Tag: forfeiture publication

A September 7 2018 notice of seizure and intent to forfeit cash seized at Detroit Metropolital airport.

Detroit Airport Cash Forfeiture Notices: September 7 2018

Last Friday, Customs published a notice last Friday, September 7, 2018, for cash that was seized at Detroit airport only 3 days earlier, on September 4. We, at Great Lakes Customs Law, monitor these notices on a weekly basis because, inevitably, we need them to help our clients who have been forced to abandon cash.

This notice seems highly unusual, as it usually takes several days for information to get from the CBP officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport to the administrative and enforcement wing of CBP — Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) office — at the McNamara Federal Building. Even after it is delivered to FP&F, I strongly suspect that it takes a few days to overcome bureacratic inertia and get it over to the people at forfeiture.gov (which, I believe, is run by the DOJ).

Here’s the text of the relevant notice:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: September 07, 2018
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: October 07, 2018
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: November 06, 2018

DETROIT

2018380700135201-0001-0000, Seized on 09/04/2018; At the port of DETROIT AIRPORT; U.S. Currency Retained; 527; PC; Valued at $48,777.00; For violation of 31 USC 5317(c)(2), 31 USC 5316(a)(1)(B)

It is very curious to me that this seizure and the publication of the intent to forfeit was “fast-tracked” in a matter of only 3 days between seizure and publication.

Is Detroit CBP forfeiting your cash?

If CBP in Detroit seized and is forfeiting your cash, you have rights to get your cash back. 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.
A copy of the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit featuring the case of the incomplete check seized by CBP

Detroit CBP Forfeits Seized Cash by Notices

There have not been many news releases by CBP about cash seizures, but just because it’s not hitting the news doesn’t mean anything has changed. For example, CBP in Detroit is still seizing cash at Detroit Metro Airport (and of course, to a lesser extent, the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel). To get a glimpse of their activity, we can look to the notices of seizure and intent to forfeit postings that the government is required to make on the foreiture.gov website.

Once CBP takes money, there are several ways to try to get it back. Most of these are shown on the election of proceedings form. If they can’t successfully get the money back, or they choose to file a claim, the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit is published.

From mid-December until now, here are all the cases where money was seized and the notice has been published, along with my comments on each case:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: January 12, 2018
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: February 11, 2018
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: March 13, 2018

DETROIT, MI
2018380700037501-001-0000, Seized on 01/05/2018; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 323; EA; Valued at $31,261.00; For violation of 31USC5316, 31USC5317

Above, the cash was seized at Detroit Metro on 1/5, and the posting was made on January 12. Typically, CBP sends out a notice of seizure letter to those with a known interest in the money and then, if not responded to within 35 days, the notice gets published online. So this short period of time between seizure and publication only makes sense to me if the person who had their money seized abandoned the cash or, immediately they filed a claim.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: January 05, 2018
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: February 04, 2018
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: March 06, 2018

DETROIT, MI
2017380700124801-001-0000, Seized on 05/26/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 263; EA; Valued at $26,200.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31USC5324, 31CFR1010.340(A)

Above is a more expected situation, where the money was seized in May 2017 (for failure to report and for structuring), but the first publication of the intent to forfeit was not until January. This tells me that it is very likely that the administrative resolution was unsuccessful (e.g., they filed an administrative petition and it was unsuccessful). That usually means a bad lawyer, no lawyer, or insufficient documentation showing legitimate source and use of the seized cash. Some people give up at this point, which is usually a poor decision. You’ve got to keep trying and file a claim, but you’ll meet with the same fate unless you get an experienced attorney.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: December 29, 2017
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: January 28, 2018
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: February 27, 2018

DETROIT, MI
2017380700064601-001-0000, Seized on 01/25/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 250; EA; Valued at $25,000.00; For violation of 19USC1607, 19USC162.45, 19USC983(A)(2)

The also looks like the administrative options failed. But this one puzzles me another reason, because the reasons listed for seizure don’t appear to be right. All of the law or regulations cited there are for the summary forfeiture statute, which only describes the process used for forfeiting property that is valued at less than $500,000. In other words, those laws do not describe a crime but instead just direct the government to publish notice in a certain way. It looks like someone at CBP sent the wrong information in for publishing.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: December 15, 2017
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: January 14, 2018
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: February 13, 2018

DETROIT, MI
2018380100011101-001-0000, Seized on 11/09/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY; 878; EA; Valued at $20,106.00; For violation of 18USC981(A)(1)(C), 18USC1956(C)(7)(A), 18USC1961(1)(D),21USC841,21USC881,, 21USC846

2018380700026301-001-0000, Seized on 12/01/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 520; EA; Valued at $48,293.00; For violation of 31USC5316, 31USC5317, 31USC5332

Finally, the first of the two listed here was seized not for a failure to report the cash, but instead because the money was suspected to be involved in some illegal activity. The case number tells me that this occurred at one of the land border crossings in Detroit, where such a situation is more likely to occur than at the Detroit Metro Airport.

The final case shows the money was seized on December 1, and the notice was published on December 15. That tells me that the person, rather than electing administrative proceedings, chose to file a claim and set their case up for decision by a judge. Typically, that’s a bad idea; it’s usually better to give administrative remedies a chance first, but not always. It could be someone made this decision without a lawyer, or hired a lawyer who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Is Detroit CBP forfeiting your cash?

If CBP in Detroit seized and is forfeiting 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.
A Cash Seizure at O'Hare Airport Chicago is pictured in this Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit

Cash Seizure at O’Hare Airport in June 3 Notice

A cash seizure at O’Hare Airport in Chicago was recently published for administrative forfeiture by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. As said, the seizure ocurred at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and the reasons for seizure were a failure to report cash to CBP at O’Hare airport and bulk cash smuggling.

A decision timeline at CBP in Chicago on a currency seizure petition typically takes anywhere from 6 to 18 months, depending on which paralegal is handling the case and the issues raised in the petition and the supporting documentation. Thus, the fact that this cash seizure occurred on March 12, 2016, at O’Hare airport tells me that either someone did not receive the personal notice of seizure letter, they have chosen not to respond to it, their petition was legally defective, or they have (or will soon) file a claim.

A claim removes the case from CBP and brings it before a judge in Federal District Court. Our Chicago customs law office is located conveniently within a few blocks of both CBP’s Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures branch and the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

When is better to file a claim with CBP and not an administrative petition? That is a question that should only be answered after consulting with a customs lawyer experienced in getting cash seizures returned from CBP because each case is a little different. We wrote about that issue a little bit in our article called Understanding CBP’s Election of Proceedings Form.

The excerpt from forfeiture.gov is reproduced, in part, below:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START:
PUBLICATION/POSTING END:
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM:

June 03, 2016
July 02, 2016
August 02, 2016

CHICAGO, IL
2016390100060801-001-0000, Seized on 03/12/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 1,331; EA; Valued at $42,440.00; For violation of 31USC5317(C), 31USC5316, 31USC5332

Have you had a cash seizure at O’Hare Airport Chicago?

If you experienced a cash seizure at O’Hare Airport Chicago you can learn more about the process from 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.

Back-to-back Detroit airport money seizures are listed in this May 27 Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit published by CBP

Back to back Detroit airport money seizures

Detroit CBP seized a total $40,249 in back-to-back money seizures at Detroit airport on March 29, 2016 for failure to report and illegal cash structuring. The excerpt from the notice of seizure and intent to forfeit gives only the most essential information that allows for someone with an interest in the property to file a claim.

The fact that administrative forfeiture proceedings have begun (as signified by the fact it is being published in this way on forfeiture.gov) probably represents a bad decision by the people who experienced the Detroit airport money seizures, or by their attorney. Immigration attorneys and general practitioners have no business doing the work of a customs lawyer in responding to a money seizure by CBP at Detroit airport or elsewhere.

What are some reasons people choose the administrative forfeiture route?

It could be lack of evidence to prove legitimate source or intended use, failure to actually receive the personal notice of seizure letter, fear of criminal repercussions, failure to understand the difference between the different election of proceedings options… and other reasons related to ignorance of the law about money seizures.

Here’s the excerpt from CBP’s forfeiture.gov posting:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START:
PUBLICATION/POSTING END:
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM:

May 27, 2016
June 25, 2016
July 26, 2016

2016380700066701-001-0000, Seized on 03/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 265; EA; Valued at $20,558.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31CFR1010.340(A),31USC5324

2016380700067101-001-0000, Seized on 03/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 235; EA; Valued at $19,691.00; For violation of 31USC5317,31USC5316,31CFR1010.340(A),31USC5324

Have you experienced a Detroit airport money seizure?

If you experienced a Detroit airport money seizure by U.S. Customs & Border Protection  you can learn more about the process from 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.

A legal notice of seizure and intent to forfeit (CAFRA)

CBP Chicago & Detroit Forfeiture Notices for April 15

When CBP seizes money it is subject to forfeiture. Typically, Customs sends a letter notifying all interested persons that the property has been seized, is subject to forfeiture, and some options for getting seized money back (not all options, by the way). If administrative remedies to get seized money back are not successful, publication of a notice of forfeiture is made by CBP.

Publication of a notice of intent to forfeit used to be done in newspapers, until the government wised up and made a website specifically to give notice of forfeitures. So now, notices of seizure and intent to forfeit are published at www.forfeiture.gov, and depending on the Port involved, usually occurs about once each week.

The property listed in those notice of seizure and intent to forfeit is what no one wants (abandoned), no one knows about (lack of actual service of notice of seizure by mail), or which they could not successfully get back administratively (they could not provide they had a right to it, or it was somehow illegal).

In CBP Detroit’s April 15 notice of seizure, there’s a total of $64,480 up for potential forfeiture for failure to report, money laundering, fraudulent identification documents, and fraudulent account access devices.

  • 2015380200017901-001-0000, Seized on 07/11/2015; At the port of PORT HURON, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 846; EA; Valued at $64,480.00; For violation of
    31USC5317,31USC5316,31CFR1010.340(A),18USC981,18USC1956,18USC1028,18USC,
    1029,18USC1341,18USC1344

We recently opened an office location in Chicago better serve those who’ve had money seized at O’Hare airport. The notices for Chicago do not appear to be for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring though. But Chicago’s April 15th notice of seizure and intent to forfeit has a total of $1,525,176 up for forfeiture.

  • 2016390100014001-005-0000, Seized on 11/10/2015; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; US CURRENCY; 2,150; EA; Valued at $34,445.00; For violation of 21USC881,19USC1595A(A)21USC841,21USC846
  • 2016390100028101-002-0000, Seized on 12/16/2015; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 1,183; EA; Valued at $32,390.00; For violation of 18USC981,18USC1956
  • 2016390100042101-001-0000, Seized on 01/27/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; BULK USC; 12,476; EA; Valued at $259,935.00; For violation of 18USC981,18USC1956
  • 2016390100049101-001-0000, Seized on 02/09/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; BULK USC; 28,092; EA; Valued at $625,080.00; For violation of 18USC981,18USC1956
  • 2016390100067201-001-0000, Seized on 04/09/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 5,926; EA; Valued at $99,969.00; For violation of 18USC981,21USC881,19USC1956
  • 2016390100067301-002-0000, Seized on 04/09/2016; At the port of CHICAGO, IL; U.S. CURRENCY; 22,853; EA; Valued at $473,357.00; For violation of 18USC981,21USC881,18USC1956

$1.5 million is, to most folks, a lot of money. To the government, it might be a drop in the bucket or a digit to the right of a decimal point in the budget. But whether government, rich, or poor every can agree — any little bit of cash helps. If no one files a claim and wins a portion of the seized money back, it will go to the government to support its operations.