Tag: ethiopia

Money in envelope seized by Dulles CBP

Dulles CBP Seize $340K in Cash from 6 Travelers

It was a busy week for customs officers at Dulles airport, seizing money from travelers for violating the currency reporting requirements. The press release from CBP, below, highlights a total of six seizures made in a single week totaling more than $339,000, which all violated the currency reporting requirements in one way or another (i.e., failure to report, structuring, and/or bulk cash smuggling).

Dulles airport is a hub for traveler’s heading to Africa. Around DC, there are large communities of people from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Cameroon. They make good money in the United States, and then try to take some of that money back home. Often times for building projects or investment opportunities in their native countries.

Here’s the rest of the cash seizure stories frrom CBP:

STERLING, Va. – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $340,000 during six outbound seizures of unreported currency in one week at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

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.

The seizures included:

      • $19,762 from a couple destined to Sierra Leone on September 17;
      • $68,830 from a Paris-bound man on September 16;
      • $19,720 from a Paris-bound man on September 15;
      • $35,402 from a Paris-bound man on September 10;
      • $97,223 from a second Paris-bound man on September 10; and
      • $98,762 from an Ethiopia-bound man on September 9.

The currency seizures totaled $339,699.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

CBP is not releasing any of the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged. All are either U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents. An investigation continues.

“These are substantial seizures of unreported currency, and seizures that could have been avoided if the travelers would have been truthful in reporting their total currency to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “As the nation’s border security agency, CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to enforcing all U.S. laws at our nation’s borders, including federal currency reporting laws.”

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.

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.

 

$98,762 in U.S. dollars seized by CBP stacked in front of a Dulles airport Washington DC sign

Dulles Customs Seizes Hidden Bulk Cash to Ethiopia

Customs officers at Dulles Airport seized nearly $100,000 this week from a man who only reported traveling with $14,000.

The problem from customs perspective is that he truly had $99,000, and of that amount, almost $80,000 was hidden in his bags, within shoes and pants pockets. The refusal by the man to report the correct amount of cash he transported along with the location of the hidden cash within his baggage will easily allow customs to presume he intended to hide the money so that it would not be found. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Bulk cash smuggling, unlike simply inaccurately reporting cash, carries with it steep penalties starting at 50% of the amount of money seized, or in this case, nearly $55,000.

Cases at Dulles is always difficult when it comes to getting seized money back. They are extremely aggressive in processing cases and keeping a maximum penalty. In the nearly 450 cases we have handled, the only time we’ve had a client criminally charged after the seizure has been at Dulles Airport. The man was doing nothing illegal beyond not reporting the money.

That’s why the phrase “an investigation continues” that appears in this story would have me very worried if I were the person who had money seized.

Without further ado, and present the fuller story from customs, along with a picture, below:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $99,000 from a man traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday for violating federal currency reporting laws.

While conducting an outbound inspection on the Ethiopia-bound flight, CBP officers interviewed a U.S. lawful permanent resident who is an Ethiopian citizen. The man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed $14,000 and a subsequent examination of his carryon bag revealed $19,112.

Officers escorted the man to CBP’s inspection station and conducted a comprehensive examination of his baggage. Officers discovered an additional $79,650 concealed inside shoes and jeans pockets inside his checked baggage. Officers seized a total of $98,762 of unreported currency.

Stacks of $100 bills hidden in a shoe

CBP is not releasing the man’s name since he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.

“This is a significant currency seizure for Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Bulk currency being smuggled from the United States may be illicit proceeds from narcotics smuggling, counterfeiting, and other nefarious activities. CBP will remain steadfast in our commitment to intercepting these smuggling attempts and financially hurting transnational criminal organizations where we can.”

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.

* * * *

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.

Stacks of cash and a pile of envelopes seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Dulles Airport CBP seizes over $77k in cash

CBP at Dulles Airport in Virginia is taking more and more cash from travelers, and is spreading the news far and wide in news releases such as the one that follows. In this particular story, there is a story of SIX currency seizures in July that resulted in a seizure of cash of more than $150,000, all for a failure to file the currency report for more transporting more than $10,000.

As such, these CBP airport cash seizures were totally avoidable. It is legal to transport more than $10,000 in cash, but it’s illegal not to report the transportation of that cash. The airport cash report is required when leaving the country, and when arriving. It’s pretty simple, but you can read about it. Here’s the story as narrated by some fine CBP employee with knowledge of the facts:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $77,586 combined in three seizures of travelers flying international through Washington Dulles International Airport recently for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

CBP officers seized:

  • $20,211 from an Ethiopia-bound couple on Saturday. The couple reported $8,000 and then $11,600; however, a CBP currency canine alerted and CBP officers discovered additional currency in envelopes in a carry-on bag and purse, and in wallets each possessed.
  • $33,796 from a Burundi woman who arrived on a flight from Ghana on July 27. The woman reported $9,000. CBP officers discovered $32,765, 483 Ghanaian Cedi and 50 UAE Dirhams for a total U.S. dollar equivalent of $33,796.
  • $23,579 from a mother and son bound for Sudan on July 24. They verbally reported “less than $10,000,” and then wrote down $9,800. CBP officers discovered an additional $4,000 in a laptop case and multiple envelopes in a purse that contained a combined $10,579 for a total count of $23,579.

During each seizure, CBP officers permitted the travelers numerous opportunities to truthfully report their total currency, including having the travelers read and sign the currency reporting requirements, and make verbal and written declarations before officers conducted inspections.

 

Any airport cash seizure by CBP at Dulles airport brings with it great risk. To my knowledge, Dulles airport strictly enforces a penalty of 50% for anyone involved in a structuring or bulk cash smuggling offense; and they broadly interpret the laws of structuring and bulk cash smuggling.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash, 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.

 

An example of cash report for customs.

CBP Seizes $13K in Unreported Currency at Washington Dulles International Airport

A traveler bound for Ethiopa had $13,000 seized from him by U.S. Customs & Border Protection at Dulles airport a few weeks back. This story is part of the (seemingly) un-ending trend of currency seizures coming from Dulles airport lately.

The facts are largely the same as most of the other stories. A U.S. citizen attempts to leave the United States without first making the required currency report to Customs. The man probably thought he would not have to report it because — after all, you do not pass through Customs when leaving the country, only when arriving. But the currency reporting requirement applies equally to those entering the country and to those leaving the country.

During an outbound inspection, the man declared, both verbally and in writing, to CBP officers that he possessed $5,000; however, CBP officers discovered a total of $13,294 on his person and in his luggage.  The officers seized the $13,294, returning the equivalent of $424 in foreign and U.S. currency for humanitarian relief, and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.  The traveler was then released to continue his journey.

A verbal or written declaration gets you nowhere if it is inaccurate. What form did he make the written declaration on and why? No declaration is required for monetary instruments of $10,000 or less, so why would Customs make him complete a written declaration?

The only reason would be to have affirmative proof that he did not make a proper verbal declaration of the money by being able to say, “See, he also lied about it in writing. It is not our word against his. His very own handwriting — his written declaration — also proves him guilty.”

By obtaining a written declaration, Dulles may have a stronger case if they try to prove that the money is subject to forfeiture for bulk cash smuggling violations.Yes, watch out in Dulles for strict enforcement of Customs guidelines concerning seizure of monetary instruments for structuring and bulk cash smuggling offenses.