Tag: notice of seizure and intent to forfeit

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 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. UPDATE: I’ve since corresponded with the individual whose money was seized in this case and have confirmed they were coerced into abandoning the cash to avoid jail, and delay.

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.
Detroit CAFRA Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit

CBP Seized $20,242 at Detroit Metro Airport

Last week’s forfeiture.gov publication of legal notices of seizure and intent to forfeit revealed more unfortunate news for someone out there who had their cash seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, as recently as March 6, 2017.

Here’s why it’s unfortunate: If the money was seized on March 7, the notice of seizure was probably not sent until about March 21, which would give the interested person 30 days to respond with a petition (or 35 days to file a claim) — that puts a deadline at about April 6 for a petition, or April 11 for a claim.

The fact that notice has been published means 1) somebody got their petition denied (unlikely in 30 days unless the documentation was terrible); 2) somebody filed a claim and requested notice be published (probably a bad decision — a long and and court supervised process leading to trial); or 3) no one responded to the notice of seizure, intentionally or unintentionally (because they did not receive it).

Here’s the notice:

CAFRA Notice of seizure and intent to Forfeit Detroit It shows $20,242 was seized for a failure to report. Never, ever file a claim or a petition with CBP without first consulting with a lawyer (like me) who deals with Customs seizures first. Don’t use your immigration lawyer, and don’t use an attorney who has more experience with DOJ, FBI, or DEA cases. CBP is different, and most of the time, the cash seizure is for totally different reasons.

Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Cash seized by Detroit Airport CBP: Going, going… gone?

I’ve been a busy customs lawyer recently, but most especially the last six months. Therefore, while I’ve still been trying to get each of you many readers some new stuff for the customs law blog each week, my attention has been mostly elsewhere.
And so, I’ve finally got back to keeping an eye on the weekly forfeiture notices published U.S. Customs & Border Protection each week. There was nothing interest this week for Detroit or Chicago in terms of CAFRA seizures, but last week’s notice had some unfortunate postings:
PUBLICATION/POSTING START: April 28, 2017
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: May 28, 2017
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: June 27, 2017
2017380700072301-001-0000, Seized on 02/08/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 217; EA; Valued at $20,719.00; For violation of 31USC5316, 31USC5317, 31CFR1010.340(A)
2017380700078501-001-0000, Seized on 02/22/2017; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 151; EA; Valued at $13,989.00; For violation of 31USC5316, 31USC5317, 31USC5324, 31CFR1010.340(A)
I cringe when I see entries like this. What in the hell happened that two people have let almost $35,000 get published for forfeiture? Both occurred at Detroit airport in February, both contain no allegations of illegal activity aside from a failure to report or a cash structuring violation, and yet…. here it is, just about as good as gone. (The only way it would be published and not as good as gone is if someone filed seized asset claim form, as opposed to some administrative option. Generally, for most people and cases, a claim is a bad idea. Despite what other self-styled “premier forfeiture litigators” may put on their websites.)
“But wait!” you say, “the deadline to file a claim is not until June 27!” That is true, but you are ineligible to file a claim if you received a notice of seizure letter. So if you just chose to do nothing in the 30 days from the date of mailing of the notice then you can’t step in and file a claim once it has been published…. that is unless you have a Really Clever Customs Lawyer.
Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Structured Cash Seized by CBP Detroit

Last week, CBP posted another round of notices of seizure and intents to forfeit on their website, forfeiture.gov. Among the many thousands of items seized and subject to forfeiture is $19,300, in cash seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan, on August 23, 2016.

Like all notices on forfeiture.gov, it is sparse on detail; but, we do know that it was seized for both a failure to report and unlawful cash structuring, which likely means that more than 1 person was traveling with the money; or that CBP took two family members or traveling companions, pulled them aside, found that each was traveling with slightly less than $10,000, and grouped the amounts together and is accusing one person of giving the money to another so as to avoid filing the currency transaction report on Form FinCen105.

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: October 14, 2016
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: November 13, 2016
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: December 13, 2016

DETROIT, MI

2016380700111101-001-0000, Seized on 08/23/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 247; EA; Valued at $19,300.00; For violation of  31USC5316, 31USC5317, 31USC5324, 31CFR1010.340(A)

The reason the notice of seizure was published on the website is because either the recipient decided to abandon the money, did not receive the personal CAFRA notice of seizure letter, or messed up the petition (unlikely in the span of 7 weeks since the seizure occurred). Don’t make that same mistake, and hire a customs lawyer for any cash, money, or monetary instrument seizure you experienced at the hands of U.S. Customs & Border Protection.

Have you had structured cash seized by CBP Detroit?

If you had structured cash seized by CBP Detroit, 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.

Being Forced to Abandon Cash to Customs can Occur by Signing an Election of Proceedings form or Notice of Abandonment form

Threatened by CBP to abandon cash

Based on our sources, I have come to the belief that a good chunk of the notices of seizure and intent to forfeit publications/postings concerning cash seized at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport are the result of an effort, on the part of some CBP officers, to encourage people to abandon their money through such things as the threat of arrest, or the threat of futility. Read the we called “Forced to Abandon Cash to Customs?” from a few months ago about the process.

The threat of arrest is real, if often improbable. Not reporting currency, smuggling cash, and/or structuring it is a crime, even punishable by prison. But, in our experience, if there is no apparent and obvious connection to illegal activity, CBP will not make an arrest and there will be no criminal prosecution.

At the time of seizure, I’ve had clients tell me they are presented (prematurely…) with an “election of proceedings form”. The election of proceedings form is explained to them in a way that leads the client to believe there only chance of avoiding arrest is to choose to abandon the money and relinquish all rights to it and to future notice; and if they don’t want to abandon it, they will be arrested, will have to go to court, and even if they win, they will only get back a few dollars due to fees and penalties that will be charged. That’s the threat of futility. Why fight if you’ll never win?

This is not true. Never, ever trust the people who are seizing your money to tell you the truth about the best way to get it back. Never take legal advice from anyone who is not a lawyer, especially if that person is has no reason to act in your best interests. Above all, remember, you have the right to remain silent.

With this in mind, last week’s Forfeiture Notice for Detroit contained a high dollar seizure that occured on June 29, 2016, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Here’s the excerpt:

2016380700090601-001-0000, Seized on 06/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 437; EA; Valued at $36,090.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316,  31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

When faced with a situation where CBP is telling you to abandon the cash or risk everything, it’s the proverbial gun to the head. “Give me your money or your life” situation. Don’t be fooled, the choices CBP may have presented you with are not real. They are false, and might be designed to manipulate you into abandoning your hard earned money.

Did you abandon cash to Customs (CBP)?

If you abandoned your cash by mistake, or by the threat of force or coercion, you need the advice of a customs lawyer, not this article (which is not legal advice). If you were forced to abandon cash to Customs, 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.

 

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Detroit CBP Seizes $10,005 in Cash at DTW

Press releases from CBP about cash seizures have been slow for the past several weeks, but there are still plenty of people getting money seized and lots of forfeiture actions being published on forfeiture.gov, like the following case where slightly more than $10,000 was seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on June 16:

2016380700087701-001-0000, Seized on 06/16/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 101; EA; Valued at $10,005.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A)

What a bummer for this person; he had another $5 with him that took him the category of people who do not have to file the currency report, to the category of people that must file. My guess is that he knew the reporting limit was $10,000, so that’s all he took with him (which could be a structuring violation, anyway); but he probably forgot about a $5 bill in the fold of his wallet, or in the pocket of his luggage. This is technically – legally – a violation of the reporting law. Of course, Detroit Customs seized his cash.

Sometimes they let people amend their report, sometimes they do not. I’ve had clients who’ve had money seized in same detention area with someone who, also failing to report, have not had money seized. I presume the decision to seize is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the seizure, and it is not just entirely arbitrary and capricious. I would really, really, like to believe that.

If you are traveling with $10,000.01 or more, you must file a currency report with CBP. If he was traveling with $10,000, no report was necessary. But, because he had $10,005, he had to file a currency seizure report.

Has Detroit CBP seized your cash?

If Detroit 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.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

CBP Detroit Cash Forfeitures for 7-29-16

Last Friday’s notice of seizure and intent to forfeit for U.S. Customs & Border Protection featured 3 currency seizures that occurred in 3 separate incidents on June 2 and June 9, with a total seizure value of $72,338.

The seizure on June 2 for $40,080, was for a failure to report cash to Detroit CBP and for bulk cash smuggling:

2016380700084501-001-0000, Seized on 06/02/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 403; EA; Valued at $40,080.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5332

The seizures on June 9, one for $17,657, was for a failure to report; the other, for $14,601, was for failure to report cash to Detroit CBP and for an unlawful cash structuring violation.

2016380700086001-001-0000, Seized on 06/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED; 186; EA; Valued at $17,657.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

2016380700086101-001-0000, Seized on 06/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; U.S. CURRENCY RETAINED; 175; EA; Valued at $14,601.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

As with most cases that are posted up on forfeiture.gov, the publication of the intent to forfeit the property likely represents a total failure on the part of the person whose money was seized to successfully navigate the process for getting seized back from Detroit CBP.  Administrative forfeiture is a last resort and also has the worst outcome in most cases; if any money is recovered at all, it is often far, far less than would be recovered through the administrative petition process. But, whether to file a claim or an administrative petition is a decision that should be made in consultation with your attorney.

Due to how quickly people have money seized and the representations of the seizing officers, people mistakenly believe that getting seized money back from Detroit CBP is an easy process.

Instead, it is fraught with difficulties and unforeseen challenges. Instead of risking forfeiture and the total loss of your money, do the smart thing and call us for a free currency seizure consultation and make use of the free customs money seizure legal guide we publish on this website.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

$10k Seized at Detroit Metro by CBP for Money Laundering, more

Most of the time when money is seized, it is for a failure to report currency a few related laws, like bulk cash smuggling and unlawful structuring. On occasion, CBP seizes money for other reasons; such as when they suspect the money is tied to a crime other than the failure to report, bulk cash smuggling or unlawful structuring.

The government has broad authority to seize cash, without much cause, if they believe that is connected to illegal activity. In this case, CBP at Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized $10,047 for not only the failure to report, but also for violations of:

Here’s the excerpt from forfeiture.gov:

2016380700073901-001-0000, Seized on 04/29/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY; 115; EA; Valued at $10,047.00; For violation of 18USC981, 18USC1956(C)(7), 18USC1591, 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A)

Sometimes people ask: if I carry more than $10,000 with me and report it to CBP, can Customs seize the money? The answer is YES, if CBP suspects it is still connected to a crime. This is kind of asset forfeiture that has been in the news a lot lately, where on the grounds of very little suspcion law enforcement can seize property that they believe is connected to a crime, however tenuous that connection is.

Occasionally, we get calls from people who’ve had money seized by the DEA or ATF when traveling by car or plane domestically. Occasionally, local police seize the money and pass it along to another federal agency, like CBP. If CBP has seized your cash, give us a call at (734) 855-4999, or contact us through the buttons on this website. If would like more information about responding to a money seizure by CBP for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or unlawful structuring, you should read our legal guide to a customs money seizure.

Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA) at the Port of Detroit

Detroit CBP Cash Seizure: Last Call!

On July 8, CBP Detroit issued a notice of intent to forfeit $15,554 that was seized at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on May 9, 2016, for a violations of the unlawful structuring and the border cash reporting requirements. The notice of seizure and intent to forfeit publications on forfeiture.gov or the legal equivalent of the bartender yelling “Last call!” at a bar and turning on the lights.

As with a similar story we posted days ago, because this notice is being published likely means that someone chose to abandon cash seized by CBP, or that they never a notice of seizure by mail. Because someone missed the deadline, the notice, or abandoned the property, CBP has thus begun administrative forfeiture proceedings.

Here’s the notice:

PUBLICATION/POSTING START: July 08, 2016
PUBLICATION/POSTING END: August 07, 2016
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM: September 06, 2016

2016380700077501-001-0000, Seized on 05/09/2016; At the port of DETROIT, MI; US CURRENCY RETAINED;  200; EA; Valued at $15,554.00; For violation of 31USC5317, 31USC5316, 31CFR1010.340(A), 31USC5324

Anyone with a legal interest in the property can submit a claim, with some limitations. Completing a claim and properly submitting it to CBP is the last chance for anyone with an interest in the property to try to get it back.

After money has been seized by CBP, it is best to consult with and proceed with the advice of a law firm that specializes in customs laws and cash seizures; there are number of mistakes that can be made in electing to proceed with making an offer in compromise, filing a claim, an administrative petitioner, or otherwise responding.

If you want to learn more about responding to a customs cash seizure, 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.