Dulles CBP does it again, and again.. and again, again, again, and again, and… again. That is, they sezied almost $170,000 in cash at Dulles airport for not reporting cash to Customs before leaving the country.
The 7 cash seizures by Customs range over a 2 week period, from July 13 to August 1. Travelers were taking cash to Belgium, Ghana, Turkey, Qatar, and Serbia. In each case, the travelers were stopped by CBP before boarding their plan and incorrectly reported the amount of money they were traveling, when asked.
Note that, if you’re boarding your flight and you haven’t already made the report, even if you make an accurate report when stopped, you’ve already committed the violation of failure to report. Also, in these cases, not filing the report is only one of the potential charges; additionally, the money could be seized for bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses, leading to a higher penalty. Worse yet, CBP can criminally indict any person for bulk cash smuggling, structuring, failing to report, and also making false statements to federal officials (i.e., reporting the wrong amount of money).
STERLING, Va., — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $169,431 during seven recent violations of federal currency reporting laws at Washington Dulles International Airport.
It is not against the law to carry large amounts of currency in or out of the United States. Arriving or departing travelers may carry as much currency as they wish. 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 where they enter or leave the country.
Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, as illustrated by the following cases, and subjected to potential criminal charges.
- CBP officers seized $21,735 from a Cameroon woman and son boarding a flight to Belgium August 1. The family reported $9,700. Officers discovered additional currency in envelopes in a carry-on bag. Officers released $735 to the family for humanitarian purposes and released the family.
- CBP officers seized $30,721 from a U.S. man boarding a flight to Ghana July 30. The man verbally reported $9,000 then wrote down that he possessed $11,000. Officers discovered additional currency in white envelopes in a carry-on bag. Officers released $721 to the man for humanitarian purposes and released him.
- CBP officers seized $26,177 from a U.S. family boarding a flight to Turkey July 29. The family reported $21,000. Officers discovered additional currency concealed inside children’s socks and in cell phone cases. Officers released $1,177 to the man for humanitarian purposes and released him.
- CBP officers seized $34,585 from a U.S. man and his Ghanaian wife boarding a flight to Ghana July 23. The couple reported that they each possessed $10,000. Officers discovered additional currency during an inspection. Officers released $1,585 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and released them.
- CBP officers seized $18,390 from a U.S. couple boarding a flight to Turkey July 21. The couple reported $9,090. Officers discovered additional currency in an envelope in a carry-on bag. Officers released $390 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and released them.
- CBP officers seized $20,645 from a U.S. man and his Jordanian wife boarding a flight to Qatar July 19. The couple reported $14,020. Officers discovered additional currency in envelopes in the woman’s purse. Officers released $390 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and released them.
- CBP officers seized $17,178 from a Kosovo woman boarding a flight to Serbia July 13. The woman reported $8,000. Officers discovered additional currency in luggage and carry-on bags. Officers released $1,578 to the woman for humanitarian purposes and released the family.
In each case, CBP officers read the federal reporting requirements to the travelers and solicited their understanding of the law. Officers afforded the travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully report all currency they possessed, both verbally and in writing.
“Customs and Border Protection outbound inspections protect against unreported exportations of bulk U.S. currency, which often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity, or that fund transnational criminal organizations,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “These currency seizures are a direct reflection of CBP’s continuing commitment to enforcing all U.S. laws, including federal currency reporting laws, at our nation’s international ports of entry.”
Dulles is one of the more aggressive ports when it comes to seizures, penalties, and criminal indictments. If you’ve had money seized by Customs, you should hire a lawyer.