Tag: transfer

Customs Seizes $409,000 in Unreported Currency

Customs in Arizona seized a particularly large amount of unreported currency for what appears to be bulk cash smuggling offenses (that is, concealing cash so as to evade the reporting requirement) and failing to file a currency and monetary instrument report (CMIR) for amounts being transported over $10,000. Presumptively, since the individuals involved in the transportation of the money seized by Customs were involved, there is probable cause that these events were linked to some sort of illegal activity.

Every time currency is seized Customs asks the district attorney’s office if they want to prosecute. In this instance, the government is likely going to decide prosecute and the people are would face criminal charges. If it turns out the money was from legitimate source and she had a legitimate intended use, this situation was completely avoidable. But now, even if criminal charges are ultimately not filed or if they are ultimately not found guilty of a crime, they will still face civil forfeiture of the money and, if they wants it back, will have to fight for its return administratively, or in the courts.

(Tuesday, January 07, 2014) Tucson, Ariz. — Two women, a 36-year-old Mexican national and a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, were arrested Sunday in separate incidents for attempting to smuggle unreported U.S. currency into Mexico through ports in southern Arizona.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers conducting outbound inspections at the Port of Nogales selected a vehicle driven by a Nogales, Sonora, Mexico woman for further inspection and found $301,000 in unreported cash hidden in a wheel-well of her vehicle. The cash was seized.

Earlier in the day at the Port of Douglas, officers referred a Ford SUV for further inspection where they found $108,000 in unreported U.S. currency concealed in the center console.The vehicle and cash were processed for seizure.

Both women were arrested and referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

Customs in Philadelphia Seizes Money for Violation of Currency Reporting Laws

A customs news release relates the tale of two travelers who had their money seized by customs at the airport for a failure to report the currency they were transporting. As you will read, the father and son were travelling together and therefore customs lumped the currency each of them were carrying together. The story does not explain how much cash was found on each person individually, but it could have a bearing on whether or not seizure was proper and even if it was, it could affect the penalty that is owed through the customs mitigation guidelines for currency seizures.

This story raises questions in my mind of structuring and who needs to make the report when more than one person is transporting more than $10,000 across the border. I would not be surprised if customs also alleges a structuring violation in the CAFRA notice of seizure document. These folks should hire a customs lawyer to help them get their seized currency back from customs. On to the story:

(Tuesday, December 31, 2013) Philadelphia – An Israeli father and son learned a very difficult lesson Friday at Philadelphia International Airport after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $27,648 that they failed to truthfully report to officers.

The two men, who arrived from Cancun, Mexico, repeatedly reported to CBP officers that they possessed about $6,000. CBP officers conducted a currency verification and determined that the pair were in possession of $19,020 in U.S. dollars and 5,850 in Israeli shekels for a combined total of $27,648 in U.S. or equivalent foreign currency. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The currency reporting requirement applies to US and foreign currency. Foreign currency is counted in USD at the prevailing exchange rate, so you have to be careful].

Neither man was criminally charged. [EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a civil customs money seizure so they can file a petition to try to get get their money back.] CBP officers seized the currency and released both men 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. [EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is, like many news releases, incorrect. The reporting requirement is only for more than $10,000 U.S., equivalent, or other 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 currency or other things that they are bringing to the U.S.”

Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing names as neither subject was criminally charged.

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.

Too bad for these folks, but they can act quickly, hire a customs lawyer, and respond appropriately to try to get their money released. 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?

Dulles CBP Seizes Over $13K in Unreported Currency

Customs does not stop seizing money from travellers at airports just because it’s the holiday season. On December 26, customs seized over $13,000 from a Ghanian man who failed to report transporting more than $10,000 from the United States at Dulles airport. The link is here. The serves as a reminder that the currency reporting requirements apply to persons transporting money both into or outside of the United States equally.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $13,585 from a Ghanaian citizen Thursday for violating federal currency reporting regulations.

The man, who was boarding a flight to The Netherlands, was interviewed by CBP officers. During the interview CBP officers explained the currency and monetary instruments reporting requirements and asked him numerous times how much money he was travelling with. He declared verbally and in writing possessing $8,700. A subsequent search produced a total of $13,585. The $13,585 was seized with $185 being returned to him for humanitarian relief.

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.

CBP officers advised the traveler how to petition for the return of his seized 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 Christopher Hess, 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.”

In addition to currency enforcement, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

Customs Announces Expanded Filing of Joint Customs Declarations

Customs announced they recently took steps broadening the definition of who counts as a member of a family residing in one household for purposes of filing a joint customs declaration – form 6059B – when entering the United States. The news releases is HERE. That means the currency total is also broadened to include the aggregate amount of currency being transported by the household. A sample of the declaration form that this new definition applies to his HERE (see question #13).

This change is no doubt being brought as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor,  570 U.S. ___ (2013) (Docket No. 12-307). The news release from customs reads:

Washington— U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent today to the Federal Register a Final Rule designed to broaden the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to more accurately reflect relationships for U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors who are traveling together as a family. The expansion of the term will include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships which would allow more returning U.S. citizens, residents and international visitors to file a joint customs declaration for items acquired abroad. The rule will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register.

The change in regulation will create less paperwork for people who are traveling together as a family and will result in increased efficiency for CBP by streamlining passenger processing.

“Domestic relationship” would be defined to include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship.

Also included within the definition two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else.

“Members of a family residing in one household” will continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption, and marriage.

The joint declaration form is the one on which most passengers arriving into the United States use to complete a list of purchases made abroad and make a declaration as to whether or not they are transporting more than $10,000 in U.S. Currency, and of the need to file the Currency and Monetary Instruments Report on form FinCEN 105.

I anticipate this new definition is going to give customs a wider net to enforce the currency reporting requirement, and thus may result in more cash seized by customs. Why? Because any two people travelling together who are in a “commited relationship” will now have to pool their currency and assets together for purposes of filing this declaration. How do you know a committed a relationship when you see it for purposes of making the snap decision whether or not they are to be considered as being of one household? It’s kind of a squishy definition. It’s this kind of calculus that is going to put some travellers over the $10,000.01 threshold reporting requirement and result in, my guess is, more cash seizures by customs.

UPDATE 12/18/13: The above final rule was published in today’s federal register (HERE). In the actual regulations, customs makes clear that a committed relationship “does not extend to roommates or other cohabitants not otherwise meeting this definition,” meaning that they must be financially interdependent. 19 CFR 148.34. That leaves a little less wiggle room. There are some other changes and some good comments and responses from CBP, such as the following quote:

Many commenters shared their own personal experiences upon their return to the United States and outlined what they perceived to be inconsistent and sometimes rude behavior by CBP officers. These commenters expressed their expectation that when the rule becomes final, CBP would apply the proposed definition consistently at all ports of entry.

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?

CBP Seizes $82,000 in Currency

In a news release issued today from Customs we learn about a recent customs money seizure in Brownsville, Texas, that involves concealing the currency inside a vehicle. Because the news release does not contain the individual’s name involved in the bulk cash smuggling and failure to report offense, it seems likely that she was not ultimately arrested. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the news release explains that, in order to get the seized money back from customs, you may file a petition and prove legitimate source and a legitinate intended use. See our selection of articles by our customs lawyer below the following excerpt for more on the process of getting your seized money back from customs.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Brownsville Port of Entry seized $81,864 in bulk U.S. currency.

“Vigilance in our outbound enforcement inspections is critical to our efforts of keeping undeclared currency from being exported without meeting proper reporting requirements. I commend our CBP officers for an outstanding seizure and arrest in this alleged bulk currency smuggling case,” said Michael Freeman, CBP Port Director, Brownsville.

On December 7, 2013, CBP officers working outbound enforcement operations at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge came in contact with a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country as it attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico. The female driver, a 42 year-old United States citizen from Brownsville, Texas was referred to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, a search of the Chrysler resulted in the discovery of three packages of bulk U.S. currency hidden within the vehicle.

CBP officers seized the currency; the driver has been transferred into the custody of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

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 [Editor’s Note: Actually, the law says 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. 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.

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?

Large Customs Money Seizures in Puerto Rico

In a recent Customs news release two customs money seizures were reported in the same weekend at the Luis Munoz Marin airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. These are big currency seizures totalling nearly $300,000 in seized money. I quote the story below:

San Juan, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $180,678 in unreported currency Saturday, while conducting routine outbound operations on a flight departing to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Another seizure occurred on Sunday, during an enforcement routine check at the airport’s baggage claim area, resulting in the seizure of an additional $109,989 concealed within luggage.

On Saturday, CBP officers selected United States citizen Luis Carrion-Velilla, 32, for examination, and explained to him the currency reporting requirements. Bulk Cash Smuggling Currency SeizureAnother passenger traveling with Mr. Carrion was also interviewed. During the interview, they claimed to be transporting less than $10,000. Intensive examination revealed $180,678 concealed in several locations, within clothing in their luggage, in a toiletry bag and in a false bottom compartment on a carry-on. During the interview, it was determined that all the money belonged to Mr. Carrion, which he voluntarily abandoned. 

The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling  laws and Assistant AUSA Maritza Gonzalez approved criminal prosecution. [Note: Read the article I link to, but it is smuggling because it was concealed.]

“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. [Note: technically this is wrong, the reporting requirement is triggered if the amount is more than $10,000, not $10,000 “or higher”].

On a separate incident Sunday, law enforcement authorities seized $109, 989 during an enforcement routine check in the baggage claim area of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. A Puerto Rico Police canine alerted to a piece of luggage and PRPD agents found the currency hidden inside. CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation agents provided assistance with the seizure and subsequent investigation. Local and federal law enforcement authorities in Puerto Rico will continue to work together to disrupt criminal activity in the island.

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

Customs Currency Seizure Totalling $421,770

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

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

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

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

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

If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

Customs Seizes $35,018 in Currency

Customs has released another customs money seizure news release about some unreported and concealed money that was being taken from the U.S. to Mexico. Because the money was 1) not reported and 2) concealed, it can be seized for both failing to file a report and for concealing money with the intention to evade the reporting requirement. What the release particularly notes and what I want to draw attention to is that the vehicle was seized — a “conveyance” (here, the vehicle) can be seized because it was involved in a smuggling attempt, because it was outfitted for the purposes of smuggling, and/or because it was used to aid an importation contrary to law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry Thursday . . . and intercepted $35,018 in unreported U.S. currency . . . . The . . . incident occurred shortly after 6 p.m. on Nov. 14, when CBP officers were conducting southbound inspections of travelers heading to Mexico through the Calexico downtown port of entry. Officers targeted a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and referred the driver, a 30-year-old male, and vehicle for a more in-depth examination. During an intensive inspection that included an alert from a currency and firearms detector dog and use of the port’s imaging system, officers discovered two wrapped packages of U.S. currency concealed inside the center console between the vehicle’s front seats.

The report goes on to to state the the vehicle and currency were seized, and to note that 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.

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?

CBP Seizes $30,007 in Unreported Currency

The pace of customs currency seizure news releases has declined since the government shutdown, but today Customs released some details on a recent currency seizure at sea. This is different than a lot of currency seizure stories posted here which usually happen in airports or at land border crossings. Let’s look at the details, with my emphasis in bold and my comments in brackets:

San Juan, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $30,007 in unreported currency last Friday from a passenger departing on board the M/V Caribbean Fantasy Ferry destined to Santo Domingo, DR. The seizure occurred during routine outbound examination of passengers at the Pan American Dock West in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Dennis Mota-Rodriguez, 50, resident of San Juan, failed to accurately declare having in his possession more than $10,000 [Editor’s note: read about the reporting requirement HERE]. CBP officers conducted further examination of Mota and his belongings and discovered money concealed within a book agenda, hidden within clothing in his checked luggage and wrapped on his person, held by a girdle. [Editor’s note: any concealment, whether in luggage, backpack, etc., so long as it is done with an intent to evade the reporting requirement can be a violation of the bulk cash smugglinglaws].

The currency was seized under bulk cash smuggling laws. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested Mota-Rodriguez and will proceed with an investigation. [Editor’s note: That’s right, Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailsome individuals are charged with criminal, and not just civil, violations of the law.]

“Transportation of currency is not illegal. However, if carrying more than $10,000 through our borders, the currency must be reported to CBP,” said Juan Hurtado, San Juan area port director. “Travelers who refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of having their currency seized, and may potentially face criminal charges.

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. [Editor’s note: technically this is wrong, the reporting requirement is triggered if the amount is more than $10,000, not $10,000 “or higher”].

In addition to currency interdiction, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items.

If this guy wasn’t up to anything illegal, then this was totally avoidable. He would have had to file the currency report, and demonstrate a lawful source for the money and lawful intended use. But he could have taken it with him had he only not hid the money and given Customs what they needed. In myopinion, though, sometimes Customs gets a little overzealous or unfair in their enforcement; however, I think the vast majority of customs officers do their job well. If you have had cash seized by customs and are contemplating what to do next, please make use of the other information available on this website or call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist with cash seized by customs around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places, and not just locally in Detroit.

Please read these other articles:

  1. Seizure of currency and monetary instruments by U.S. Customs
  2. Seizure for bulk cash smuggling into or out of the U.S.
  3. Structuring currency imports and exports
  4. Is it $10,000 per person?  Under what circumstances is filing a report with Customs for transporting more than $10,000 required?
  5. Criminal & civil penalties for failing to report monetary instrument transportation
  6. Is only cash currency subject to seizure by Customs?
  7. Responding to a Customs currency seizure
  8. How do I get my seized money back?
  9. Getting money seized by U.S. Customs back while staying overseas
  10. How long does it take Customs to decide a petition for a currency/monetary instrument seizure?

Customs Money Seizure Radio Interview

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

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