Tag: transfer

Customs Currency Seizure; Criminal Charges for Bulk Cash Smugglers

U.S. customs effected a currency seizure of unreported currency under the bulk cash smuggling laws from citizens of the Dominican Republic and United States, who are all related and travelling together.  Some interesting things to note about this story is that although the money seems to be from a legitimate source because the story says it was from a business, criminal charges were nevertheless brought against all individuals involved in the bulk cash smuggling. Bulk cash smuggling is illegal, no matter the source. We have written articles about bulk cash smuggling before HERE.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $53,000 in unreported currency Friday, transported by three passengers boarding the M/V Caribbean Fantasy ferry departing to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

CBP Officers selected Dominican Republic citizen Mr. Felipe Alvarez, 69, for examination and explained to him the currency reporting requirements.  During the interview, Mr. Alvarez declared to be traveling alone and transporting less than $10,000. Intensive examination revealed that he was traveling with two other passengers, US citizen Manuel De La Rosa, 47, and Dominican Republic citizen Cristian De La Rosa, 35, both nephews of Mr. Alvarez.

Subsequent interview and exam of the three passengers revealed non reported currency within their clothing and in their carry-on items totaling $53,726.00. Mr. Alvarez later admitted that the money transported by him and his nephews were proceeds of his business in the Dominican Republic.

The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws and Assistant AUSA Olga Castellón approved criminal prosecution for the three individuals.

Those arrested were remanded to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for processing and further investigation.

“The unreported cash that we seize has an impact on criminal organizations by making it more difficult for them to further their illicit activities,” said Juan Hurtado, San Juan area port director. “CBP officers remain vigilant generating important enforcement activity regularly.”

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the United States.  However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Source: http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2013/1/28/46527/US-agents-seize-US53000-from-local-man-at-San-Juan-Seaport

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 Money Seizure; $150K Seized at Border Crossing

What follows is an account of a currency seizure recently released by U.S. Customs & Border Protection where the traveler had almost $150,000 seized because he failed to report the currency. Anyone who transports more than $10,000 into or outside of the United States must file a report with customs, prior to or at the time of crossing. When customs seizes your currency after arriving at an airport or border crossing you should keep calm and contact us. Even though it seems like the end of the world, there are legal steps that can be taken to get your money back through forfeiture remission proceedings. On to the story (ORIGINAL HERE):

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge seized $143,932 in unreported U.S. currency from a McAllen, Texas Keep Calm and Contact Your Customs Attorneyman as he attempted to enter into Mexico.

“This seizure of unreported U.S. currency was accomplished due to our officers’ outstanding attention to detail and excellent observational skills,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “Although transporting currency either way across the border is not illegal, as long as it is declared to CBP, most seizures of currency involve money having been obtained from illicit activities.”

CBP officers working at the Hidalgo-Reynosa Bridge outbound lanes on May 6 encountered a U.S. based taxicab as it attempted to exit into Mexico. The driver and lone occupant, a 40-year-old male U.S. citizen were asked to declare what they were transporting into Mexico, to include currency in excess of $10,000. After further interaction with the passenger, the taxicab was referred to secondary for further examination. During the process of the secondary inspection, CBP officers discovered bundles of U.S. currency concealed within the traveler’s personal belongings. CBP-OFO removed and seized several stacks of unreported U.S. currency, which totaled $143,932.

CBP-OFO arrested the male traveler and subsequently released him to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.

When crossing the border with cash or monetary instruments, remember to stay calm and report anything in excess of $10,000 USD.

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, keep calm and 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 Currency Seizure Assisted by K9

Customs seized currency at Dulles airport for failure to file a currency report for a man who repeatedly reported transporting only $8,000, but he was instead found with more than $20,000. Below is a picture from the customs news release that shows, apparently, the offending currency and it’s new owner, a German Shepherd. Alright, the German Shepherd will not become the new owner, as the story correctly points out anyone who has had their currency seized by customs has the right, among others, to petition to have the currency returned to them provided that they can establish a legitimate source for the money and show that it had a legitimate intended use. Here’s the story from Customs:

IAD K9 24k Seizure

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $24,789 from a U.S. citizen Monday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who arrived on a flight from Qatar, declared possessing only $8,000. While proceeding to the exit from the federal inspection area a CBP K9 enforcement officer led his partner, CBP currency detection K9 “Nicky,” over to sniff the traveler’s luggage. Nicky alerted and the officer asked the man how much money he was carrying. He declared $8,000. The officer then referred the traveler for a secondary inspection.

In secondary the man again declared possessing $8,000 to CBP officers. While examining the passenger’s luggage, CBP officers discovered an envelope containing $24,789. CBP officers seized the $24,789 and advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his currency.

CBP K9 ‘Nicky’ detected $24k in unreported currency a traveler concealed at Washington Dulles International Airport April 21, 2014.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 monetary instruments, which includes foreign currency.

“Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Frances B. Garcia, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. “The traveler was given the opportunity to truthfully report his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your money is to report it.

Like other law enforcement, Customs’ uses dogs to enhance it’s search capabilities at the border and in airports, and in this case, the dog was able to sniff out the currency, most likely because it contained trace amounts of narcotics, as I am told most U.S. currency does.

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

CBP at JFK Seizes $150,000 in Counterfeit Currency

Any customs lawyer will tell you that it’s better to get caught failing to report real currency than to get caught importing in counterfeit money. You will note that this (counterfeit) cash seizure occurred as a result of the currency reporting requirement. The purpose of the currency reporting requirement is to do exactly this — catch people who are bringing in illegal (in this case counterfeit) money into the United States. In this case, the law has served its intended purpose, as the following news release clearly demonstrates

Jamaica, N.Y. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized 1500 counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (bills) last month.

On December 14, CBP officers selected Ciara Ryan for a random baggage examination. Ryan, 38 was returning from Colombia and had two bags in her possession. The first bag was examined by officers and was found to have a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, CBP found alterations to its bottom; within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
A black leather satchel also in her possession was examined and found to contain more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining. Ms. Ryan was placed under arrest and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills ($150,000) were seized. She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

Based on these facts, it seems fairly clear that the person transporting the counterfeit currency knew it was counterfeit; I say that because of the concealment of the counterfeit currency in a false compartment in the bag and in the lining. 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, Cleveland, New York, and many other places, and not just locally.

Currency Reporting Violations and the Global Entry Program

As some of my currency seizure clients have come to find out, failing to properly report currency over $10,000 being transported out of the United States can result in removal from trusted traveler programs. This news release from my local port of Detroit by customs confirms it:

Detroit – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Detroit Metro Airport announces that three travelers enrolled in the Global Entry program have been removed due to zero tolerance violations of program rules.

Global Entry is a CBP program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. The program benefits CBP and participating foreign governments by allowing them to focus efforts on unknown and potentially higher risk air travelers, thereby facilitating the movement of trusted travelers in a more efficient and effective manner.

“Global Entry provides a level of trust not afforded to regular air travelers,” said Devin Chamberlain, CBP Port Director. “Violations of any kind will result in removal from the program.”

The violators, all returning U.S. citizens failed to declare personal use steroids and prescription drugs and failed to report the transport of currency over $10,000. Two events occurred February 26 and the last March 1, 2014.

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

Border Patrol Agents Seize Over $1.5

Though not exactly the type of customs money seizure that my client’s experience (which usually at a land border crossing or at an airport), nevertheless Customs & Border protection recently issued a news release about some check-point currency seizures that the border patrol wing of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol executed.

San Clemente, Calif. — In two separate events, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two foreign nationals with large quantities of concealed bulk cash.

The first event occurred Friday at 4:30 p.m., when an Uzbekistan national, who is a permanent U.S. resident, arrived at the San Clemente checkpoint driving a commercial truck. The 27-year-old man was hauling five used cars on a trailer. The man was referred to secondary, where a K-9 performed a cursory inspection resulting in a positive alert. California Army National Guard members, operating an x-ray system, detected anomalies in two Acura MDXs. Agents searched those vehicles and discovered false compartments in their rear bumpers. The compartments were filled with 49 bundles of cash. The bundles contained an approximate total of $1,476,245 in U.S. currency. The cash and two Acuras were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The second event occurred on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m., as agents were patrolling I-5. Agents observed a suspicious vehicle travelling southbound and initiated a vehicle stop. The 39-year-old Mexican national driver was holding a valid visa. Agents requested and received permission to search the man’s vehicle. Upon inspection, agents discovered $49,900 inside a black bag and inside the man’s jacket. An additional $10,000 was in the man’s pockets. When questioned, the man stated that the $10K was his, but he did not have a receipt of declaration for bringing the money into the U.S. He claimed that the other $49,900 did not belong to him and that he did not want to be associated with it. The driver is being held in Department of Homeland Security custody with removal proceedings pending. The vehicle and cash were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

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 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 Seizes $80,000 in Currency from Smuggler

Another day, another customs money seizure. This again demonstrates that, as in countless other incidents, the concealment of the cash is a smuggling offense. If this was just a civil seizure and not a criminal seizure, the woman could try to prove legitimate source and legitimate intended use and petition to get her money back; then this situation would be completely avoidable. But now, even if she is ultimately found not guilty of a crime, she will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if she wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

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.

The full story is here:

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry Tuesday arrested a Fresno woman after discovering nearly $80,000 in unreported U.S. currency during an alleged smuggling attempt.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. on February 11, when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico along the 905 south. A CBP officer targeted a blue 2007 Dodge Charger and referred the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth examination.

A CBP officer with a currency and firearms detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the dashboard on the passenger side. Officers discovered several bundles of U.S. currency concealed in the dashboard area behind the vehicle’s glove compartment.

Officers extracted three bundles with $79,925 in cash from the vehicle.

The driver, a 35-year-old Mexican citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await criminal arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and currency.

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.

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 in Philadelphia Seizes $27k in Unreported Currency

Another news release from customs demonstrates why you should make a truthful declaration to customs when carrying over $10,000 to avoid a customs money seizure. In this instance, a husband and wife were travelling together and between each of them, they possessed over $27,000 in various currencies located in different envelopes. After verbally reporting $6,000, he later reported $16,000 in writing. It’s important to remember that the currency declarations and requirement to report travelling with more than $10,000 applies to all currencies, both foreign and domestic.

As with most cases of this type, it involves questions of potential structuring violations (dividing money up between multiple people to avoid the reporting requirement), bulk cash smuggling (customs will often try to say that concealing the currency in anything shows an intent to smuggle, even if it’s just in an envelope in your luggage in different locations). In order to get their money back, they will need to demonstrate a legitimate source and legitimate intended use and they can do this by filing  a petition.

The story:

Philadelphia – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $27,000 from a Ghana couple Sunday at Philadelphia International Airport after they failed to truthfully report the total currency they possessed.

Neither was criminally charged.

The couple arrived from Germany and was referred to a secondary inspection. The man verbally reported possessing $6,000. After CBP officers explained federal currency reporting requirements, the man then wrote down that he possessed $16,000. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered multiple envelopes that contained U.S. currency, British pounds, Swiss francs and Ghana cedi. Officers verified the total currency as $27,431.30. Officers returned $500 to the couple for humanitarian purposes and seized the remaining $26,931.30. Officers released the couple to continue their visit.

There is no limit to how much currency that travelers can bring into, or take out of the United States. Travelers are required to formally report amounts of $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments.

“CBP derives no great pleasure from seizing travelers’ currency. However, there are consequences for failing to comply with U.S. currency reporting laws,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “We hope that all travelers are honest with CBP officers and truthfully declare the total currency they possess or other things that they are bringing from overseas to the U.S.”

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

 

Targeted Enforcement for Customs Money Seizure

How does customs target people for money seizures?

There are certain groups of people who are more likely to be transporting large amounts of money through airport customs. For example, people who come from largely cash based economies and people who for cultural reasons, do not trust banks or prefer to pay with and keep cash on hand. Walking around with more than $10,000 in cash is hard for a lot of Americans to understand because credit is easy and we are notoriously bad savers. I suspect many American’s would not think twice about having a $10,000 balance on their credit card, but those same people would be shocked to hear about someone walking around with $10,000 in cash.

Another example of people who are more likely to be transporting large amounts of money through customs are those travelling to the U.S. for an extended vacation or are staying for a long time to attend a university, work an internship, or immigrate from China, Korea, Iran or Indonesia, for example, and make a permanent residence in the United States . They might be carrying money with them to pay for tuition (which usually cannot be paid by credit card), books, expenses related to renting an apartment, buying car, purchasing health insurance, etc.

Why does customs target certain groups for money seizures?

From the perspective of customs, targeted enforcement of the more than $10,000 currency reporting requirement makes sense and any diligent customs officer who wants to make sure the currency reporting laws are enforced is going to target certain people de-planing from flights from certain countries or parts of the world.

Extended vacationers are easy to target by customs. Customs may review your itinerary (e.g., one way or return flight) and ask about the purpose of your visit to the United States. So when a customs officer asks, “How long are you staying in the United States?” and the response is, “A month,” one of the next few questions likely to be asked is going be, “And so how much money are you travelling with?” If you look nervous, or if they just do not believe you, there are likely going to search you and your luggage in a secondary inspection to verify whatever you tell them about how much money you are transporting.

What’s an example of a group targeted by customs for currency reporting purposes?

The Chinese New Year is coming up (1/31 to 2/6) and traditionally, Chinese people visit relatives and give cash gifts in red envelopes, called hongbao, during this holiday. You can read more about

Red Envelope (hongbao) Customs Money Seizure
Cash Filled Hongbao – Red Envelopes

this interesting cultural practice at Wikipedia. Chinese people living in the United States also celebrate the Chinese New Year. Chinese nationals travel to the United States to visit their family living here and bring with them hongbao red envelopes stuffed with cash from relatives back in China. It might be in certain “lucky” denominations, it might be for a wedding, a new baby, or just to help a young family out.

As a result, Customs might target flights from China for enhanced enforcement of the currency reporting requirement near and during the Chinese New Year and seize money for failure to report, bulk cash smuggling, or structuring violations (multiple red envelopes being transported on behalf of multiple relatives). Chinese nationals coming to the United States during the Chinese New year celebrations are probably going to be targeted by customs to make sure that they are reporting any amount over $10,000 in currency they are transporting into the United States, or if they fail to report, customs will seize their money and tell them to file a petition to get it back.

Customs seized my money! What do I do now?

If you have had money seized by customs 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, Las Vegas, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

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?