Tag: ghana

Picture of what the cash seized at Dulles airport looked similar to.

Dulles Customs Seizes $113k from 5 People

Dulles airport is a new hotbed for CBP cash seizures. And based on the volume of stories coming out from CBP about currency seizures they’ve conducted, they love to talk about. In fact, in the last 2 weeks CBP seized money from 5 different groups of people for “intentionally” violating the federal currency reporting regulations.

It’s curious that CBP should state that the law was “intentionally” violated, as intent has nothing to do with whether the law was broken (at least, in CBP’s interpretation of the law). The only thing that is require for a violation of the cash reporting law is a knowing transportation or more than $10,000 into or out of the country, not a knowing violation of the reporting requirement. It is, in the legal world, called a “bright line” rule. In other words, if you leave or enter the country with more than $10,000 and you do not report it, it does not matter why you did not report it, you’ve broken the law by the very transportation of the money itself.

Here is the whole story concerning the 5 recent seizures at Dulles, as told by CBP:

A handful of international travelers learned of the value of truthfully reporting all currency they possessed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport recently. That value came to about $113,000 in seized currency.

CBP officers seized a total of $112,819 during five seizures over the last 10 days for violating federal currency reporting requirements.  These currency seizures included:

  • $36,639 from a family departing Washington Dulles for Laos on October 25;
  • $14,221 from a woman departing to South Korea on October 24;
  • $22,034 from man who arriving from Ghana on October 22;
  • $17,946 from a man and woman departing to El Salvador on October 18; and
  • $21,979 from a man departing to Belgium.

In each incident, CBP officers allowed the travelers multiple opportunities to be truthful, and to read, understand and acknowledge the currency reporting law before officers inspected the travelers. In each incident, CBP officers found additional currency above what the travelers repeatedly claimed they possessed.

As customs stated, the total of these seizures exceeded the $73,900 that CBP officers seized from Serbian bound man on October 3. What’s up, Dulles CBP? Have your currency seizure reporting priorities just kicked up a few notches?

$45,000 of cash seized in envelopes by CBP laid out in 3 rows of 15 on on a wood table with a CBP logo

CBP Seizes $44k from Couple Flying to Ghana

What happens when you’re going to Ghana and you don’t declare your cash to CBP? Your cash is a Goner! Last week, CBP at Dulles Airport in Sterling Virginia seized $44,606 from a couple leaving the United States from Ghana.

According to CBP, the couple told CBP they only had $14,000…. that’s about $30,000 less than what they were carrying. If true, that is a pretty serious failure to report violation. No one forgets they are carrying $30,000 less than they have.

But there are always two sides to every story. In my experience, CBP occasionally has a way of justifying cash seizures if the facts later turn out not to support their reasons for seizure (like when family is traveling together and they think the money was intentionally structured). Here’s the story from CBP’s perspective:

In separate incidents on Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted an impostor who arrived from Ghana, and seized about $44,000 from a couple heading to Ghana.

[ . . . ]

Moments later, a CBP K9 alert led to CBP officers seizing a total of $44,606 in U.S. dollars and equivalent foreign currency from a Ghanaian couple who attempted to board a flight to Ghana. The woman was already on the flight when CBP officers interviewed the man. The Ghanaian man reported to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000. He then reported that his wife had an additional $5,000. CBP officers discovered the additional currency during a baggage inspection.

CBP returned $1,500 to the couple and released them to continue their journey.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, federal law requires travelers to report to CBP amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or equivalent foreign currency.

None of the three travelers was arrested. The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged.

“These are two very serious violations of U.S. immigration and currency reporting laws, and these travelers are very fortunate to avoid criminal prosecution,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “Customs and Border Protection hopes that these incidents are a reminder to all travelers to be truthful with CBP officers. The United States is a welcoming country, especially to those who respect our nation’s laws.”

Has CBP seized your cash?

If CBP 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.

Money Seized by CBP near D.C.

A Virginia man had money seized by CBP near Washington, D.C., last week when CBP officers seized $38,872 worth of money exiting the country at Dulles International Airport en route to Ghana. The story says CBP officers were conducting an “outbound enforcement operation” which is a fancy way of saying that, as passengers were boarding their flights and presenting their boarding tickets at the gate, CBP officers were standing by and asking how much money they were carrying and were ready to seize money from anyone misreporting it.

These encounters are often unexpected by travelers. Questions are sometimes asked informally without an explanation from CBP. These often prompts surprise, panic, and thoughts like “What business is it of you how much money I am transporting?” Rare is an explanation of the reporting requirement made (though it is not required).

The the CBP officer might questions like:

  • “How much money is in your bag?”
  • “How much money is in your wallet?”
  • “How much money are YOU carrying?”

A truthful answer to those questions could get you in trouble, because in reality what CBP seeks to find out is how much money are you transporting in your bag, wallet, on your person, and with other members of your group.

After you’ve answered the question, truthfully or inaccurately, CBP will then either pull you aside and count the money (a “secondary examination”), or present you with form 6059B to read and sign (sometimes they prepare the form with your verbal report and present it only for signature).

The form 6059B contains a detailed statement about when money must be reported to customs, and how. It also explains the penalty for not reporting money to CBP. If you fill out the form inaccurately and sign it, you’ve just broken the law and your money is now subject to seizure by CBP.

If you’ve ever had money seized by CBP, you know that the process is tilted in the government’s favor. That’s Great Lakes Customs Law is here — to help you get your money back for you. In any event, here is an excerpt from the story from CBP in Virgina:

A man was boarding a flight to Ghana and was selected for questioning by CBP officers who were conducting an outbound enforcement operation on the international flight.  The man completed a financial form, reporting $8,500 however; a total of $38,872 was discovered on his person.  CBP officers seized the $38,872 and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.

Did you have money seized by CBP?

If you had money seized by CBP, you can learn more from our trusted legal guide to a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.