Tag: fy 2014

$39K in Unreported Currency by U.S. Customs at Houston Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes a lot of money. In the last fiscal year, customs seized more than $81 million dollars in “undeclared or illicit currency.” On June 6, Customs seized over $39,000 in cash from a traveler arriving from Nicaragua. The story says it was seized for a “failure to properly report currency” exceeding $10,000, however, the fact that the money was tucked away in the pockets of 3 different pairs of jeans could give Customs enough facts to allege that it was concealed for the purposes of evading the report requirement — otherwise known as bulk cash smuggling.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, June 6, seized over $39,000 after a traveler failed to properly report the money as required by U.S. law.

Customs Seizes $39k from Nicaraguan Traveler
Some of the money was stored in the pocket of the traveler’s clothing.

The traveler, a 39-year-old U. S. citizen, arrived from Managua, Nicaragua and was enroute to Los Angeles, California.

While conducting an enforcement operation, CBP Officers encountered the traveler, and asked if he was transporting more than $10,000 in either currency or other monetary instruments. The traveler reported he was transporting $7,800; however, a search of his luggage discovered U.S. currency tucked in the pockets of three pair of jeans packed in his suitcase. The total amount of currency seized was $ 39,162.

The currency was seized for failure to properly report currency in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000.

“International travelers are provided multiple opportunities to truthfully report the amount of currency they are carrying,” said CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “Those who refuse to comply with the federal reporting requirements face the risk of having that currency seized.

“There is absolutely no limit to the amount of currency a traveler can bring into or take out of the United State,” Perez added. “The only requirement is to report amounts that reach or exceed $10,000.”

Travelers report currency by completing FinCEN Form 105 and giving it to a CBP officer. Currency is not limited to U.S. currency, but includes all negotiable monetary instruments such as Traveler’s Checks, money orders and securities. A complete list of negotiable monetary instruments is available on FinCEN Form 105.

Some of that money might be connected to illegal activity but a lot of that money is also from innocent, arriving travelers, confused about the currency reporting requirement. This appears to be one of those innocent cases where, for whatever reason (be it panic, ignorance, or unfair questioning), he only reported $7,800 instead of the nearly $40,000 that he was carrying. Because Customs has not disclosed his name, it sounds as though criminal charges were not filed yet.

If you have had your currency seized, please 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

CBP Seizes $1.2B in counterfeits in FY 2014

In addition to currency seizures and drug seizures, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes counterfeit merchandise imported into the United States. CBP considers counterfeit interception to be a priority trade issue. Customs has released their annual statistics for 2014 wherein they breakdown what they seized throughout the past fiscal year. The report includes the total volume of seizures, value, and countries from which the counterfeit goods were exported. The summary from Customs is repeated below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) today announced the fiscal year 2014 results of an aggressive enforcement program to protect the United States from counterfeit and pirated goods. CBP and HSI are the components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

“Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical part of CBP’s trade enforcement mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “In 2014, strong partnerships with our federal enforcement counterparts, effective targeting of high risk shipments and frontline interceptions of cargo at America’s ports of entry produced more than 23,000 seizures of fake products worth an estimated $1.2 billion that could have cheated or threatened the health of American consumers.

[ . . . ]

In fiscal year 2014, there were 23,140 intellectual property rights seizures with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP of $1.2 billion, the value of the goods had they been genuine.  In addition, 144 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  CBP also enforced 44 exclusion orders in fiscal year 2014. Since 2007, CBP has identified intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade mission. Although IPR seizures declined slightly in 2014 from 2013, CBP recorded its third busiest year for seizures since 2005.

[ . . . ]

Wearing apparel and accessories continue to be the number one commodity classification based on number of seizures with 7,922 seizures or 28 percent.  Watches and jewelry are the largest commodity classification by value with an estimated MSRP of $375 million or 31 percent.

The People’s Republic of China remains the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized with a total value of $772 million, representing 63 percent of all IPR seizures by MSRP. Hong Kong ranks second with $310 million or 25 percent.

Tactical interagency collaboration with the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) resulted in 683 arrests, with 454 indictments and 461 convictions.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, 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 petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

US CBP Seizes $10.6M Cash in Caribbean in FY 2014

Last year, U.S. Customs & Border Protection — CBP — in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands seized $10.6 million dollars in unreported currency, smuggled bulk cash, or unlawful currency structuring violations. Last year I called that an overwhelming amount of seized currency.

Most of these customs currency seizures occur at airports, ferry crossings, etc. CBP for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported their annual fiscal year statistics for 2014 and this currency seizure number has more than doubled. That is more than overwhelming, it is tremendous… the story also compares currency seizures with those in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. All areas in which drug smuggling is pervasive.

In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBP officers and agents seized over 51,043 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of approximately 650 million and seized approximately $10.6 million in unreported currency in FY 2014, which runs from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.

But later the story says:

Furthermore, $8.4 million of currency interdictions were reported and over 80 firearms were seized.

$8.4M or $10.6M? Who’s counting over there?! And this is the same government that seizes currency for any mis-report who can’t get their facts straight for their news releases.

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
Port of Buffalo, N.Y. border crossing check point where cbp seized cash for currency reporting violations.

Port of Buffalo Customs Currency Seizures by the Numbers (FY 2014)

Last week the Port of Buffalo released its enforcement data for 2014. I do not have any other regional data from other ports to compare it to, but it is clear that there are far more customs currency seizures at the Port of Detroit than at the Port of Buffalo.

For the fiscal year 2014, the Port of Buffalo in New York seized $267,323 in a total of 22 currency seizures; on average then, each seizure would be about $12,100. In comparison, in the Port of Detroit in Michigan for fiscal year 2013, customs seized more than $5 million at places like Detroit Metro Airport, The Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. For the same period of time the national daily average of currency seizures by Customs was $650,000.

Has Buffalo CBP seized cash from you?

If Buffalo CBP seized cash from 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.