Tag: customs airport cash seizure

Stacks of cash that Houston CBP seized from travelers leaving the country

Houston CBP Seizes $100K Cash from Travelers

It’s been almost a year since CBP reported on Houston airport cash seizures (the last story is here), even though CBP taking cash at Houston airport is pretty common. As with all CBP money seizures, the money is most typically taken by CBP for a failure to report it, structuring it, or smuggling it. In this story, a couple was carrying $110,204 to Taiwan — but only reported $50,000. Here’s the full article:

HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized over $100,000 Dec.7 after travelers made repeated inaccurate reports about the amount of money they were carrying.

“International travelers can carry an unlimited amount of money traveling into or departing from the U.S., but are required to report currency over $10,000,” said Houston CBP Acting Port Director Steven Scofield. “Those who refuse to comply with the federal reporting requirements face the risk of having the currency seized.”

Two passengers, both U.S. citizens, traveling from Houston to Taiwan were selected for a baggage inspection. The travelers were given multiple opportunities to truthfully declare the amount of money they were carrying. The couple reported carrying just over $50,000, however, CBP officers found $110, 204 in the travelers’ respective wallet, purse, backpack and jacket.

The currency was seized by CBP as the travelers failed to properly report the money as required by U.S. law. The travelers were released to continue on with their travels.

Too bad, and so sad. This cash seizure could have been complete avoided by properly reporting the cash to customs before (or even at the time of) departure.

Was your money seized at Houston airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP you can learn more 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.

Dulles Airport CBP Took Cash from Husband and Wife

Dulles Airport CBP Seizes $25k from Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound travelers

Cash seizures at airports have spiked in Detroit, and also apparently in other regions, such as Dulles airport. As a case in point, here is yet another story about CBP seizing cash from a traveler at the airport in Sterling, Virginia: Washington Dulles International Airport.

Here is the full story (original here):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $25,000 Wednesday from travelers departing Washington Dulles International Airport for violating federal currency reporting regulations.A Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound family reported to CBP officers that they possessed $9,000. The father then signed a U.S. Treasury form reporting they possessed $15,000.A CBP inspection discovered a total of $19,754 in U.S. dollars and 5,085 Euros, combined equivalent to $25,616 in U.S. dollars, in possession of the three-person family.

CBP officers seized the currency and returned 985 Euros ($1,135 U.S. dollar equivalent) to the family for humanitarian purposes.  No charges were filed.  Officers released the family to continue their travel.

And here is what CBP Dulles is saying about the up-tick in airport currency seizures on their watch:

This is CBP’s third outbound currency seizure in two weeks at Dulles.  CBP officers seized $29,698 from a Qatar-bound family July 9 and $18,900 from a Ghana-bound man July 11. Read more about those unreported currency seizures.

“These continued currency seizures clearly illustrate the consequences of travelers not making truthful declarations to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles.  “The best way to keep all of your currency is to honestly report it all to Customs and Border Protection officers during inspection.”

They go on to get the reporting requirement, wrong, again (hint: it is more than $10,000, not $10,000 or

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.


It is also true that none of the money is taxed, at least by Customs. If it is considered “income,” it may be taxable. But if you’ve already paid income taxes on the money, then it is definitely not taxable again by the IRS.

Has CBP seized your cash at the airport?

If CBP seized your cash at the airport, read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

A picture of a CBP officer watching travelers at an airport. CBP Officers at Philadelphia International Airport seized $26,000 from a couple going to Greece for a failure to report the cash

CBP’s Big Fat Greek Cash Seizure

In Philadelphia, CBP did what you might call a big, fat, greek cash seizure, when they seized $26,000 from a couple who were leaving the United States for Greece.

The couple reported $17,000, but for some reason they did not report the other $9,000, which was found in “multiple envelopes.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $26,000 from a Greece-bound couple who violated federal currency reporting regulations at Philadelphia International Airport Wednesday.

During an outbound inspection, the couple reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $17,000. During an inspection, CBP officers discovered multiple envelopes that contained a combined $27,052. CBP officers provided the couple a humanitarian release of $501 and seized the remaining $26,551.

Officers released the couple to continue their travel to Greece.

Why would the couple fail to report the extra $9,000 to CBP? There are some things we do not know for certain. For example, the CBP officer could have led the couple to believe they only needed to report their own money, not money they were carrying for others; they could have asked them how much money they were carrying “in your carry-on”, when the other money was stashed away in a purse. And they could have panicked.

The story says that the couple was allowed to continue their travel to Greece. Most of my clients who’ve had money seized from Customs have to re-book for another flight, because the process of counting the money and seizing results can be a substantial delay. Sometimes my client’s don’t continue to their destination even if they can, because they have no money to travel with.

I’ve had clients who’ve taken a month off work for a vacation to their homeland, only to have their money seized with no source of funds to continue on the trip until they get their cash back. When CBP seizes cash, it is very often a heartbreaking, stressful, and traumatic experience.

But we are here to help! If you want to learn more about responding to a customs cash seizure in Philadelphia or anywhere else, read our trusted customs cash seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

An image of cash lined within the pages of magazines seized by Chicago CBP at O'Hare airport

$150k Seized at O’Hare Airport by Chicago CBP

Since we opened up our Chicago office to help people who have had cash seized at O’Hare Airport by U.S. Customs & Border Protection, we’ve had little in the way of CBP news releases about currency seizures there. But, I remembered seeing a story about some cash seized for bulk cash smuggling and failure to report at O’Hare back in 2011.

I remembered it because it involved more than $125,000 that was hidden in various parts of a family’s luggage and personal effects they were traveling with; like money hidden within the pages of books, magazines, and photo albums… here’s the full story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at Chicago O’Hare International Airport seized $125,849 in bulk U.S. currency on March 1.

Among other passenger, CBP officers selected a family, traveling to Pakistan onboard Etihad Airlines, for an outbound currency verification examination. Prior to departure, CBP officers explained the currency reporting requirements and the husband declared the family was departing with only $17,000. Subsequently, a full baggage examination was conducted after a routine inspection revealed over $35,000 in his carry-on bag.

During the CBP examination, currency was discovered concealed in several locations including $5,200 in the pages of a magazine, $19,300 hidden behind pictures in a photo album and $4,500 in a pair of children’s pants. Currency was located in all carry-on baggage belonging to the family with an additional $7,800 found in their checked bags. The total amount of undeclared currency seized was $125,849.

“Everywhere the officers looked they kept discovering more concealed currency,” said Janice Adams, CBP acting director of field operations in Chicago. “Money was hidden in every conceivable location. This is an outstanding seizure by our CBP officers working outbound operations at Chicago O’Hare.”

This, my friends, is more than a failure to report; it is bulk cash smuggling. In other words, it was the intentional concealment of the cash for the purpose of not having to report the cash to CBP in Chicago. Bulk cash smuggling has much higher rate of forfeiture than a “simple” failure to report. Anyone who has had money seized for bulk cash smuggling should give us a call for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of our free customs cash seizure legal guide.

If you have had cash seized at Chicago O’Hare Airport or Midway airport, give our customs attorney a call at (773) 920-1840, or click the contact buttons on this page to send us an e-mail or request a call back.

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

Detroit CBP Cash Seizure: Last Call!

On July 8, CBP Detroit issued a notice of intent to forfeit $15,554 that was seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on May 9, 2016, for a violations of the unlawful structuring and the border cash reporting requirements. The notice of seizure and intent to forfeit publications on forfeiture.gov or the legal equivalent of the bartender yelling “Last call!” at a bar and turning on the lights.

As with a similar story we posted days ago, because this notice is being published likely means that someone chose to abandon cash seized by CBP, or that they never a notice of seizure by mail. Because someone missed the deadline, the notice, or abandoned the property, CBP has thus begun administrative forfeiture proceedings.

Here’s the notice:

DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: September 06, 2016

2016380700077501-001-0000, Seized on 05/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED;  200; EA; Valued at $15,554.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

Anyone with a legal interest in the property can submit a claim, with some limitations. Completing a claim and properly submitting it to CBP is the last chance for anyone with an interest in the property to try to get it back.

After money has been seized by CBP, it is best to consult with and proceed with the advice of a law firm that specializes in customs laws and cash seizures; there are number of mistakes that can be made in electing to proceed with making an offer in compromise, filing a claim, an administrative petitioner, or otherwise responding.

If you want to learn more about responding to a customs cash seizure, 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.

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.


A picture of the more than $150,000 cash taken by CBP officers in Hidalgo, Texas.

Cash Taken by CBP in Hidalgo

Over $150,000 in cash was taken by CBP officers in Hidalgo, Texas, recently, when a 33 year old U.S. citizen who, apparently, decided to take some spending money with him on a trip to Mexico. Or not.

Like always, this cases where cash is found hidden in a vehicle it is almost certainly bulk cash smuggling. It’s very likely that, if you’ve got $150,000 hidden in your vehicle and wrapped in plastic bundles, you’re up to no good. But not always; maybe it’s rental car, or borrowed from someone else who likes to hide cash. It’s not likely, but I have former clients who were involved in stranger scenarios.

One thing I’d like to point out, as I must always do in these stories about cash taken by CBP… bulk cash smuggling, as described here, is when money is hidden with the intent to not report it to CBP. This does not appear to be a simple failure to report! Bulk cash smuggling is far more serious in terms of consequences and in the difficulty and skill involved in attempting to get the money back. The story:

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) working outbound operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a man from Roma, Texas after discovering $150,202 in unreported U.S. currency within the vehicle he was driving.

CBP officers working outbound operations at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on April 11, encountered a 33-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a silver GMC Terrain SUV at  the lanes the exit into Mexico. After the primary inspection, the driver and vehicle were referred for further examination and it was there that officers discovered four packages of U.S. currency hidden within the cargo area of the SUV.

CBP OFO seized the unreported currency, the vehicle and arrested the driver who was then released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation.

 “Our ability to deploy officers at the outbound lanes (going into Mexico), allows CBP Field Operations to target travelers who may be attempting to circumvent reporting requirements of merchandise or currency,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “People who choose not to comply with export regulations may be conducting business in an illicit manner and CBP will assert its authority to safeguard against these types of violations.”

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more to a CBP officer upon entry or exit from the U.S. or to conceal it with intent to evade reporting requirements. Failure to declare may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Have you had cash taken by CBP?

If you’ve had cash taken 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.

A chart showing Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in 2015

Detroit Customs Seized Cash from 540 Travelers in FY 2015

Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in fiscal year 2015 and racked up a second-best-in-the-nation finish for total amount of currency seized of $10,067,095 ($10 million). The full report is here. The

A chart showing Detroit Customs seized cash from 540 travelers in 2015
Fiscal year 2015 enforcement statistics for the Detroit Field Office of CBP showing Detroit CBP seized cash from 540 travelers

total amount of people passing through the ports of administered by the Detroit field office was 15,813,555.

We don’t have exact statistics handy, but according to a 2013 story it seems the $10 million in cash seized from travelers this year is among the best years for Detroit in terms of cash seizures. The impressive figure means that the Detroit office of U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized more cash from travelers than either of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, even though those states are often in the news for high value currency seizures (often connected with the illegal drug trade).

During fiscal year 2015, the Detroit Field Office which includes the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the International Bridge in Sault. Ste. Marie, processed over 2.3 million commercial trucks, representing 21 percent of all the international truck traffic across land borders into the United States. Canada continues to be the number one trading partner with a total of $101 billion dollars in trade coming through the Detroit Field Office alone.

[ . . . ]

On the enforcement front, the Detroit Field Office had the second highest seizures in unreported currency across the nation with over $10 million seized from travelers who refused to properly report the amount of currency they were carrying. There were 961 arrests, 72 firearms seized and 588 narcotics and drug seizures.

Great work, CBP Detroit!

Has Detroit customs seized cash from you?

If Detroit customs seized cash from you, 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 Seized Cash From Travelers in 2015

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) seized cash from travelers in lower numbers in 2015 compared to 2014. In its Border Security Report (which can be read in HERE), CBP says it “seized more than $129 million in unreported currency through targeted enforcement operations.” “Targeted enforcement operations” is just a fancy way of saying that they seized cash from travelers at a border crossing at an airport.

What is noteworthy is that CBP cash seizures from travelers is way down from last year – by about 54%. In 2014, the total amount of cash seized from travelers was $237 million. It breaks down the number for four southwest states:

  • Arizona = $2,102,688 (way down from $3,475,523 last year)
  • Texas = $9,171,935 (slightly up from $7,732,830 last year)
  • New Mexico = $975,880 (slightly up from $969,830 last year)
  • California = $7,739,869 (way down from $12,908,976 last year)

In 2013, CBP seized cash from travelers in the amount of about $106 million. So the numbers are less than last year’s staggering numbers — by a lot, but more in line with the totals from the year before last. It will be interesting to see what 2016 holds travelers who get their cash taken by CBP. We will not now until the beginning of CBP’s fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2016.

We should also note that these numbers very likely include not only money seized for “unreported currency” but also for currency that was structured or part of a bulk cash smuggling offense.

CBP seized cash from travelers like you!

If CBP seized cash from travelers like you, 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.


The back of a CBP officer's shirt reading "CBP Federal Officer" in bold yellow letters.

Newark Airport Cash Seizure from Pilot

Customs seized cash at Newark airport from a commercial airline pilot for bulk cash smuggling. That’s the story reported by the Mumbai Mirror, which states that the pilot tried to smuggle $200,000 in without reporting it to customs and by concealing it inside a newspaper when he attempted to make entry at Newark airport after a trip to Mumbai.

He was arrested and is now being criminally charging him with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements. According to the story, he faces up 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 as a consequence for his false statements and bulk cash smuggling at Newark Airport. The full story is here:

An American commercial airline pilot has been arrested for trying to smuggle in nearly $200,000 in undeclared currency at a Newark airport shortly after arriving as a passenger on a flight from Mumbai.

Anthony Warner, 55, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was arrested at the Newark Liberty International Airport by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and charged with bulk cash smuggling and making false statements.

Officials said that US immigration and customs enforcement agents would not known that Warner was carrying the cash wrapped in a newspaper, besides 10 rings, earrings and other jewellery if the global entry kiosk computer system was in order. A physical screening of baggage led to his arrest. Warner, a commercial pilot, possessed a global entry card that allows for quick clearance when entering the US, officials said.

The complaint said Warner declared he was bringing into the country nothing of value except for $180. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the US Attorney’s office said. Warner was released on $100,000 bond after his initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Steven C Mannion.

The reason I share this story is to strongly warn people, whether customs seized cash at Newark airport or any other airport, if it is alleged the cash seizure was for bulk cash smuggling, call us for a free currency seizure consultation because you risk losing all of your money, even if not criminally charged!

It’s interesting that he was not only bulk smuggling cash but also some rings and other jewelry. It certainly sounds a little bit suspicious. But I’m not sure what I suspect, other than the story is a little strange. Why would an airline pilot risk customs seizing cash at the airport, his jewelry, loss of his job, and prison time if this was not connected to some other criminal activity?

Did customs seize cash from you at  Newark airport?

If you’ve had money seized at Houston airport by CBP 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.