Tag: failure to report

$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.

$42k Cash Seized at Detroit Metro Airport en route to Philippines

Detroit Metro Airport is a hotbed for traveler’s who are bringing cash into or out of the country. Very frequently, these travelers do not properly report having more than $10,000. Yesterday, the Director of Field Operations for Detroit CBP tweeted about a cash seizure that was not publicized in a news release (but should have been!).

The tweet, which you can see below, is rich in images. Apparently, a woman was trying to get about $42,000 to the Philippines but said she was only carrying $5,000. That, alone, is a reason for seizing the money — it is a violation of the currency reporting requirements, otherwise known as a failure to report cash.

But more problematic is where the money was found once officers decided she was not being truthful and decided to conduct a currency verification. The money was “concealed in books & clothes,” which is going to allow CBP to infer an intent to conceal the money from CBP when it is combined with her statement that she only had $5,000. Of course, the money was seized by CBP at Detroit airport.

Now, in my experience, the woman will probably have an innocent explanation for why she had the money hidden in books and clothes. Usually, there are justified fears of having the money stolen when traveling internationally, especially with lay-overs, and long flights. The penalties for bulk cash smuggling can be steep.

Have you had a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro Airport?

If you have a customs money seizure at Detroit Metro airport, don’t do it yourself. Cash seizure cases are often packed with with difficulties and unforeseen challenges. Instead of risking forfeiture and the total loss of your money, do the smart thing and call us for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of the free customs money seizure legal guide we publish on this website.

$35,000 Seized by CBP at Dulles Airport on its way to Turkey

Dulles CBP Seizes $35k from Turkey-bound Traveler

On July 31, Dulles CBP seized more than $35,000 from a woman traveling to Turkey.

Unfortunately, story states that she only declared having $5000 when she was first stopped. When they searched her bags they found a total of $35,016.

This is a big no-no. Especially in Dulles Airport, not reporting money combined with later discovery of the money in clothing or baggage will typically result in allegations of “bulk cash smuggling”.

When bulk cash smuggling is alleged and proven, CBP can keep at least 50% of the money as a penalty, rather than a usual fixed the dollar amount for the range of value in currency seized. The story follows:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized more than $35,000 from a woman traveling to Istanbul, Turkey on Friday for violating federal currency reporting laws.

CBP officers encountered the woman, a U.S. citizen, as she boarded her flight. Officers cited the currency reporting law to her and she reported that she possessed $5,000. During an examination of her carry-on bag, CBP officers discovered an additional $30,016 for a combined amount of $35,016.

CBP is not releasing the woman’s name since she was not criminally charged.

“Customs and Border Protection officers offer travelers opportunities to accurately report all currency they possess, and also ensures that the traveler fully understands federal currency reporting laws as well as the consequences for failing to comply,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to enforcing our nation’s laws and to protecting our citizens against people and things that could cause us harm.”

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.

Cash Guns and Drugs Seized by Detroit Customs

Cash Seized by Detroit CBP, with Guns & Drugs

Cash continues to be seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection at the Port of Detroit, as the tweet from the Director of Field Operations below shows. In this case, the seizure of the money is likely for reasons other than failure to report the cash, but probably for bulk cash smuggling or violations related to money laundering or illegal activity (drugs/gun trafficking, etc.).

Here’s a tweet from the Detroit DFO (Director of Field Operations) for CBP:

This is a reminder that even if money is properly reported to CBP, they can still seize it for other reasons, with sufficient cause for seizure. In this case, someone traveling with cash, guns, and drugs is pretty obviously up to no good.

Has CBP Detroit Seized Your Cash?

If CBP Detroit seized your cash, we can help you just live we’ve helped over 425 people get back their seized money over the past 10 years. Read our helpful customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

British Pounds and USD Seized by CBP at Dublin, Ireland Pre-Clearance

Passenger Fails to Report British Pounds at Dublin Pre-Clearance, CBP Seizes

CBP Pre-Clearance operations in Dublin, Ireland, seized $61,000 worth of British Pounds that was being taken to the United States (without reporting it) by a traveller. It’s an interesting story because this seizure by United States Customs & Border Protection took place in Dublin, Ireland.

The story says its a seizure of money for not reporting it (i.e., undeclared cash), but if the sign in the background is to believed, the money was also smuggled (i.e. hidden, bulk cash smuggling).

This is possible because CBP operates “pre-clearance” centers where you go effectively go through U.S. customs before ever leaving country/airport you are travelling from. Back in 2006, before I knew anything about pre-clearance, I was processed through CBP’s Dublin pre-clearance center. It really caught me off guard to see uniformed CBP officer’s in the middle of Ireland.

Have you had money seized at CBP in Dublin Pre-Clearance?

If CBP in Dublin Pre-Clearance 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 their’ 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.

CBP Seizes $45k Currency and Vehicle in Laredo

Though money seizures from traveler’s have slowed at the nation’s airports due to the pandemic, such is not the case at our nation’s land-borders, especially with Mexico. As an example, today we bring our customs law blog’s audience Customs seizure of $45,000 in unreported cash heading to Mexico about a month ago. The story was also picked up by Breitbart (why this run-of-the-mill seizure merited their attention I can only guess).

In this case, not only the currency was seized, but also the vehicle. The people involved were not arrested, however. The seizure of the vehicle might mean that they suspect more was going on than just some people traveling with cash that they did not want to report; it could also be seized because it is what the cash was smuggled inside of… that is called bulk cash smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers working outbound operations seized over $45,000 in undeclared currency in a single enforcement act over the weekend.

“CBP’s national security mandate is complex, ranging from Anti-Terrorism to more traditional counter drug operations,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “This seizure of $45,157 is a direct reflection of our continuous commitment to enforce federal currency reporting requirements.”

On Friday, April 11, officers assigned to outbound operations referred a 2020 Toyota Avalon traveling to Mexico for examination. Upon physical inspection of the vehicle and subject’s personal belongings, packages containing $45,157 of undeclared currency were discovered. The vehicle and currency were seized by CBP.

The vehicle was seized and the case was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Has Laredo CBP seized your cash?

If CBP in Laredo 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.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer's uniform, featuring the seal of the agency.

Top 10 things to know after a U.S. customs (CBP) money seizure

1. You should expect a CAFRA notice of seizure.

After a customs money seizure, you should expect to receive a CAFRA notice of seizure in the mail. This is different from the custody receipt for seized property you you should’ve received.

2. U.S. Customs is only required to “send” a notice of seizure in 60 days most of the time.

After the U.S. customs seizes money they must send a notice of seizure. In most cases, CBP is not required to confirm it was received, only that it was sent.

3. If CBP sends the notice of seizure and you don’t get it, or its late, your case will suffer.

Someone who has had customs seize cash usually has 30 days from the date on the CAFRA notice of seizure to respond to get money back administratively, or 35 days to take the case to court by filing a CAFRA seized asset claim form. If you do not receive the notice of seizure from Customs, the clock to respond and get your seized cash back from customs is still ticking. Waiting passively for CBP to send the CAFRA notice of seizure will jeopardize your case.

4. You can choose how your case will be handled through an election of proceedings form.

An election of proceedings form is enclosed with the notice of seizure. You must choose an option, sign and return the form as directed to contest your cash seizure case with customs. You should get a free currency seizure consultation before deciding how to proceed to get seized cash back from CBP.

5. Your case will go to court only if you or CBP seeks judicial forfeiture.

Typically the only way you can get your customs money seizure case before a judge is by properly filing a CAFRA seized asset claim form that is signed by you. The detailed instructions for this step are in the notice of seizure and the election of proceedings form.

6. An administrative petition for return of seized cash isn’t an apology letter or explanation.

If you choose to file an administrative petition for returned of seized cash it should not be in the form of an apology letter or explanation to Customs. A notice of seizure is a legal document and requires a legal response. If you admit to a crime or violation there is no way to take it back. If CBP chooses to criminally prosecute you, you will not be able to say you are innocent.

7. You must prove the money was legal.

Whatever election of proceedings option you select, you will have to prove the money seized by CBP was legal and came from a legitimate source. This is most typically done by including supporting documents like affidavits, tax returns, contracts, profit and loss sheets, bank statements, tax returns, business registration certificates, and proofs of employment or income with the administrative petition (if chosen as the option). Be careful not to undershare or overshare with Customs, or accidentally or unknowingly disclose other violations of the law.

Even if you prove the cash seized by CBP was from a legitimate source, you also have to prove that it was going to be used for a legal purpose. This can be a trip itinerary, proof of expenses, medical bills, leases, and other documents.

8. You must be patient; processing times vary by port, sometimes taking a year or more.

If you choose an administrative petition, offer in compromise, or claim, the process can take very long; sometimes a year or more. Doing everything right the first time helps prevent unnecessary delays.

9. Statements made to CBP can be used against you.

It is likely that when you were detained by CBP after the money seizure that you were read your “Miranda rights” and told that you had the right to remain silent. Any statements you made before you were detained and after you were detained and read your rights can be used against you.

10. You may be charged with a crime.

Failure to report cash to customs, structuring cash transactions, and bulk cash smuggling all carry with them civil and criminal penalties. You can be charged either civilly, criminally, or both.

$17,200 of seized cash spread out on a metal table

San Antonio CBP Seizes $32k Cash in 2 Incidents

The travel restrictions in the United States due to coronavirus have severely limited travel, resulting in a decrease in CBP cash seizure activity due to decreased volume of travel. This is particularly true of air travel, and even the U.S Canada Border. However, that’s not as true at the southern border which is not hit as hard as the northern part of the country (especially Michigan and Chicago, where our offices are located).

In January, CBP reported on two cases where travelers’ from Mexico had money seized totaling about $32,000. The money was seized for cash structuring violations in both cases, which can result in increased penalties if legitimate source and intended use of the seized cash is proven.

The total amount seized from the travelers reached more than $32,000. This currency was seized at San Antonio International Airport CBP officers seized $17,200 in unreported currency when a pair of travelers refused to provide a truthful report.

“There is no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring in or take out of the U.S.,” said San Antonio Acting CBP Port Director Jose Mendiola. “The only requirement is that travelers must complete a Currency Reporting Form when traveling internationally with currency valued at $10,000 or more.”

According to Mendiola, the currency is not limited to U.S. dollars. “Currency is any monetary instrument including foreign coins, travelers’ checks, and gold. Basically any negotiable instruments whose collective value reaches $10,000 or more.”

Mendiola added that this requirement also applies to passengers travelling together and carrying currency that exceeds $10,000 dollars. When passengers split up the currency amongst themselves to avoid reporting it that is currency structuring.

Currency structuring led to a seizure, Jan. 22, when CBP officers inspected a pair of Global Entry travelers arriving from Mexico. A 60-year-old citizen of Mexico declared $9,915 and his 44-year-old companion, also a Mexican citizen, declared $4,800. Both passengers completed a Customs Declaration Form declaring those amounts. However, when CBP interviewed the pair they admitted that they divided the money before boarding their flight and that the currency belonged to only one passenger. The final amount seized was $14,807. CBP also revoked both travelers’ Global Entry memberships.

Not both of the travelers above last their global entry membership because of their alleged failure to report cash and cash structuring, which is a common practice by CBP. More significantly though is what might happen in the future; permanent loss (forfeiture) of all of the money, or a steep penalty (which could be 50% or more of the total amount seized).

The second seizure occurred Jan. 23, when CBP officers inspected another pair of travelers who arrived from Mexico. These passengers initially claimed to be traveling alone. The 26-year-old Mexican national claimed to be traveling with $9,000 and completed a Customs Declaration Form reporting that amount. CBP officers later encountered a 25-year-old Mexican citizen who declared traveling with $8,200 and signed a Customs Declaration Form reporting that amount. During CBP processing the pair admitted that they had divided the currency before boarding the flight and decided to enter the CBP processing area separately. Total amount seized in this instance was $17,200.

Nationwide, in fiscal year 2019, CBP seized $68,879,080 in currency. Fiscal year 2020 through Jan. 23, currency seizures are at $20,808,879. In the Houston region, which includes San Antonio and Dallas, currency seizures reached over $1M and have increased 54% over the same time last fiscal year.

Has San Antonio CBP seized cash from you?

If San Antion CBP seized cash from you, we urge you not to try to get the money back on your own. You will not be happy with the outcome. 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.

$11097 seized by CBP displayed by Dulles airport CBP

Dulles CBP Seizes Cash from South Korean

We return to a familiar theme: cash seizures by Customs, at Dulles airport. This story (original here), relates the seizure of little more than $1100, for at least a failure to report (although the discovery of $5,097 in her baggage after verbally declaring only $6,000, will allow CBP to make the allegation she was smuggling bulk cash).

Here’s the storyt;

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized illicit steroids in international mail and unreported currency from a traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport during the weekend.

A South Korean woman, who is a U.S. lawful permanent resident, reported to CBP officers that she possessed $500. Officers explained currency reporting requirements to the woman and she amended her declaration to report that she had $6,000. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $11,097 in her baggage. CBP officers seized all the currency and released the woman. She arrived on a flight from Seoul on Sunday.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

Has Dulles CBP seized your money?

If Dulles CBP seized your money, we urge you not to try to do it yourself. You will not be happy with the outcome. 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.

Dulles CBP Seizes $19000 in Smuggled Cash

In what is ominous to me, CBP in Dulles says they “continue to encounter travelers who attempt to smuggle unreported currency out of the United States.” By smuggling, they mean bulk cash smuggling. And at Dulles airport, for sure, bulk cash smuggling (watch our bulk cash smuggling video here) means they will be trying to keep 50% of the seized money as a penalty, even if legitimate source and intended use are proven.

It’s ominous to me because Dulles CBP is just one of the toughest CBP ports around the country to get money back from, and when you can get it back, the penalties can be very high. The ominous quote is from a recent news releases about a couple heading to Morocco with $19,000, who only reported $8,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport continue to encounter travelers who attempt to smuggle unreported currency out of the United States.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country.

In the latest seizure, a couple destined for Casablanca, Morocco on December 28 acknowledged that they understood federal currency reporting requirements and reported verbally and in writing that they possessed $8,000. CBP currency detector dog Cato alerted to their carry-on baggage and officers discovered additional currency. In total, CBP officers discovered $19,651. Officers seized $19,000 and released $651 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and allowed them to continue their trip.

Has Dulles CBP seized your money?

If Dulles CBP seized your money, we urge you not to try to do it yourself. You will not be happy with the outcome. 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.