Tag: reporting money to customs

Champlain, NY, border crossing with large stop sign where Customs and Border Protection seized money inspecting a vehicle.

Customs and Border Protection Seized Money in Champlain

Annually, ports across the country release news stories about the previous twelve months of enforcement activity. In Champlain, New York, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized money on 3 different occasions that made it into their “Top 10 Seizures and Arrests for 2015.”

Customs and Border Protection seized money in these three cases but we only previously reported on the $24,000 seized on an Amtrak train.

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. ‚Äď U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations has compiled its top 10 seizures and arrests for 2015 at the Area Port of Champlain.¬† The list of seizures underscores the important role CBP officers play in protecting the country.

The following seizures represent the array of threats encountered at the Area Port of Champlain in both the commercial and passenger environments.  They further portray the efforts of CBP employees to prevent the import of illegal items and protect the commerce of the U.S.

  1. January 4, 2015 – CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $24,671

CBP officers inspecting passengers onboard the Amtrak train at Rouses Point, N.Y., encountered a female U.S. citizen who stated she was coming back from Cuba.¬† The subject had marked ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ to question 13 on Form 6059B (Customs Declaration) that she had filled out and signed, thus declaring that she was not in possession of over $10,000 U.S. dollars or its equivalent.¬† The subject was sent for a secondary examination to verify she had no prohibited Cuban goods in her possession.¬† During examination, it was discovered that she was travelling with $24,671 in unreported currency hidden in her luggage.

The other two stories, quoted below, apparently never made it into the headlines at the time Customs and Border Protection seized money. They are interesting in that the first story involves bulk cash smuggling by a 75 year old lady, and the second involves fraud in that the money was derived from cash advances taken out against credit cards without the intention of repayment. In both cases, Customs and Border Protection seized money.
  1. April 20, 2015 ‚Äď CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $122,687

CBP officers at the Port of Champlain referred a 75-year-old Canadian female for secondary inspection to verify the answers she gave during primary inspection to basic questions.  During the secondary inspection, a search resulted in the discovery of unreported currency totaling $122,686 U.S. dollars and its equivalent hidden in luggage.  The currency was seized.

  1. June 1, 2015 ‚Äď CURRENCY SEIZURE OF $38,220

CBP Officers at the Port of Champlain referred two Canadian-born sisters, who each declared $10,000 dollars in Canadian Currency, for a secondary inspection.  During the secondary inspection, it was discovered that they were structuring money for a third individual, who was also applying for admission to the U.S., to avoid reporting requirements.  Further examination revealed that the money had been obtained by taking out cash advances from credit cards with no intention of repayment.  In total, $38,220 dollars in Canadian currency was seized.

Has Customs and Border Protection seized money from you?

If Customs and Border Protection seized money from you, 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.

CBP Seizes More than $1 Million in Currency

This is a news release from U.S. Customs & Border Protection¬†involving a currency seizure and the arrest of the people who smuggled the currency in their vehicle. The fact of the arrest¬†means that there is a fair chance that the individuals were involved in some sort of illegal activity. We typically handle cases for the¬†seizure of money at the airport by customs where there is no arrest because there is no apparent connection to illegal activity at the time of seizure.¬†You should¬†read our¬†popular page¬†on Responding to a Customs Money Seizure. Let’s have a look at this story, and a picture of the cash seized by customs:

The . . . seizure occurred on Dec. 7, at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge after CBP officers working outbound operations selected a tan 2010 Ford Fusion for inspection. The driver, a 29-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas and the 63-year-old male passenger, a Mexican citizen from Reynosa, were referred for a secondary inspection.  During the course of the secondary examination, Officers discovered packages of unreported U.S. currency secreted within the Ford sedan. CBP-OFO removed and seized 21 packages containing a total of $255,361 of U.S. currency that was allegedly headed into Mexico without being reported.

money seizure by U.S. customs

CBP Field Operations arrested the . . . individuals who were ultimately released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. CBP-OFO also seized all the vehicles involved in the failed smuggling attempts.

It is not a crime to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more 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. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

CBP’s Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.

Again, Customs gets it wrong here when they say “$10,000 or more” must be reported; it is “more than $10,000”. A slight difference, but a difference nonetheless.

Our customs law firm handles currency/money seizures made by customs in Detroit and around the country; call (734) 855-4999 to consult with a customs lawyer today (Responding to a Customs Money Seizure HERE).If you have had money seized by Detroit CBP/customs call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page (see our case results here). 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 customs currency seizures:

  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

Reporting Money to Customs to Avoid Seizure

If you are trying to avoid having your money seized by Customs, take some advice from a customs lawyer: do not throw your money at the customs officer, swear at him, and then tell him to count himself. You will get your money seized.

While this seems obvious and not something you need the advice of a customs lawyer to figure out, apparently it is not obvious to some people who get their money seized by customs.

In the case of United States v Six Thousand, Two Hundred & Fifty Dollars, etc., in United States Currency, 706 F.2d 1195 (11th Cir. 1983), the Court had to decide whether or not someone had made the required declaration of currency being transported into the United States in a unique set of circumstances, as related below:

On February 22, 1980, at approximately 12:30 a.m., United States Customs Patrol officers (“CPO’s”) observed a vessel entering the inlet at Port Everglades, Florida. The vessel was proceeding without running lights and had no visible name or registration number. The CPO’s hailed the vessel, and ¬†. . . Gerald Smith, identified himself as the captain and informed the CPO’s that the vessel was entering the United States from Nassau,¬†Bahamas.

Warning Border Crossing Sign[ . . . ]

CPO Hill observed a small leather purse under Smith’s arm. CPO Hill asked Smith what was in the purse. Smith did not respond to Hill’s question, but simply took the purse from underneath his arm and clutched it in his hand. CPO Hill then informed Smith that if he was carrying more than $5,000 in currency or negotiable instruments into or out of the United States, he had¬†to report the monetary instruments to Customs. CPO¬†Hill also briefly explained that it was not against the law¬†to transport currency or negotiable instruments into or out¬†of the United States, but that it was against the law not to¬†report the monetary instruments to Customs. Smith did¬†not respond to these statements; instead, he simply glared¬†at CPO Hill. CPO Hill then repeated his statements¬†regarding the reporting requirements and asked Smith if¬†he could examine the purse that Smith was carrying.¬†Smith responded by throwing the purse in the direction of¬†CPO Hill and stating that if CPO Hill wanted to know¬†how much was in the purse, he should count it himself.

CPO Hill opened the purse and immediately observed that it contained a sizable quantity of currency. CPO Hill then advised Smith again of the reporting requirements. Smith responded with a string of obscenities directed at CPO Hill.

It turned out there was $6,250 in this man’s purse, which back then, was over the former $5,000+ reporting requirement (note: the reporting requirement is over $10,000 now). These facts leave a lot of unanswered questions. Was the Customs officer really so persistent in explaining the reporting requirements in such a chance encounter? I doubt it. And why was the man have such a bad day, and carrying a purse?

But, those are questions I may never know…. the Court only had to answer whether or not throwing the money at the customs officer (“physical presentation” in the court’s words) satisfied the requirement to file the currency report. The court determined that physical presentation of the money did not satisfy the requirement to file a currency report to avoid seizure because physical presentation is not required: filing a report is the requirement, and the two are not equal. The court also stated that the man with the purse should have filed a currency report because the seizing customs officer told him about the requirement on two occasions during the currency seizure encounter.

So, let this be a lesson to anyone transporting currency into our out of the United States; physical presentation is not enough; nor is swearing at a CBPO a good idea, especially if you’ve got some money to lose.