CBP seized over $70,000 from 3 travellers at Washington Dulles airport recently. This was reported yesterday by CBP (read it here), with some additional follow-up in an article at the Washington Post (read it here).
The Washington Post does an alright job of reporting why the currency was seized, but understandably mixes up its legal terminology; seizure is different from forfeiture. Likewise, a “simple” failure to report violation does not, in and of it self, give rise to a bulk cash smuggling violation. Failure to report is money is not reported, or is not accurately reported; bulk cash smuggling is when money is hidden on a person or in their effects with purpose and intent that, by hiding it, they will avoid the requirement, to file a currency report.
Here is the story from CBP. Notice no criminal charges were filed yet:
STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a combined $72,095 in unreported currency from three travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport over the past three days.
There is no limit to how much currency travelers may bring to, or take from the U.S. However, federal law requires travelers to complete financial reporting forms for any amount that exceeds $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.
The first seizure occurred Saturday when a U.S. lawful permanent resident who arrived from Iran reported verbally and in writing that she possessed $10,000. While inspecting the woman’s luggage, CBP officers discovered Euros equivalent to $27,525 in U.S. dollars and $2,135 in U.S. currency for a total of $29,660.
On Sunday, a U.S. citizen arrived from Dubai, U.A.E., and reported verbally and in writing that she possessed $10,000. While examining her luggage, CBP officers discovered a total of $20,435.
The final seizure Monday occurred during an outbound international flight enforcement operation. A man destined for Ukraine reported to CBP officers that he possessed $15,000 and completed a financial reporting form stating that amount. During a search of the man’s carry-on baggage, CBP officers discovered an additional $8,000. CBP officers seized $22,000 and released $1,000 back to the man for humanitarian purposes.
CBP officers seized all currency, a combined $72,095, and released all three travelers.
CBP officers provide travelers with multiple opportunities to truthfully report all of their currency. Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements risk having their currency seized, and potentially face criminal charges.
“Seizing a traveler’s currency is not a pleasant experience, but there are severe consequences for violating U.S. laws,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “We hope that these seizures are a lesson for all travelers that the easiest way to hold on to their currency is to honestly report it all to a Customs and Border Protection officer.”
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 your currency seized, please 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:
- Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
- Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
- Structuring currency imports and exports
- Is it $10,000 per person? Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
- Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
- Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
- Responding to a Customs currency seizure
- How do I get my seized money back?
- Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
- How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
- Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
- Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
- Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case