Tag: fincen 105

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

$15k in Cash Not Reported to Customs at Dulles Airport, Seized

CBP seized $15,000 in cash that was being transported to Ghana from a traveler at Dulles Airport.

The story, quoted below, references some “travel tips” shared by CBP Dulles. Apparently, the ‘travel tips’ advise about “truthfully report[ing] all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.”

That’s a good idea, but the best idea is to report it to a CBP officer before inspection, as the law requires. 

In this money seizure encounter, a dog alerted the currency and CBP asked him how much he carried after they “explained the currency reporting requirements” (i.e., report what you carry if more than $10,000).

At this point, the violation of the currency reporting requirements has occurred. The money has not been reported to CBP, and the man likely is about to leave the United States. That’s all that’s necessary to violate the reporting requirement under 31 USC 5316.

The man reported he had $8,000, verbally and in writing.This is the man then digging himself into a deeper hole with CBP. Perhaps they would look past his initial failure to report if he accurately reported how much he was carrying when he was asked by CBP, after the dog alerted to money. Maybe, maybe not. But at this point, incorrectly stating the amount of cash you have on you is not going to end well; it will end in a seizure of the money.

The story, as reported by CBP, follows:

STERLING, Virginia — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued travel tips for international travel through Washington Dulles International Airport. Chiefly among those tips is for travelers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection. 

A traveler leaving for Ghana Wednesday learned that lesson when CBP officers seized $15,415 of unreported currency he had in his possession.

While working a departure gate at Dulles airport, a CBP currency detector dog alerted to a carry-on bag that a U.S. citizen man carried. Officers explained the currency reporting requirements to the man and the man reported verbally and in writing that he possessed $8,000. An examination revealed that the man possessed $15,415. Officers seized the currency and returned $115 to the man as a humanitarian release, and then released the traveler. 

It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in 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.

$20,000 in U.S. Currency stacked in piles after seizure by Customs at Boston Logan airport.

Customs seizures $21k cash at Baltimore airport (BWI)

Customs officers confiscated about $21,000 from a couple coming to the United States from Nigeria in early June. The cash seizure took place in Baltimore, at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

The story points out the potential criminal consequences of not reporting money, and also incorrectly states the law (again, saying “$10,000 or more” rather than “more than $10,000” as the requirement for reporting cash to CBP on FinCen 105).

The story, originally published here by CBP, is below: 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $21,000 of unreported currency Friday at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

A Nigerian couple, who arrived on a flight from London, reported to CBP officers that they possessed $15,000 in currency. Officers discovered an additional $5,850 in the woman’s purse. Officers seized $20,850 and then released $4,990 to the couple as humanitarian relief. Officers released the couple to continue their visit.

It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more [ugh! it’s more than $10,000] 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.

“Customs and Border Protection officers are highly trained to uncover illicit activity and they are committed to enforcing the laws of the United States,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “Unreported currency often can be proceeds from alleged illicit activity, or used to fund transnational criminal organizations and I commend our officers on this interception”.

CBP recently issued travel tips for international travel through BWI. Chiefly among those tips is for travelers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.

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.

CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong. On a typical day, CBP seizes an average of about $290,000 in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplishes during “A Typical Day.

 

Piles of cash seized by CBP officers at Philadelphia airport.

Philadelphia CBP Seizes $17k in Cash to Jamaica

CBP in Philadelphia seized almost $17,000 from a Jamaican national who is also a permanent resident of the United States. CBP does enforce the currency reporting requirement in Philadelphia, but based on my own experience, they do not do so very often. Therefore, this man is probably not a very lucky guy.

As the press release states, he reported only having $8,000 to CBP officer who asked him how much cash he was carrying, but they later discovered a total of $16,542 in his carry-on bag. He was not arrested.

If you have had cash seized at Philadelphia International Airport, you’re among the few. The last case I had in Philadelphia was in 2016, and the only other time before that was in 2015, despite having done nearly 350 cases at other ports/locations around the country. In both instances, the case number and timing of the seizure told me that CBP in Philadelphia seizes property at the airport from travelers probably less than 200 times per year.

But CBP at Philadelphia International Airport has had some big seizures. About a year ago we wrote about two customs cash seizures at Philly International Airport that totaled $152,000.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $16,542 in unreported currency from a Jamaica-bound man at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday. Here’s the story:

The man, a Jamaican citizen and U.S. lawful permanent resident, verbally told CBP officers that he possessed $6,000. Officers explained federal currency reporting requirements and the man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed $8,000. Officers discovered $16,542 in the man’s carry-on bag. Officers seized the currency and released the traveler.

It is perfectly legal to carry large sums of currency in or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000or more in currency [Editor: incorrect, “more than $10,000” is the requirement] 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.

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.

“When Customs and Border Protection officers encounter travelers who don’t properly declare or they conceal large amounts of currency when leaving the country, there can be links to transnational criminal organizations,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “The hard work and success of our officers demonstrates CBP’s commitment to disrupting and dismantling these groups and the illicit operations they conduct.”

CBP recently issued travel tips for international travel through Philadelphia International Airport. Chiefly among those tips is for travelers to truthfully report all currency they possess to a CBP officer during inspection.

CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong. On a typical day, CBP seizes an average of about $290,000 in unreported or illicit currency along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP accomplishes during “A Typical Day.

 

An image of cash seized by Customs at Dulles airport while traveling to Ghana

Dulles CBP Seizes $40k Cash Unreported

Dulles continues to be the leading source for news-releases pertaining to cash seizures for more than $10,000 for failure to report to Customs, or bulk cash smuggling, and the related offenses under Title 31 of the United States Code. In this particular story (original here), Customs seized $40,000 from a man who reported traveling with $25,000.

Upon making that report he completed a FinCEN 105 form (probably under some duress) for that same amount. At this point (as they always do), CBP conducted a complete search of his person and baggage to determine if he was telling the truth. As is frequently the case, he was not. In fact, they discovered another $10,000 in a white envelope and another $5,400 in some other places. Here is the full story:

STERLING, Va., — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $40,900 from a man boarding a flight to Ghana last Thursday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The man, who CBP has not named because he was not criminally charged, initially reported to officers that he possessed $500.  After officers advised the man of U.S. currency reporting regulations, the man presented three white envelopes that contained $25,000, and reported that much on a financial reporting form.

CBP officers then discovered a manila envelope with $10,000, an additional white envelope in the man’s backpack that contained $5,000, and $400 more in his wallet.  The combined currency equaled $40,900.

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.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash, beware that you stand to lose a lot of it because of their aggressive penalization of bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses. You should 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.

CBP Takes $230K in Unreported Cash in Texas

U.S. Customs seized almost $230,000 from a U.S. citizen leaving the United States. This is a different scenario from the usual airport currency seizure case we handle. In this instance, it appears that the people transporting (smuggling). To get the seized money back from Customs this person would need to show that the cash came from a legitimate source, had a legitimate intended use, and file a petition, make an offer in compromise, or file a claim. You shouldn’t decide whether to file a petition, make an officer in compromise, or file a claim until you’ve consulted with an attorney who is experienced in customs money seizures.
The relevant portion of the story is quoted below (full story is here):

On Sept. 28, CBP officers assigned to the Hidalgo International Bridge, working outbound operations selected a blue 2006 Honda Pilot for inspection. The 26-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas and the vehicle were referred for further secondary examination and it was during the course of the inspection that officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency hidden within a duffle bag in the rear of the SUV. CBP OFO removed 24 bundles of unreported U.S. currency totaling $230,753, which was seized along with the vehicle.

Picture of 24 bundles of unreported U.S. currency totaling $230,753.
Officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency hidden within a duffle bag in the rear of the SUV. CBP OFO removed 24 bundles of unreported U.S. currency totaling $230,753.

CBP OFO arrested the woman and then released her to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. “CBP Field Operations enforces both incoming and outbound laws and regulations, which includes the proper reporting of currency, be it from the United States or from any other country,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry

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.

If you have had currency seized from Customs do not try to respond yourself but hire our firm, because we know what we are doing and have successfully handled many cases like yours. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999. 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:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

Baltimore CBP Seizes Almost $28K in Unreported Currency from Maryland Man

CBP seized almost $30,000 in cash from a traveler at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport last week when he was leaving the United States to the United Kingdom. Many people are not aware the the currency reporting requirement for more than $10,000 applies to when you enter or LEAVE the country. He verbally reported $8,000, wrote down $5,000, then said the money belonged to others but nothing more than $8,000 in total was being transported.

What? If true, no wonder the officers became suspicious. When a story changes 3 times in less than a minute, there is good cause to believe someone is lying. If not true, well… that wouldn’t be the first I saw CBP relate their own version of events that differed vastly from what clients have described to me.

The salient portion of the story is quoted below (full story is here):

Picture of $27,773 seized from luggage.
CBP officers found a total of $27,773 on his person and in his luggage.

The man, who was boarding a flight to the United Kingdom, was selected for questioning by CBP officers who were conducting an outbound international flight enforcement operation. The man initially reported possessing $8,000 but completed a financial reporting form stating $5,000. After signing the form he stated he was also carrying currency for others, but that all the currency totaled less than $8,000. CBP officers found a total of $27,773 on his person and in his luggage. CBP officers seized the $27,773 and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.

If you have had currency seized from Customs do not try to respond yourself but hire our firm, because we know what we are doing and have successfully handled many cases like yours. If you have questions, please give us a call at (734) 855-4999. 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:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case

Detroit CBP: “Don’t Lose your Dough, Know Before You Go” – $8M and Counting

Detroit CBP seizes a lot of currency from arriving travelers for failure to report, structuring, or bulk cash smuggling offenses. How much is “a lot”? CBP in Detroit has seized nearly $8 million dollars in currency since October 1, 2014. This seems like more than previous years (reported here). While the following news release, cleverly titled “Don’t lose your dough, know before you go”  only explicitly deals with failure to report customs currency seizure violations, it very likely includes structuring and bulk cash smuggling offenses as part of this grand total:

DETROIT— So far during fiscal year (FY) 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) has seized over $7,900,000 in cbp money seizureunreported currency at ports of entry within the Detroit Field Office.

The transport of any currency and/or monetary instruments (i.e. cashier’s checks) over $10,000 must be reported to a CBP Officer upon arrival into or exiting the United States. Penalties can range from civil fines up to and including seizure of the currency and arrest.

“There is no limit as to how much currency travelers can import or export; however to avoid subjecting the money to seizure, it’s always best to report it and file the proper paperwork” said Christopher Perry, Director of Field Operations for the Detroit Field Office.

Currency and reporting laws were enacted to thwart bulk cash smuggling of drug trafficking organizations, terrorist finance networks and other criminal activities.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or 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:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  11. Statute of Limitations for Currency Reporting Violations
  12. Filing a Petition for Seized Currency (with Sample and Tips) with CBP
  13. Don’t Talk About Your Customs Currency Seizure Case