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Money in envelope seized by Dulles CBP

Dulles CBP Seize $340K in Cash from 6 Travelers

It was a busy week for customs officers at Dulles airport, seizing money from travelers for violating the currency reporting requirements. The press release from CBP, below, highlights a total of six seizures made in a single week totaling more than $339,000, which all violated the currency reporting requirements in one way or another (i.e., failure to report, structuring, and/or bulk cash smuggling).

Dulles airport is a hub for traveler’s heading to Africa. Around DC, there are large communities of people from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Cameroon. They make good money in the United States, and then try to take some of that money back home. Often times for building projects or investment opportunities in their native countries.

Here’s the rest of the cash seizure stories frrom CBP:

STERLING, Va. – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $340,000 during six outbound seizures of unreported currency in one week at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

The seizures included:

      • $19,762 from a couple destined to Sierra Leone on September 17;
      • $68,830 from a Paris-bound man on September 16;
      • $19,720 from a Paris-bound man on September 15;
      • $35,402 from a Paris-bound man on September 10;
      • $97,223 from a second Paris-bound man on September 10; and
      • $98,762 from an Ethiopia-bound man on September 9.

The currency seizures totaled $339,699.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $340,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport during September 9-17, 2020.

CBP is not releasing any of the travelers’ names since they were not criminally charged. All are either U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents. An investigation continues.

“These are substantial seizures of unreported currency, and seizures that could have been avoided if the travelers would have been truthful in reporting their total currency to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “As the nation’s border security agency, CBP remains steadfast in our commitment to enforcing all U.S. laws at our nation’s borders, including federal currency reporting laws.”

During inspections, CBP officers ensure that travelers fully understand federal currency reporting requirements and offer travelers multiple opportunities to accurately report all currency and monetary instruments they possess before examining a traveler’s carryon or checked baggage.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

$98,762 in U.S. dollars seized by CBP stacked in front of a Dulles airport Washington DC sign

Dulles Customs Seizes Hidden Bulk Cash to Ethiopia

Customs officers at Dulles Airport seized nearly $100,000 this week from a man who only reported traveling with $14,000.

The problem from customs perspective is that he truly had $99,000, and of that amount, almost $80,000 was hidden in his bags, within shoes and pants pockets. The refusal by the man to report the correct amount of cash he transported along with the location of the hidden cash within his baggage will easily allow customs to presume he intended to hide the money so that it would not be found. That is classic bulk cash smuggling.

Bulk cash smuggling, unlike simply inaccurately reporting cash, carries with it steep penalties starting at 50% of the amount of money seized, or in this case, nearly $55,000.

Cases at Dulles is always difficult when it comes to getting seized money back. They are extremely aggressive in processing cases and keeping a maximum penalty. In the nearly 450 cases we have handled, the only time we’ve had a client criminally charged after the seizure has been at Dulles Airport. The man was doing nothing illegal beyond not reporting the money.

That’s why the phrase “an investigation continues” that appears in this story would have me very worried if I were the person who had money seized.

Without further ado, and present the fuller story from customs, along with a picture, below:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized nearly $99,000 from a man traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday for violating federal currency reporting laws.

While conducting an outbound inspection on the Ethiopia-bound flight, CBP officers interviewed a U.S. lawful permanent resident who is an Ethiopian citizen. The man verbally and in writing reported that he possessed $14,000 and a subsequent examination of his carryon bag revealed $19,112.

Officers escorted the man to CBP’s inspection station and conducted a comprehensive examination of his baggage. Officers discovered an additional $79,650 concealed inside shoes and jeans pockets inside his checked baggage. Officers seized a total of $98,762 of unreported currency.

Stacks of $100 bills hidden in a shoe

CBP is not releasing the man’s name since he was not criminally charged. An investigation continues.

“This is a significant currency seizure for Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Bulk currency being smuggled from the United States may be illicit proceeds from narcotics smuggling, counterfeiting, and other nefarious activities. CBP will remain steadfast in our commitment to intercepting these smuggling attempts and financially hurting transnational criminal organizations where we can.”

Although there is no limit to the amount of money that travelers may carry when crossing U.S. borders, federal law [31 U.S.C. 5316] requires that travelers report currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the United States.

* * * *

An individual may petition for the return of seized currency, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP has seized your cash, we urge you to call us for a consultation before considering doing it yourself. You probably will not be happy with the outcome if you do, based on Dulles’ aggressive posture in most cases. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$32k in Cash Laid out on table by US Customs (CBP)

Dulles CBP Seizes $32,000 from Traveler to Ghana

Another blog post, another customs cash seizure at Dulles airport. Most of my clients who have money seized at Dulles airport are most-often traveling to-or-from Ghana, Nigeria, or to a lesser extent, Egypt. This story highlights the dangers of not reporting having more than $10,000 in cash to Customs when traveling in any airport, but especially at Dulles airport.

This story, like many of them publicized at Dulles airport, features money that was hidden. This most likely means CBP will be trying to keep half of the money as a penalty, even if the person is able to prove all of the money came from legitimate sources and had legitimate intended uses. Here’s the story from back in January of this year:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized more than $32,000 from a man traveling to Accra, Ghana who violated federal currency reporting regulations.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires

Undeclared cash found hidden in bagage by Customs at Dulles airport
The currency was discovered during
a baggage exam.

that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

The man, a citizen of the United States and resident of Liberia, declared verbally and in writing that he possessed $15,000. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $33,040. Officers returned $750 to the man as a humanitarian release and allowed him to continue his journey. Officers seized the remaining $32,290.

Has Dulles CBP accused you of bulk cash smuggling?

If Dulles CBP has accused you of bulk cash smuggling, we urge you not to try to do it yourself. You will not be happy with the outcome. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$11097 seized by CBP displayed by Dulles airport CBP

Dulles CBP Seizes Cash from South Korean

We return to a familiar theme: cash seizures by Customs, at Dulles airport. This story (original here), relates the seizure of little more than $1100, for at least a failure to report (although the discovery of $5,097 in her baggage after verbally declaring only $6,000, will allow CBP to make the allegation she was smuggling bulk cash).

Here’s the storyt;

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized illicit steroids in international mail and unreported currency from a traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport during the weekend.

A South Korean woman, who is a U.S. lawful permanent resident, reported to CBP officers that she possessed $500. Officers explained currency reporting requirements to the woman and she amended her declaration to report that she had $6,000. During a baggage examination, CBP officers discovered a total of $11,097 in her baggage. CBP officers seized all the currency and released the woman. She arrived on a flight from Seoul on Sunday.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

Has Dulles CBP seized your money?

If Dulles CBP seized your money, we urge you not to try to do it yourself. You will not be happy with the outcome. Read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide (or watch the videos) and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$21,000 in cash seized by CBP at Washington-Dulles seized for currency reporting violations

Traveler Fails to Report $21,000 Seized by CBP

Yesterday, CBP publicized a cash seizure from a female traveler who failed to report $21,000 in cash she was transporting before boarding her plane at Dulles airport.

The woman, bound for Pakistan via Turkey, verbally reported carrying $6,000. Thereafter, a customs officer searched her bags and discovered a total of $21,255.

This is a classic violation of 31 USC 5316, where a person fails to report cash being transported by them to CBP. A report of currency must be made on form FinCEN 105 and presented to CBP before departure. It is not enough to verbally report the money when asked.

CBP will also surely allege that this is also an instance of bulk cash smuggling, because she was provided with an opportunity to disclosure the full amount of money she carried, but only reported $6,000. They later had to find the full $21,255 in her bag.

Here’s the full story, from CBP:

STERLING, Va. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $21,255 in unreported currency from a U.S. woman destined to Pakistan Friday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

While CBP officers conducted an outbound inspection of passengers on a Turkey-bound flight, officers encountered the woman and asked how much currency she possessed. She reported $6,000 and confirmed that she understood federal currency reporting requirements. Officers discovered several envelopes in her carry-on baggage with a total of $21,255 in U.S. currency. Officers released $255 to the woman for humanitarian purposes and seized $21,000 for violating federal currency reporting requirements.

It is legal to carry large sums of currency into or out of the United States. However, federal law requires that travelers who possess $10,000 or more in currency or other monetary instruments must report it all to a CBP officer at the airport, seaport, or land border crossing when entering or leaving the country. Read more about currency reporting requirements.

Consequences for violating U.S. currency reporting laws are severe; penalties may include seizure of most or all of the traveler’s currency, and potential criminal charges.

Have you had money seized by CBP?

If 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.

Stacks of Cash at Dulles Airport Seized by Customs for Violating the Currency Reporting Requirements

Dulles Currency Seizure to Ghana

This week, CBP officers at Dulles reported a couple instances of drug seizures at Dulles airport, along with a pretty big cash seizure from a man who was going to Ghana.

The man was stopped by CBP on his way out of the United States, and he was asked to report the amount of currency he had. Verbally, and in writing, he reported carrying $6,500; however, he was actually transporting $67,127.

That’s bad news for him. As I always mention, Dulles is pretty tough on people who carry cash and refuse to report actual amount when asked. At many CBP ports, this man would only end up with a violation of 31 USC 5316 for failure to report the cash; however, I’m nearly certain that at Dulles airport he’s going to end up with a violation of 31 USC 5316 and 5332 for bulk cash smuggling.

This will likely mean that even if he proves the money came from a legitimate source and had a legitimate intended use, he will face a steep penalty of at least 50% of the amount seized, leaving him with only $33,500.

Here’s the story:


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers enjoyed a bountiful enforcement weekend with the seizure of 353 pounds of khat, 112 pounds of Tetracaine Hydrochloride, and more than $67,000 in unreported currency at Washington Dulles International Airport.


Additionally, CBP officers seized $67,127 from a U.S. citizen bound for Ghana Friday. The man reported verbally and in writing that he possessed $6,500. Officers discovered the currency inside his carry-on bag and concealed within clothing in his checked baggage.


Officers returned $1,127 to the man as humanitarian relief and released him to continue his journey.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/khat-currency-and-cocaine-cutting-agent-seizures-highlight-busy-weekend

STERLING, Virginia –

CBP officer revealing $27,500 concealed in a traveler's backpack, seized for bulk cash smuggling and not reporting

Dulles CBP Seizes $53k in Cash

Dulles does it again, seizing $53,000 from two different people at the time they left the United States.  

In one incident, when stopped before leaving on a plane from the United States to Cameroon, a man reported having $26,000, but was found to have $36,668. 

In the other incident, a man and his family were leaving for Sudan. They reported having $11,000, but in fact, they had $16,500.

In the first instance, the presence of “six envelopes” tells me that this man was probably carrying money back to Cameroon for other people, probably to help family members suffering Cameroon’s civil war.  If that was the case, there’s probably a good chance he wasn’t told exactly how much was in the envelopes, leading to his under-report of the money.

In the second instance, the fact that the family was traveling together tells me that — as almost always happens in my client’s cash seizure cases — someone did not count all their money, or did not consider some part of money to be required to be reported (i.e., an adult daughter traveling with a few extra thousand dollars of her own, not thinking she needed to report her money as part of the group because she’s an adult). These situations can be messy; sometimes money should be reported, sometimes not; it ends up being the word of the violator against the word of the CBP officer who seized the cash.

In each case, though, once someone is boarding the plane and has not already voluntary made the report to CBP, a violation of the reporting requirements of 31 USC 5316 have already occurred. So whether the report was accurate or not is technically not important: by having to be prompted to report currency by a CBP officer while boarding a plane, you are as good as caught, because you obviously have the intention to not report the money in the small physical space between the ticket counter and the gangway.

Here’s the full story:

STERLING, Virginia — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly $53,000 during two outbound currency examinations Thursday at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none were criminally charged.

While inspecting passengers boarding a flight to Belgium, CBP officers seized $35,688 from a Cameroon man who reported that he possessed $26,000. Officers discovered a combined $27,500 in six envelopes in a backpack, and an additional $7,500 in the man’s carry-on bag. Officers retained $34,000 and released $1,688 to the man for humanitarian purpose.  

While inspecting passengers boarding a later flight to Turkey, CBP officers seized $17,122 from a U.S. family bound for Sudan. The family reported that they possessed $11,000. Officers retained $16,500 and released $621 to the family for humanitarian purpose.

In both cases, the passengers were released to continue their travel.

Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States.  Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

“Customs and Border Protection encourages travelers to be completely honest when reporting all their currency during an inspection with a CBP officer, or they may incur civil or criminal penalties,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore.  “CBP officers conduct outbound examinations to safeguard the revenue of the U.S., and to intercept potentially illicit proceeds that support transnational criminal organizations.”

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/dulles-cbp-seizes-53k-unreported-currency-two-departing-sets-travelers

A pile of $20 bills on a table.

CBP Seizes $11k Cash from Vietnamese Couple at Dulles

Customs officers at Dulles airport seized more than $11,000 from a couple traveling to Vietnam. According to the story, they originally reported traveling with $4,000; then changed that to $7,000; then made a written report that they had $9,000; and ultimately, were found to have $11,822.

The law which requires the report, 31 USC 5316, essentially requires that you make the report in writing. Technically, if you are about to leave the country and have made no effort to report the money to CBP, you are in violation of the reporting requirement — because clearly you are attempting to break the law (by act or omission). So, even if this couple had made a fully accurate report the first time they were asked, they could still be responsible for a currency reporting violation under 31 USC 5316.

The other important thing to note is that the report must be accurate down to the penny, or the reporter would still be in violation of the reporting requirement, and could have all their cash seized by Customs.

You can read all about the currency reporting laws, and what to do when you’ve had your money seized by accessing our customs money seizure legal guide.

STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers continue to enforce a variety of U.S. laws at Washington Dulles International Airport, including [ . . . ] seizing $11,822 of unreported currency from a Vietnam-bound couple.

CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none was criminally charged.

During outbound inspection operations Tuesday, CBP officers seized $11,882 in unreported currency from a couple boarding a flight to Vietnam.  The couple verbally reported that they possessed $4,000.  After officers read the currency reporting requirements, the couple stated they possessed $7,000, then they wrote down that they possessed $9,000.  An examination revealed currency in the woman’s purse, and additional currency concealed in one of two pairs of pants the man wore.

Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States.  Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

CBP officers provided a humanitarian monetary release of $322 to the couple, and released them to continue their travel.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash, beware that you stand to lose a lot of it because of their aggressive penalization of bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses. You should contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

Over $140,000 in cash stacked in piles on a table after seizure by CBP at Dulles airport

3 Airport Cash Seizures at Dulles Result in $140,000 Seized

Customs officers in Dulles continue their high-profile cash seizures, by seizing more than nearly $150,000 in three separate seizure incidents from travelers heading to Ghana.

In this story, CBP reports that in the first seizure CBP seized cash valued at more than $100,000 from a man who leaving the United States destined for Accra, Ghana, who only claimed he was traveling with $2,000.

In the second cash seizure incident at Dulles, a man was arriving from Ghana who was carrying $20,000.

In the third incident, a man leaving for Ghana reported only transporting $5,000, but in reality had more than $23,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $143,968 in unreported currency from two men who departed for Ghana and one who arrived from Ghana in three separate incidents during the weekend at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP is not releasing the travelers’ names because none was criminally charged.

During outbound inspection operations Sunday, CBP officers seized $100,111 from a man destined to Accra, Ghana who initially claimed that he possessed $2,000. CBP officers discovered $10,000 in each of 10 bank envelopes in the man’s backpack.

Earlier Sunday, CBP officers seized $20,031 from a man who arrived from Ghana who initially reported that he possessed $10,000. During an inspection, CBP officers discovered an additional $10,000 wrapped in a t-shirt in the man’s carry-on bag, plus another $31 in loose pocket currency.

On Saturday, CBP officers seized $23,826 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted to his carry-on bag. The man initially reported that he possessed $5,000. A baggage exam revealed $23,826 in a suit jacket and camera bag.

All three seizures seem to fairly involve bulk cash smuggling, which means that I expect Dulles to try to keep around 50% of the seized cash as a penalty.

Has Dulles CBP seized your cash?

If Dulles CBP seized your cash, beware that you stand to lose a lot of it because of their aggressive penalization of bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses. You should 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.

 

Dulles Airport CBP Took Cash from Husband and Wife

Dulles Airport CBP Seizes $25k from Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound travelers

Cash seizures at airports have spiked in Detroit, and also apparently in other regions, such as Dulles airport. As a case in point, here is yet another story about CBP seizing cash from a traveler at the airport in Sterling, Virginia: Washington Dulles International Airport.

Here is the full story (original here):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $25,000 Wednesday from travelers departing Washington Dulles International Airport for violating federal currency reporting regulations.A Bosnia and Herzegovina-bound family reported to CBP officers that they possessed $9,000. The father then signed a U.S. Treasury form reporting they possessed $15,000.A CBP inspection discovered a total of $19,754 in U.S. dollars and 5,085 Euros, combined equivalent to $25,616 in U.S. dollars, in possession of the three-person family.

CBP officers seized the currency and returned 985 Euros ($1,135 U.S. dollar equivalent) to the family for humanitarian purposes.  No charges were filed.  Officers released the family to continue their travel.

And here is what CBP Dulles is saying about the up-tick in airport currency seizures on their watch:

This is CBP’s third outbound currency seizure in two weeks at Dulles.  CBP officers seized $29,698 from a Qatar-bound family July 9 and $18,900 from a Ghana-bound man July 11. Read more about those unreported currency seizures.

“These continued currency seizures clearly illustrate the consequences of travelers not making truthful declarations to Customs and Border Protection officers,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles.  “The best way to keep all of your currency is to honestly report it all to Customs and Border Protection officers during inspection.”

They go on to get the reporting requirement, wrong, again (hint: it is more than $10,000, not $10,000 or

Travelers may carry as much currency as they wish into and out of the United States.  Federal law requires that travelers must report all U.S. and foreign monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or greater on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form.  None of the currency is taxed.

 

It is also true that none of the money is taxed, at least by Customs. If it is considered “income,” it may be taxable. But if you’ve already paid income taxes on the money, then it is definitely not taxable again by the IRS.

Has CBP seized your cash at the airport?

If CBP seized your cash at the airport, 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.