Tag: imports

Seattle Customs Seizures for Currency and Trademark Violations

Have you had your merchandise or currency seized in Seattle? You’re not alone. The annual fiscal year summaries have been released by the Port of Seattle, with the following statistics:

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailSeattle – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announces that more than 26.4 million travelers were screened for entry into the United States during fiscal year (FY) 2013 (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013) by the 1,364 officers and 122 agriculture specialists assigned to the Seattle Field Office (SFO). Among those travelers, CBP discovered $2.8 million in unreported currency, interdicted more than 767 pounds of illegal drugs, made 1,147 arrests, and seized more than 113,000 prohibited plant and animal products.

If you have had your money seized by customs, read visit our page that is devoted to understanding currency seizures to help you understand the process.

But, the news release deals not only with customs money seizures, either, but also with customs seized merchandise imported for violation of intellectual property rights, too. We have previously written articles on trademark infringement gray market goods and trademark infringement, which can help you understand the process more.

CBP continues to protect consumers by seizing prohibited, unlawful, or undeclared goods destined for the United States. [ . . . ] In Seattle, CBP officers and import specialists seized a shipment of handbags in November 2012 containing 644 items, including counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Versace purses with a manufacturer’s suggested retail value of nearly $100,000. [ . . . ]

Protecting consumers from hazardous products is another way CBP stands guard over the flow of commerce. CBP officers partnered with Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators in Seattle to seize various shipments of foreign-made children’s products containing excessive levels of lead; the unsafe imports included wearing apparel and necklaces, reindeer ornaments activity kits, magic coin tricks, and dart ball game sets. Another hazardous product targeted are toys intended for use by children under 3 years of age; two shipments totaling 4,000 cartons of plastic bath toys were seized as they posed a potential choking or ingestion hazard to America’s children.

If you have had money or merchandise seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount.

We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide.

Customs Seizes $19,800 at Border

Customs executed another customs money seizure at a Texas border crossing; this story just doesn’t happen at land borders like our shared border with Canada, but also at international airports. This particular tale of woe concerns a woman who had 3 vacuum sealed packages containing a total of $19,800 — that they were vacuum sealed would most likely indicate to Customs that this was not an inadvertent failure to file a currency and monetary instrument report, but rather an attempt to smuggle money without alerting the drug/currency-sniffing dogs to the presence of the money.

Eagle Pass, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Eagle Pass seized more than $19,000 in undeclared currency Thursday afternoon.

Large amounts of currency may be imported and exported with the proper documentation,” said Cynthia O. Rodriguez, CBP Port Director, Eagle Pass. “Failure to report international transit of $10,000 or more could mean forfeiture of funds and criminal sanctions.Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Seizing undeclared currency at ports of entry serves to deprive criminal organizations of their profits.”

Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, CBP officers at Eagle Pass International Bridge I encountered a pedestrian as she was exiting the United States bound for Mexico. During inspection, officers discovered the woman, a 22-year-old citizen of Mexico, had a large quantity of U.S. currency in her possession. Officers seized three vacuum-sealed packages containing a total of $19,800. The woman was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations for federal prosecution.

The reason your currency was seized by customs may be different. The vast majority of my client’s have had their money taken by customs at the airport or at the land borders because of miscommunication, ignorance of the reporting requirement, confusion, fatigue from travel, and other times because of unfair, if not necessarily illegal, enforcement tactics used by customs. If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. How do I get my seized money back from customs?
  8. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  9. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?
  10. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs Liability for Internet Purchases

In addition to helping importers before U.S. Customs & Border Protection that are businesses, whether large or small, we also represent the “little guy” when they find themselves faced with a notice or letter from U.S. Customs informing them that it appears they have somehow violated the law. Usually, these people — often nascent entrepreneurs —  are importing limited quantities of a product from overseas to make a quick buck or try their hand at a new business, and other times they are just individuals buying something for personal use.

These unsuspecting people get their goods seized by customs or get stuck with a demand to pay a penalty, for a host of customs violations, such as counterfeit/trademark infringement or incorrect country of origin rp_FrustatedExecutive-248x300.pngmarking. Then they must answer to the Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures officer and navigate a series complex sea of options and choices, without knowing what the effect in terms of money, cost of seized and forfeited goods, and time that their decisions will have. They usually do not have patience for those ignorant of the law and terse phone calls with them will do little to help you understand what is happening to you and your imports.

Lo, and behold: customs has published guidance for internet purchases for the public at large that explains, in simple terms, what the responsibilities are of a buyer purchasing from an online seller. The whole page is a must-read for anyone who is buying a product from overseas because, as it states:

It does not matter whether you bought the item from an established business or from an individual selling items in an on-line auction. If merchandise, used or new, is imported into the United States, it must clear CBP and may be subject to the payment of duty as well as to whatever rules and regulations govern the importation of that particular product into the United States.

Go have a look at the article “Internet Purchases“. It provides a checklist for internet purchasers to go through when ordering from an online seller, the declaration process, shipping methods, restricted merchandise, prohibited merchandise, and quotas. Of course, the information available can still be confusing, and should not replace the advice of an experienced customs lawyer. If you have had money or merchandise seized by customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. Once your merchandise is seized, Customs may issue a penalty for the violation of law itself. If you have received a notice of penalty from U.S. Customs call our office immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a petition to reduce the penalty amount.

We are able to assist petitions and in seizures by customs nationwide, including Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, New York, and Los Angeles.

Customs Money Seizure Daily Averages 2013

U.S. Customs published some interesting numbers on customs money seizures for failure to report amounts over $10,000 (or, bulk cash smuggling, structuring, or just plain counterfeiting). Every year customs gives a report on their operations for the previous fiscal year’s activities; it’s interesting if you’re into that sort of thing.

The numbers are based on daily averages for the fiscal year. On average day in 2013, customs processed 992,243 people at 328 ports of entry and customs seized $291,039 in undeclared money or illicit currency. This is about the same as the daily average  for 2012, where customs processed 963,121 people at 329 ports of entry and averaged $274,065 in daily money seizures.

If you have had money seized by customs 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 nationwide, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Please read these other articles from our customs law blog:

  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. Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizures

Customs Currency Seizure Totalling $421,770

In a recent news release U.S. Customs (CBP) seized nearly half of a million dollars in money concealed in the quarter panels of a vehicle. This means that the vehicle is subject to seizure as not only a vehicle outfitted for smuggling but also because it is a conveyance used in the violation of a law. That story is below:

El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents performing southbound inspections at the El Paso port of entry seized $421,770 November 9. The money was concealed in the quarter panels of a car and in the purse of the driver.

“The team of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents performing outbound examinations are working hard to stop the flow of smuggled currency, weapons, ammunition, and other violations,” said El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha. “Individuals can export any amount of money they desire but if the total exceeds $10,000 it must be reported to CBP. Failure to properly report incoming and outgoing monetary instruments can result in seizure of the proceeds.

The seizure occurred at approximately 7 p.m. November 9 at the Ysleta international crossing. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents were screening southbound traffic when they selected a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier for a secondary exam. As CBP personnel were interviewing the driver and lone occupant of the car a CBP currency detector dog alerted to the quarter panels of the vehicle. CBP personnel continued their exam and located bundles of money hidden within the quarter panels. CBP recovered a total of 36 packages of bundled currency including four in the purse of the driver. No arrests were made and the investigation continues at this time.

The fact that no arrestswere made and the investigation continues seems to indicate to me that, perhaps, there was no nexus to illegal activity. Maybe they were hiding the money to keep it safe. I have handled stranger cases. If the money is civilly seized the persons with an interest in it are going to eventually get a notice of seizure to which they will have to respond.

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?

Customs Money Seizure Radio Interview

Customs lawyer Jason Wapiennik will be interviewed today at 4:30 EST on Detroit’s AM 680/690 by certified Arabic interpreter Ratib Habbal in a live interview that will be translated from English into Arabic. We will be discussing common questions with regards to customs money seizures, getting seized money back from Customs, and other areas of Great Lakes Customs Law’s many practice areas.

The interview can be heard live by visiting the WNZK‘s live audio stream HERE.

Smuggled Cash in Tire Seized by Customs

Not all stories about cash seized by customs have such great pictures. In September, Customs reported on the discovery of over a half-million dollars concealed in the spare tire of an automobile headed for Mexico. The cash was seized by customs. That story, and the pictures, is what follows (with my emphasis in bold):

Cash Smuggled in TireCalexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a Tecate man on Friday after discovering $654,900 in unreported U.S. currency hidden in the spare tire of the vehicle he was driving.

The incident occurred at about 5:45 a.m. on August 30th, when CBP officers, together with members of the Imperial Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force (IV-BEST), were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the Calexico downtown port of entry. Officers targeted a 2011 Toyota Tacoma and referred the driver for further examination.

During an intensive inspection that included an alert from a detector dog and the usage of the port’s imaging system, officers discovered 24 wrapped packages of U.S. currency concealed inside the vehicle’s spare tire.

The driver, a 45-year-old Mexican citizen, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents with the IV-BEST for further processing, and was later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.

CBP officers seized the money and vehicle.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 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.

 

This is no doubt a criminal prosecution and the person could be determined to be guilty of bulk cash smuggling and failure to report currency over $10,000, and the cash seized by customs will will be forfeited and become the property of the government. 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 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?

CBP Counterfeit Handbag Seizure

I am sharing this news releases from Customs & Border Protection because it has to deal with topics that we have discussed in previous articles, namely seizures by CBP for counterfeit importations. We previously discussed the notion of gray market goods and touched on the topic of counterfeit imports in our article called Trademark Infringement: Importing Gray Market Goods and Seizure by Customs. This article only says that the bags were “in violation of the Hermes protected trademark” but does not specifically say how they were in violation; because the news release goes on to say that these bags were concealed within a shipment of non-infringing merchandise it seems unlikely that this was an innocent mistake by an inexperienced importer. It shows an intent to commit a fraud.

Los Angeles — U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport complex seized 16,053 counterfeit Hermes handbags in nine shipments from June 6 through September 17. All were in violation of the Hermes protected trademark.

Their combined domestic value of $295,665 contrasted to the manufacturer suggested retail price of $210,785,475 had they been genuine, illustrates the potentially high profit margins in such an illegal venture.

“CBP officers are trained to identify and interdict counterfeit goods, and this is a great example of how their training and expertise are employed every day in our ports of entry,” said CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles Todd C. Owen. “These counterfeiters are not only cheating the legitimate designers and manufacturers of protected trademark merchandise, but also the public and the U.S. government,” he added.

Eight of the shipments were coming from China, one from China via Hong Kong. Two had the knock-offs hidden in the nose of the containers with concealing attempts of packing legitimate, non-infringing merchandise behind them.

Five different importers sent the shipments. All were destined to surrounding areas of Los Angeles except for one destined to Texas.

CBP Counterfeit Handbag Seizure
Approximately $1.26 billion worth of counterfeit goods originating overseas were seized by CBP in 2012. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Taiwan are the top five countries of origination for counterfeit goods seized by CBP.

Nationwide, handbags and wallets comprised the greatest number of counterfeit items seized by CBP last year, with the value of seizures up 142 percent compared to 2011. Of the approximately $511 million in handbags and wallets seized, more than $446 million came from China.

Violations of trade laws, including violations of intellectual property rights laws can be reported to CBP online. ( e-Allegations Submission )

It looks like someone is going to be getting a notice of penalty CBP’s Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture’s office very soon. If you are facing penalties from CBP for items you have imported or for your import practices, call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through our contact page.

$296,010 Customs Currency Seizure

From the CBP news releases:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Imperial Valley ports of entry over the weekend intercepted [ . . . ] $296,010 in undeclared currency . . . .

[ . . . ]

[On September 6, 2013], at about 5:00 p.m., CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the Andrade port of entry. Officers targeted a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan and referred the 56-year-old driver and his passenger, a 54-year-old female, both Mexican citizens, for further examination.

Inside the vehicle, CBP officers discovered a large box among several other household items. The box was emptied during the inspection, revealing bundles of undeclared currency totaling $296,010.

[ . . . ]

“CBP officers at the Imperial Valley ports of entry have proven to be exceptionally skilled at discovering unconventional concealment methods and these seizures are illustrative of those skills,” said Pete Flores, Director of Operations for the San Diego Field Office.

All subjects were turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents for further processing and were transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

It is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling more than $10,000 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.

If you have money seized and receive a notice of seizure, do not decide how to respond to a CAFRA Notice without first consulting an attorney. Any mistake or error in judgment you make can cost you dearly.The Petition process is a legal process. The petition itself is and should always be a legal document, no different than in any other legal proceeding, that contains detailed factual narrative, what led to the seizure, a review of the relevant law, regulations and Custom’s own guidelines concerning the criteria for remission. When the facts allow for it, our Petition will always include a strong argument for return of the money in full, or even when there is a valid basis for the currency seizure, a strong argument for the money to be returned upon payment of a fine in the smallest amount of money possible, rather than forfeiture of all your money.

If you have had currency seized and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information I make available on this website or call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through ourcontact page. We are able to assist with currency seizures around the country.

Arizona CBP Officers Seize $300,000 in Cash

From U.S. Customs & Border Protection:

A 35-year-old Douglas, Ariz. man was arrested Friday for attempting to smuggle $300,000 in unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through the Port of Douglas.

Customs and Border Protection officers conducting outbound inspections selected a Toyota truck, driven by Jerry Joseph Del Rio, for further inspection. When officers searched the vehicle they located seven packages of U.S. currency hidden inside of a compartment in the truck cab. The truck and cash were processed for seizure.

Del Rio was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

If you have had currency seized and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information I make available on this website or call my office at (734) 855-4999 or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with currency seizures 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?