$715k in US currency seized from bus entering the US from Mexico.

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According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers in Hidalgo intercepted $715,010 in unreported U.S. currency in a commercial bus attempting to enter into Mexico on September 24th.

The officers were conducting an outbound operation at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and stopped the bus for further inspection. Officers used an imaging system and found 32 packages containing US currency hidden in the bus.

The hidden currency was seized by CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were involved.

In general, if HSI is involved, CBP believes the currency is the proceeds or will be used for illegal activities.

If you have had your currency seized by CBP, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance. Phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP conducts anti-counterfeit operations in New Orleans.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in the New Orleans Field Office partnered with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for their “Operation Safety Claus”. As indicated by the name of the operation, “Operation Safety Claus” is a joint anti-counterfeiting law enforcement operation in metro New Orleans to target the importation of counterfeit goods during the holiday season.

According to the press release, in the past few weeks, CBP officers have seized items such as makeup, contact lenses, hair products, eyelashes, and clothing. During the Halloween holiday, CBP seized an increase in items like contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics. CBP warns counterfeit goods may contain bacteria, heavy metals, or other toxins that pose a health risk.

As in all their media releases related to counterfeit goods, CBP highlighted the public safety risk of counterfeit goods, the sale of counterfeit goods to fund illicit activities and crime and restated their counterfeit seizure figures.

If your property has been seized by CBP, you must respond or risk a civil penalty down the road and a loss of your shipment. Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

HSI New Orleans Deputy Special Agent in Charge Gilbert S. Trill explained that selling and purchasing counterfeit items is an intellectual property crime, often used to fund international and transnational criminal organizations. These crimes can also have an adverse effect on the United States, in terms of reduced innovation, repressed job markets, and reduced quality. Additionally, it puts the public at risk with little recourse.

“You’re not going to be able to sue an illegal activity or transnational criminal organization,” he said.

On a typical day in 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection alone seized $3.7 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations, with the IPR industry topping $ billion nationally. Many of these products are shipped through mail facilities throughout the country.

“The discovery and interception of counterfeit merchandise that pose safety hazards to our citizens is an illustration of how CBP works every single day to keep dangerous goods from the commerce of the United States,” said Mark S. Choina, Assistant Port Director, Trade, Port of New Orleans.

The New Orleans office of HSI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, while the New Orleans CBP office covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. For more information on IPR, visit https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/ipr.

$72,000 in undeclared currency seized from traveler.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, CBP officers at Orlando International Airport (MCO) seized over $72,000 in currency from a traveler who failed to declare the entire amount of the currency they were carrying.

The traveler initially said they were only in possession of $15,000.00. CBP officers then presented the traveler with a Fincen form in which the traveler wrote the amount of $51,000. After further inspection, CBP officers discovered additional bundles of cash inside a backpack – leading to a seizure of $72,000 in currency.

If you are ever presented with a Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) form, you must write down the accurate amount of currency you are carrying (including checks, money orders, foreign currency and other monetary instruments).

Violations of the reporting requirements typically lead to a seizure of the currency and may lead to involvement by HSI – resulting in your arrest. If you have had your currency seized by CBP, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP seizes $17k from Jamaica-bound Traveler.

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According to a Customs media release, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized $16,542 in unreported currency from a traveler heading to Jamaica.

Upon initial questioning, the traveler indicated to CBP officials he was carrying $6,000. CBP then explained to him the reporting requirements and the traveler indicated in writing he was carrying $8,000. Upon secondary inspection, CBP found $16,542 in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

What do you do if Customs asks how much you are carrying?
Be truthful and tell them how much you are carrying, even if it exceeds the $10,000.

Do I sign the form they present to me?
Sometimes CBP will ask you to sign a form indicating how much money you are carrying – fill out that form truthfully and declare all the money you are carrying.

I’m traveling with my family, do I include the currency they are carrying?
Yes, count the currency of everyone traveling in your party (your kids, spouse, parents, in-laws, friends, etc).

They seized my currency, what do I do?
Contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288. I’m available 24/7 by phone or text. Or email me anytime at my personal email: attorney.dave@yahoo.com or my work email: dh@gjatradelaw.com.

 

$21k in unreported currency seized by Customs.

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Photo of the seized currency from the Nigerian travelers. Source: CBP Media Release website.

According to a CBP media release, Customs seized $20,850 from a Nigerian couple entering the US on a flight from London.

The couple initially told Customs they were carrying $15,000 in currency but a subsequent search revealed an additional $5,850. Customs returned $4,990 to the couple for humanitarian relief  and released the couple to visit the US.

Do I have to declare $10,000 when I leave the US or only when I enter?
Both times, you always have to declare more than $10,000 anytime you are entering, leaving or transiting in the US.

Is the limit $10,000 per person?
No, it is $10,000 per group of travelers. You can’t “divide” up money amount your family members to get under the $10,000 limit.

If you have had your currency seized, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$28,000 in unreported currency seized by Customs.

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Image of the seized currency, source: CBP media release website.

According to a CBP media release last Friday, CBP Officers seized approximately $28,000 in unreported currency from travelers bound for Ghana.

CBP was alerted to a women’s carry one by canine where she reported to CBP officers she was carrying $8,000. A subsequent search found $11,500 in her carry-on. The woman then admitted she was traveling with 4 other passengers and they were carrying currency for her. After searching the other four passengers, CBP officers seized an additional $16,354 for a total of $27,854. According to the CBP media release, $154 was returned to the traveler for humanitarian relief and the five travelers were released.

Besides this seizure, CBP also reported seizure of $15,415 in unreported currency from another Ghana-bound traveler.

What is humanitarian relief?
It’s a sum of money Customs can release to people who have had their currency seized. The amount varies, but it is to cover travel expenses.

Is it $10,000 per person or per family?
There is some confusion about the $10,000 requirement. Many believe it is per person, however, it is per family/group. For example, you can’t give each of your kids $10,000 to avoid the reporting requirement. In this media release, the lady admitted to asking her friends to carry the cash for her – known to Customs as “structuring” to avoid reporting requirements.

Do I have to pay any money if I carry more than $10,000 of currency with me?
No, Customs does not charge you a fee to carry more than $10,000. You can carry any amount you want as long as it is reported.

I have more questions – 
I have more answers! Call David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com  for immediate answers to your questions.

CBP seizes $1.6 Million inside Propane Gas Tank.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release – officers along with other federal partners under the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) in Puerto Rico found and seized $1.6 million in undeclared currency inside a large propane gas tank on a disabled vessel found drifting near the coast of Cabo Rojo.

The report states: “On May 23, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan requested assistance from a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Marine Patrol Unit for a reported disabled vessel. The AMO marine unit found the vessel dead in the water 16 miles southwest of Cabo Rojo, with two men from the Dominican Republic on-board.

The vessel and its occupants were navigating to to Santo Domingo from the British Virgin Islands, when the vessel’s engine failed.

The AMO unit towed the vessel to the Mayaguez port where a CBP Field Operations Officer (CBPO) conducted an inspection.

A CBP canine alerted to the presence of a familiar odor from a large propane gas tank. Inside the tank the CBPO, AMO agent and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents discovered large sums of U.S. currency.

The undeclared currency totaled $1,638,700.”

Our firm does handle currency seizures – however, in this instance, this would be a tough case to demonstrate a legitimate source and legitimate use of the funds:

1. The cash was found hidden in a propane gas tank, not exactly a place where you normally keep money and forget to report.

2. $1.6 million is a lot of currency, the two arrested individuals would need to prove to CBP the money was legitimate.

3. In addition to showing the funds were obtained legally, the individuals also have to show a legitimate use for the funds.

4. Homeland Security Investigations got involved, HSI typically does not get involved in currency seizures unless they believe the funds are related to criminal activity.

Here are a few quick tips to avoid currency seizures:

1. The $10,000 limit applies to everyone you are traveling with – not per individual.

2. You must report any amount over $10,000 whether you are entering, transiting or leaving the US.

3. It doesn’t matter what currency you have, all currency from anywhere in the world, checks, traveler’s checks, etc. have to be reported.

4. Canine will be able to detect the currency regardless where you try to hide it.

5. If you are asked to declare how much you are carrying, answer truthfully before you sign the FinCen form.

Questions?

Call David Hsu if you have any questions, 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Nogales CBP Officers Seize Drugs and Unreported Currency.

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According to a CBP news release, CBP officers arrested two Mexican nationals and a US citizen for attempting to smuggle 10 pounds of heroin valued at $268,000 and 27 pounds of meth valued at $82,000, 5 pounds of fentanyl worth $56,000 and unreported currency containing nearly $96,000. I typically don’t report on drug seizures, but included posted about this CBP media release as CBP also found seized currency. In general, currency can be released if you can show a legal source and legal use of the funds. Unfortunately, as this currency was seized along with the drugs, it will be hard to convince Customs the seized currency were from a legitimate source and have a legitimate use.

If you or someone you know has seized currency and want to get your hard earned money back, contact experiecned seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Unreported currency seizures up 62% over last year at Detroit field office.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release, CBP officers in the Detroit field office report an 62% increase in the seizure of unreported currency from international travelers.

As you are aware, all amounts of money, checks, currency (even foreign currency) totaling over $10,000 USD must be reported as you enter or leave the United States. Even if you are in the US temporarily on a layover, you must report this currency.

Back to the recent increase. Specifically, from October 1st to March 31st, CBP has seized over $3.8 million compared to $2.3 million during this same time frame in 2018.

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized, contact experienced customs money seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 immediately, you have a certain time to respond so call anytime or email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes $170k in smuggled cash.

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Image of seized cash in bundles, hidden in tailgate. Source: CBP media relations website.

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a seizure of $170,000 dollars in money hidden in the tailgate of a pick-up truck.

According to the media release, the currency was wrapped in black tape and hidden within the tailgate of the truck.

CBP seized the money and the driver and passenger were placed into custody by Homeland Security Investigation special agents.


I’ve handled countless currency seizures and here are some answers to currency seizure questions you may or may not have:

Can they get the seized money back?
Most likely not – (1) because of the method taken to conceal the money, also, (2) the case was turned over to HSI instead of with CBP. If the case stayed with CBP, then they are dealing with FP&F. If a case is with HSI, then there’s likely no civil seizure petition method.

What do you have to show to get your seized money back?
Short version – you need to show legitimate source and use of funds. Every case is different, call David Hsu to discuss yours – 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.