by CBP officers at Hidalgo International Bridge

CBP Confiscates $163,130 Cash at Hidalgo Bridge

CBP officers recently seized a lot of cash — $163,130, to be exact — from a 34 year-old U.S. citizen from Yakima, Washington, who was attempting to leave the United States for Mexico in a taxi. In his baggage, CBP officers found 11 packages of cash. The money was not only not reported to customs, but it was also concealed. Here’s the full story:

On March 21, CBP officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge conducting outbound examinations encountered a 34-year-old man, a United States citizen from Yakima, Washington traveling in a taxi as he approached the exit lanes, heading towards Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. After referring the taxi passenger for further inspection, officers discovered 11 packages concealed in his luggage containing a total of $163,130 in unreported currency.

“This was a great interception by our CBP officers,” said Port Director Severiano Solis, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “We would like to remind the traveling public that if they are transporting currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 that they need to declare the currency to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. Failure to declare currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 may result in seizure and/or arrest.”

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S., however, if the quantity is more than $10,000, they will need to report it to CBP. “Money” means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, travelers’ checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Again, this is not just a failure to report/declare cash, but also bulk cash smuggling. In most cases, if you’re hiding money you’re up to no good. But even if you have good intentions, the very act of hiding the money is itself illegal.

CBP seizes ammo and $9,995 cash, make criminal charges

Channel 4 Valley Central news picked up on a seizure of ammunition and some cash at the Hidalgo International Bridge last Wednesday. The story is noteworthy because it involves the seizure of less than $10,000…. by about $5 bucks.

Who travels with $9,995? Someone who has structured their currency transaction so that they would not have to file a currency transaction report on FinCen 105 and report their cash to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, that’s who.

And what’s wrong with traveling with $9,995 if you desire to avoid the hassle of reporting the money to CBP? Everything, because it’s against the law! That’s called unlawful cash structuring. Let’s have a look at an excerpt from the criminal complaint:


It is somewhat suspicious but, his explanations have a ring of truth to it. Nevertheless, exporting ammunition from the U.S. (and thought not charged with it… structuring a cash transaction to evade the reporting requrement) is illegal, and therefore, a crime. And at the end of the day, that’s the reason he was charged; he’s not been charged with intending to use the ammo or the cash for any nefarious purpose (even if CBP believes that he did so intend).

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Officers seized more than 400 rounds of ammunition and $9,995 at the Hidalgo bridge on Wednesday.

Espinoza “provided CBPOs with a negative declaration for currency, weapons and ammunition,” according to the criminal complaint.Officers search Espinoza’s vehicle and found $9,995 cash — $6,620 underneath a battery cover inside the engine and $3,375 stuffed in an envelope, according to the criminal complaint.

They also found 400 rounds of ammunition.

“Espinoza claimed the U.S. currency was meant to purchase vehicles from a local auto auction company in the McAllen, Texas area, but he did not purchase the vehicles,” according to the criminal complaint. “He stated that he hid the U.S. currency in the engine compartment to conceal it from Mexican Customs officials and the cartel because they would take it from him if they knew he had it.”

Has your cash been seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection?

If CBP seized cash from, learn more about what your options are from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide; and can take advantage of the free currency seizure consultation we offer by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$3,700 in counterfeit cash seized by CBP from an Argentinian woman laid out on a metal table presented by a CBP officer

CBP at DFW Airport Seizes Counterfeit Cash

When is a custom seizure of $3,700 news? When the money is counterfeit. Here’s an interesting story from CBP about some fake $100 bills headed for Salt Lake City, Utah, from Argentina from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The woman’s punishment for possessing the counterfeit cash? Seizure of the money by CBP and expedited removal (that is, instant deportation) to Argentina, and very likely revocation of any visa and future inadmissibility to the United States. CBP seizes not only unreported, smuggled, and structured cash for violation of the federal currency reporting regulations, but also counterfeit cash. We’ve wrote about previous efforts to import counterfeit cash that resulted in CBP seizures in the past: like Hell money imported into Detroit from Vietnam, and counterfeit checks seized in Chicago, and then the counterfeit cash seized in Detroit, and over $120,000 in counterfeit cash seized at JFK, and many, many more instances you can find by searching this customs law blog.

Here’s the full story from CBP:

DALLAS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport intercepted 37 counterfeit $100 dollar bills that were being transported by an Argentinean woman.

The passenger was attempting to make entry to the United States as a tourist and in her possession were the $100 dollars bills wrapped in cellophane.

Early Monday morning, an Argentinean female passenger arrived at DFW seeking entry as a tourist with her final destination salted [sic] for Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon her arrival, CBP officers selected the passenger for a secondary inspection. During a secondary inspection of her belongings, a stack of $100 dollar bills was found wrapped in cellophane. When unwrapped, the bills produced a strong, uncommon, chemical odor. At first glance the currency appeared legitimate however, a closer look revealed the absence of fine-line detail and intaglio printing, printing technics [sic] associated with U.S. currency.

“This interception of counterfeit currency, that would have made its way into the U.S. commerce, is indicative of the commitment and attention to detail our officers pay on a daily basis,” said O’Ruill McCanlas, Acting Area Port Director, Area Port of Dallas. “Had this currency been introduced into our economy, someone down the line would have unknowingly exchanged this counterfeit money, tried to use it or even gifted it to someone else.  We will take every opportunity to intercept this type of transnational criminal activity.”

After further examination of the currency, the 37 $100 dollar bills were seized and turned over to United States Secret Service (USSS).

The passenger was taken into custody by CBP and after further investigation the passenger was processed for Expedited Removal and returned to Argentina.

Did Detroit CBP seize cash from you?

If CBP seized cash from you Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Why Immigrants Have So Much Cash

I have always had a great respect for immigrants. Half of my my family – wife included – were either born or live overseas, and the vast majority of my law firm’s clients are also immigrants to the United States or are foreign-born and permanently live overseas. So if I didn’t like and respect immigrants, I’d be pretty miserable. But, lucky for me, I’m quite happy.

As a natural born U.S. citizen, of course, I usually think like an American. If I don’t always think like an American, I at least understand how most Americans would think on any particular topic. So when I talk about my work with currency seizures by Customs — about people traveling with more than $10,000 cash — most Americans are incredulous.

They ask, “Why travel with so much cash?” “Where do they get the money?” and “HOW did they save so much cash?” Most Americans consider it suspicious, and unlikely.

Conversely, many of my (immigrant/foreign born) client’s will say things like, “It’s not a lot of money!” with all seriousness. I’ve also had clients tell me they just don’t feel comfortable unless they have at least $10,000 on them when they travel. And I’ve had clients say sarcastically, “Is $10,000 a lot of money?”

So my point is: many (most) immigrants and foreign-born are as surprised as Americans are about saving and traveling with so much cash as are Americans thinking $10,000 or more is a lot of money to save.

Why do I mention this? The foregoing is just a segue into my introducing a news story about how most Americans could not even come up with $1,000 in cash to cover an emergency, which is available here in full. I quote the introduction here:

NEW YORK (AP) — Two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to an exclusive poll released Thursday, a signal that despite years of recovery from the Great Recession, Americans’ financial conditions remain precarious as ever.

These financial difficulties span all income levels, according to the poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Seventy-five percent of people in households making less than $50,000 a year would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill. But when income rose to between $50,000 and $100,000, the difficulty decreased only modestly to 67 percent.

Even for the country’s wealthiest 20 percent — households making more than $100,000 a year — 38 percent say they would have at least some difficulty coming up with $1,000.

In other articles on this topic, we wrote about how Americans might not flinch about having $10,000 in debt! Read Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizure.