Tag: monetary instruments

$211k Cash Seized by CBP laid out on a table in stacks

$211k Cash Seized by Nogales CBP

CBP has been busy seizing cash across the country, and that is the reason my customs law blogging activity has slowed down in recent weeks. For the many readers of this blog who like these posts, I apologize. I’ll be trying to return to more frequent blogging in the next week or so.

It seems CBP has also been too busy to make many news releases about the seizure activity, too. But, today, we have word of a pretty huge seizure of $211,000 in cash being seized from a Mexican national while leaving the United States.

From the story below, it was more than just a seizure for a failure to report — but also for bulk cash smuggling. Here is the story, with scant details, but with a picture:

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa crossing in Nogales, Arizona, arrested a Mexican national Friday for attempting to transport almost $211,000 in unreported U.S. currency.

Officers conducting routine outbound inspections referred a 45-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, for an inspection of his Chevrolet truck and found the currency in the vehicle’s dashboard.

Officers seized the vehicle and currency, and turned the subject over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

 

A pile of $20 bills on a table.

CBP Seizes Structured Cash at Dulles

CBP Dulles seized over $23,000 that was unlawfully structured and not reported. Below, the story from CBP, explains that the a man was leaving the United States for South Africa and reported only $9,000, when he really had more than $13,000. This is the second recent story about a cash seizure at Dulles for from someone traveling to South Africa.

To make matters worse, CBP discovered that he was traveling with his sister, who was carrying another $10,000 for her brother. At Dulles airport, a structuring offense means a hefty penalty even if legitimate source and intended use of the documentation is presented.

Here are the interesting parts of the story, as told from the perspective of CBP Dulles:

STERLING, Va. ‚ÄĒ U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), at Washington Dulles International Airport seized over $23,000 from a South Africa-bound traveler on Thursday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

During an outbound inspection, a CBP currency detection canine alerted to the carryon bags of a U.S. citizen.  The man, both verbally and in writing, declared to CBP officers that he possessed $9,000; however, $13,267 was discovered in his bags and on his person.  During the course of the inspection it was determined that he was traveling with his sister, a Ghanaian citizen.  An additional $10,000 in unreported currency was found in her bags which the man stated belonged to him.  The officers seized the $23,267, returned $667 to the man for humanitarian relief, and advised him how to petition for the return of the currency.  The travelers were then released to continue their journey.

Did you structure cash seized by CBP?

If you structured cash that was seized by CBP, you really need a lawyer. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

$830K Seized for Bulk Cash Smuggling

When is a 2010 Dodge Journey worth almost a million dollars? When there is $830,000 dollars hidden in the dashboard.

CBP has broad search authority. In fact, not only do they have largely unfettered discretion to search at the border (not only land borders but airports), but they also have broad search authority at the “functional equivalent” of the border. The current state of the law in this area means that, among other things, CBP may pull over cars within 100 miles of the border and question those inside if they have reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity. If you want to learn more, read this nice summary of the law.

This 100-mile border search authority is the context for the following news release:

TEMECULA, Calif.‚ÄĒU.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a man Tuesday who had hidden large quantities of cash behind his SUV‚Äôs dashboard.

The incident occurred at approximately 2 p.m. when agents patrolling Interstate 15 stopped a 2010 Dodge Journey. The 54-year old Mexican national driver was unable to answer routine questions consistently.

A K-9 sniff of the man’s vehicle resulted in a positive alert, agents then brought the vehicle to the I-15 checkpoint to conduct a more thorough search. At the checkpoint, agents put the vehicle on a lift and discovered a hidden compartment behind the dashboard. The compartment contained 61 bundles of cash.

In total, the bundles contained $830,060 in U.S. currency. The man was arrested and charged with bulk cash smuggling.

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

Tuition Money Seized by Customs

Customs seizure of tuition money is a common occurrence in the weeks prior to the start of either semester of the school year. Like all customs currency seizures, the seizure typically happens because of a failure to file a currency report by people transporting money into the United States of amounts over $10,000.

Lots of foreign students come to the United States and pay their tuition in cash as most colleges won’t accept tuition payments by credit card. Likewise, many foreign exchange students and¬†children of immigrants get a lot of cash assistance from family overseas who understand¬†their duty to pay for their children’s education; it may be a lump $15,000 sum from a parent or grandparent, or a few hundred or thousand dollars from several different relatives or benefactors.

Customs can easily identify someone on student visa, who is relatively young, and is arriving from China, India or Korea; we previously wrote about how customs can “target” currency reporting enforcement based on just these types of criteria. This makes it very easy for them to target students who will then be required to give an accurate report of currency down to the dollar, and if they don’t to seize their cash. The only thing higher than the cost of education is the cost of not accurately reporting money over $10,000 to customs.

What to do when Customs seizes your tuition money?

Traveling with cash? Claim monetary instruments exceeding $10,000 USD!
Don’t let customs seize cash. Traveling with cash? Claim monetary instruments exceeding $10,000 USD!

Take the advice we have already given for responding to a customs money seizure by reading our popular article on the topic: Responding to a Customs Currency Seizure. Currency seizure cases are handled the same whether the money that was seized by customs was intended to be used to pay for college tuition or, for example, for travel expenses. As long as the use of the money is legitimate (and tuition is a legitimate use) and the source of the money is legitimate, with the right legal help you have a good chance of getting your seized tuition money back. If you want to know what a petition to get seized money back from customs looks like, read our article here.

Will I get the money in time to pay my tuition?

It really depends on a variety of circumstances, as we talked about in our popular article on the topic: How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure? In every case, hiring the right attorney to handle your case can speed up the process, from getting the notice of seizure issued, to gathering evidence (obtaining supporting documents, preparing affidavits and giving customs everything they need without waiting for them to request additional documents), researching and drafting the legal basis for the obtaining a return of the seized currency in the petition, and ultimately, if successful, getting the money returned without delay, often by direct deposit. We work hard at Great Lakes Customs Law to get your seized currency returned back to you in a timely manner by doing the job right the first time.

How can I find out more or hire a law firm to help with my customs currency seizure?

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 Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. 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?

Information on currency and monetary instrument seizure by Customs

CBP took cash over $10,000? Read here to help you along the way.
Money seized by customs? CBP took cash over $10,000? Read here to help you along the way.

We get many calls from people across the country who, either having just crossed a land border or cleared Customs at an airport, have money or its equivalent seized by U.S. Customs and
Border Protection for failure to report amounts over $10,000, or for stating an inaccurate amount being transported. In this series of blog posts, I will answering some of the most frequently asked questions about currency seizures, reporting requirements, and the process we use for getting your seized money back from Customs.

Did you have your money seized by Customs?

This experience with Customs is usually a traumatic one for most people, not only because a big chunk of your savings is suddenly gone, but also because Customs often detains a suspect for hours while separating you from your traveling companions and interrogating each of you about the source and purpose of the money. They will make you feel like the worst of criminals.

“Why does Customs seize the money if I’ve done nothing wrong?”

In most cases, Customs usually seizes money because of a violation of the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act (although certain situations might give rise to allegations of failure to declare or some type of¬†smuggling, such as bulk cash smuggling). Specifically, 31 USC ¬†¬ß 5316 and 5317, a part of the Federal law, as well as Federal Regulations, give Customs the authority to seize your cash, currency, or things like checks, promissory notes, traveler’s checks, money orders, and certain securities and stocks if you fail to report or misreport amounts in excess of $10,000. The law requires that this report be made so they can more easily detect money laundering and other financial crimes.

Why most people have their money seized

People fail to report, or misreport currency and monetary instruments for a variety of reasons. It can be mistrust of government agents (usually foreign born people who grew up under very corrupt governments), lack of knowledge of the presence of money, not knowing exactly how much cash you have, a language barrier, confusion about whether non U.S. currency must be reported, how the law applies to more than one person, or good old-fashioned panic.

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

 

Money Seized, Smuggling Prevented by CBP in Yuma

CBP is reporting on a story of a bulk cash smuggling seizure of $25,000 in Arizona.

Coincidentally, we are in the process of preparing an article on the consequences of bulk cash smuggling currency seizure cases and how they differ from money seizure for a simple failure to report amounts over $10,000. The bulk cash smuggling charges are far more serious than the (already serious) failure to report charges. If you’ve had your cash seized for bulk cash smuggling under 31 USC 5332 (more on that law HERE) then you really need an attorney — that’s because even when legitimate source and intended use are proven — you could still lose all of your cash because it was¬†smuggled. Petition for Remission of Currency Seizure

Here’s the story, told along with other various exploits of Yuma CBP:

Friday night, an immigration inspection of a Greyhound Bus in Blythe, Calif. resulted in the seizure of $25,000 from a female Legal Permanent Resident Card holder. The female had the cash taped to her waistline. She claimed she was just transporting the money. The currency was seized as per Yuma Sector guidelines and the female was released.

If you have had money¬†seized by CBP and don’t know what to do,¬†call our office at¬†(734) 855-4999 or 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, San Francisco, Miami, 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 JFK Seizes $700k in Counterfeit Monetary Instruments

Just the other day¬†we blogged about a counterfeit currency seizure at an express cargo facility at JFK Airport. Today, there is another story which involves counterfeit bank checks and money orders (also falling under the “monetary instrument” category).

In this instance, they were from the Ivory Coast and were transmitted in an envelope labeled “Documents.”¬†What follows is an excerpt:

Counterfeit Monetary Instruments
Counterfeit Monetary Instruments

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy International seized counterfeit monetary instruments at an express cargo facility.

On March 27, CBP officers seized counterfeit bank checks and money orders arriving from Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) totaling a little more than $700,000.

CBP officers examined a shipment described as ‚ÄúDocuments‚ÄĚ finding one envelope inside containing bank money orders and checks labeled Chase, Bank of America and Western Federal Credit Union in the denominations of $965, $985 and $2,920. A review of the bank money orders and checks lacked the necessary security features consistent with those of legitimate monetary instruments.

A combined 516 bank money orders and checks were counted with a total value of $732,585.00.

‚ÄúCBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis,‚ÄĚ said Robert E. Perez, Director of CBP‚Äôs New York Field Operations. ‚ÄúThe interception of these counterfeit bank checks in a one-week period is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily.‚ÄĚ

No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

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

CBP Seizes Counterfeit Money in Ecuadoran Import

This story does not involve a customs currency seizure because counterfeit bills are not considered a monetary instrument under the definitions applicable to 31 USC 5316, but they do present their own problems. Obviously, counterfeit currency is illegal in its own right, whether or not it has been reported to Customs or not. In this instance, the counterfeit bills were not found on an arriving traveller who was asked to make a report about the currency he was transporting, but was found hidden in an inbound shipment from Ecuador. The full story is HERE, and what follows is an excerpt:

Counterfeit Currency Seized
Counterfeit Currency Seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy’s International express cargo facility seized $65,200 dollars in counterfeit 100 dollar bills. On March 21, CBP officers found $65,200.00 counterfeit $100 U. S. bills concealed in place mats and a shoe bag from Ecuador. A total of $65,200 (652 Р$100.00 notes) of counterfeit U. S. currency was seized; this investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made yet.

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

U.S. Customs Seizes $17k Cash at Dulles Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than $17,000 from a woman returned to the United States from the United Arab Emirates last week at at Washington Dulles International Airport. She only declared $9,000 but was in possession of more than $17,000, making all of the money subject to seizure. The original here, excerpt below:

The woman arrived on a flight from the United Arab Emirates and stated she was in possession of $9,000. She was referred for a secondary inspection where she Cash Seizure by Customsrepeatedly declared possessing $9,000. During a baggage examination, a CBP officer found a total of $17,575. CBP officers seized the $17,575, returning $1,000 to the traveler for humanitarian relief, and advised her how to petition for the return of the rest of the currency. [Note: read our tips and see a sample petition for remission here)

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.

‚ÄúTravelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,‚ÄĚ said Wayne Biondi, CBP Area Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. ‚ÄúThe traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report her currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.‚ÄĚ

The Privacy Act prohibits releasing the traveler’s name since she was not criminally charged.

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.