CBP seizes a combined total of $124k in unreported currency from travelers at Dulles airport.

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Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizure of three currency reporting violations resulted in a total seizure of over $124,000. The three violations included:

1. CBP seizure of $83,093 from a traveler to Ghana
2. CBP seizure of $23,082 from travelers arriving from Colombia
3. CBP seizure of $18,519 from a traveler to Pakistan

As you may or may not know, any traveler entering or departing the US must declare $10,000 or more in currency or monetary instruments. A common misconception among travelers is any declared value will be taxed – however, CBP will NOT tax any money reported. CBP will however, seize all unreported currency or monetary instruments over $10,000.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by customs while entering or departing the United States, call experienced money seizure attorney, David Hsu for immediate help – 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

What is a Customs “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)”?

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After your property is seized at an airport, border crossing or any of the other 400 ports of entry into the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send you a “Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit (CAFRA)” by certified mail, return receipt requested to the address you provided to CBP at the time of the seizure.

DHS and CBP are required by law to send you the notice under 19 USC 1607 and 19 CFR 162.45. The notice tells you that DHS has seized the items and will intend to “forfeit and sell, or otherwise dispose of according to law”. The final disposition of your seized property ultimately depends on the item seized.

If you do not receive a notice by mail, you can still file a claim within 30 days from the date of the publication of the CBP “Official Notification” posted on the forfeiture.gov website.

If you have had currency, suspected trademarked goods, or any other property seized by Customs, call David Hsu, an experienced customs and trade law attorney who works for you to get your hard earned property and money back. Call or email anytime, 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Dulles CBP seizes $11k from couple traveling to Vietnam.

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According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $11,882 from a couple traveling out of Dulles on February 6, 2018.

During inspections of travelers leaving the US, CBP stopped a couple boarding a flight to Vietnam. When stopped by CBP, the couple initially told CBP they had $4,000. CBP officers then read the reporting requirements to the travelers who then claimed they possessed $7,000. Upon further questioning, the travelers wrote down they had $9,000. After searching the traveler’s belongings, CBP found additional currency in the male passenger’s pants and and a purse belonging to the female traveler. A total of $11,882 was seized by CBP.

CBP does not limit how much money travelers can carry, however, CBP does require reporting of any currency or monetary instruments totaling $10,000 or more. A common misconception we hear at our law office is that the amount of money being carried will somehow be subject to a tax, which is not true.

As the couple was traveling to Vietnam at the start of February, I believe the large amount of cash was to be used during the celebration of Tet which falls on Friday, February 16th this year. Hopefully the couple will return in time to respond to the seizure notice that will inevitably be mailed to their address on file.

If your hard-earned money was taken as part of the $289,000 seized on average by CBP daily,  call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com, we are here for you!

 

 

 

Dulles CBP seizes over $143k in currency from travelers to and from Ghana.

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According to a January 18, 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release, CBP officers seized $143,968.00 in unreported currency. The seizure occurred at Washington Dulles International Airport and reflected the combined total of currency seized during three separate incidents from travelers departing and arriving from Ghana.

On Sunday, a man arriving from Ghana reported possessing $10,000 in currency. Upon subsequent inspection CBP found an additional $10,000 wrapped in a t-shirt in the man’s carryon baggage.

Also on Sunday, CBP seized over $100,000 in cash from a man heading to Ghana who initially claimed to carry $2,000. Subsequent search by CBP found $10,000 each in 10 bank envelopes in the man’s carryon backpack.

The day before, CBP seized over $23,000 from a man bound for Ghana after a currency detector dog alerted CBP officers to the traveler’s carryon baggage.

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.

Unfortunately for these travelers, CBP seized the entire funds, and only providing about $1,000 to each traveler as a “humanitarian monetary release”.

If you have had a currency seizure at Dulles, IAH, LAX or any other port of entry to the US, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com at anytime for a free consultation. We work hard to get your money back.

Boston CBP Officers find $10k in cash sewn into arriving passenger’s pants.

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According to a CBP Public Affairs media release – on January 18, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Logan International Airport seized more than $29,000 in undeclared currency from a traveler arriving on a flight from Israel.

The traveler (a U.S. Citizen), initially told CBP he was carrying $7,000 for him and an additional $7,000 for a friend. A subsequent baggage examination resulted in a finding of about $18,000 total. Upon even further inspection (which will always happen), CBP found an additional $10,000 sewn into the pockets of the pants belonging to the traveler.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much cash and other forms of currency into and out of the United States as long as all amounts greater than $10,000 are reported on a U.S. Treasury Department financial form (FinCen 105 form).

Unfortunately for this traveler, how the money was concealed and the subsequent seizure means he will have to petition CBP to get back his money.

If you or anyone you know has had currency seized at an airport, seaport, or any other port of entry by CBP, call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance. Certain time limitations apply so call 832.896.6288 for a free consultation and to start getting your money back.

 

Department of the Treasury – List of Countries Requiring Cooperation with an International Boycott.

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According a January 8, 2018 Federal Register notice here, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published it’s quarterly “List of Countries Requiring Cooperation with International Boycott”. According to the notice, the following countries do require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott (within the meaning of section 999(b)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986:

Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (all 9 of these countries have previously been designated as boycotting countries).

The Treasury rules apply to U.S. taxpayers, including but not limited to members of a controlled group, regardless of whether the transaction involves U.S. goods or services. The rules do impose reporting requirements on U.S. taxpapers and their related companies. If taxpayers have coopreated with an unsanctioned boycott, they are denied certain tax benefits as a peanlty. U.S. taxpapers must report anything related to boycotting countries by filing IRS Form 5713 and attaching to the taxpayer’s federal tax return.

If your company does business overseas, it is important to be aware of reporting found instances of boycott laws and regulations and ensure your company is in compliance with all of the rules. We find our clients sometimes overlook the boycott issue, unfortunately Customs will not, and failure to comply with boycott rules may result in significant penalties.

If you have any questions regarding boycotts, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Flying back to the US after the holidays? Be wary of these items that are prohibited from entering the U.S.

pexels-photo-123013.jpegTraveling overseas is a great opportunity to take a break from work, visit family, or just visit and explore what the world has to offer.

After a nice trip abroad, it is easy to forget about the many prohibited items U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not allow to enter the US. Here’s a summary of some prohibited items from CBP’s most recent revisions as of December 8, 2017:

Please note, that all passengers carrying fruit, vegetables, meat and/or poultry products still must declare these products to CBP for inspection – regardless whether or not it is allowed into the US.

Prohibited:
1. Muraya or “orange jasmine” is used in the construction of alters. Orange jasmine greenery may carry the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect that carries citrus greening disease.
2. Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Sour Oranges, Sweet Limes, Guavas, Mangoes, Peaches, Pomegranates from Mexico are prohibited.
3. Most fruits from outside the US.
4. Cut flowers with berries.
5. Kinder eggs, they pose a choking hazard and are illegal for consumption in the US.
6. Moon cakes containing egg, beef, poultry or pork NOT from Canada. If CBP officer can not confirm the filling of a non-Canadian mooncake, it may be denied entry.

Allowed:
1. Fruit from Canada with proof of origin.
2. Cut flowers (does not include dried, bleached, dyed, or treated plants, filler, greenery, fern fronds.
3. Ethrogs, also known as Citrus medica is allowed after inspection. Travelers will need to open the container and unwrap it. In the event insect stings or pests are found, the ehtrog will be prohibited from entering the US.
4. Twigs of myrtle and palm fronds require inspection.
5. Gift baskets may be allowed after inspection by FDA, CBP and USPS (if mailed)
6. Baked goods (bread, cereal, crackers, cakes).
7. Moon cakes with verified Canadian origin.

Safe travels everyone! If you or anyone you know has had property or currency seized by CBP, give us a call for a free consultation at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com

CBP seizes $110,000 in money from travelers going to Taiwan.

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According to a CBP Public Affairs release on December 12, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IAH) seized over $110,000 USD from a couple flying from Houston (IAH) to Taipei (TPE).

International travelers leaving or entering the US can carry an unlimited amount of money must report any currency (checks, cash, money orders, etc.) in any denomination (USD, Euro, Yen, RMB, NTD, etc.) over $10,000.

The travelers subject of the December 12th press release reported $50,000 to CBP but a subsequent search resulted in a total finding of $110,204. The money was seized by CBP and the travelers departed to Taiwan.

The press release also indicates that CBP seizes approximately $289,609 in undeclared or illicit currency each day at the various air, land, and sea ports of entry into the United States.

If you or anyone you know has had money seized at any airport, border crossing or seaport while entering or leaving the US, contact David Hsu at 713.932.1540 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for a free consultation.

FinCEN Form 105 FAQ

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We get a lot of inquiries from travelers who were requested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to complete and sign the FinCEN Form 105, so we thought it would be helpful to post a short Frequently Asked Questions page about Form 105. Please note the information can change at anytime so it’s best to always check the official Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.

What is FinCEN Form 105?
FinCEN Form 105 is a form you must complete to report that you are carrying more than $10,000 in currency while entering or leaving the US.

What is considered currency?
The FINCEN definition of currency: The coin and paper money of the United States or any other country that is (1) designated as legal tender and that (2) circulates and (3) is customarily accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.

Do I only report coin and paper money?
CBP says all travelers are required to report “negotiable monetary instruments” which includes currency or endorsed checks valued more than $10,000.

What are “negotiable instruments”?
-Coin or currency from US or other countries;
-Gold coins (excludes gold bullion);
-Travelers checks;
-Checks;
-Promissory notes;
-Money orders;
-Checks or money orders made out to someone else;
-Checks or money orders endorsed without restriction (for deposit only);
-Incomplete checks that are signed even if the “To” line is blank
-Securities or stocks in bearer form

What if I fail to declare currency in amounts more than $10,000?
Customs will seize the currency. The seizure process at the airport takes time and you will be delayed and/or miss a connecting flight.

I’m a foreign visitor to the US, do I still have to fill out a FinCEN Form 105?
Yes, anyone entering or leaving the US is required to report their currency.

What if I have a layover in the US on my way to another country, do I still have to fill out a FinCEN Form 105?
Yes, a layover in-transit to a foreign country at a US airport is still considered entering the US.

If I report the currency, is there a duty on the amount I report?
No, CBP does not collect duty on any currency.

What does the form look like?
The most recent version of Form 105 (July 2017) can be found here:
https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/fin105_cmir.pdf

Is the form available in other languages?
Unfortunately the form is only available in English. If you need the FinCEN form translated in Chinese, I can help out.

My currency was seized, what should I do?
Contact me soon as there are time requirements on getting your seized currency returned to you.

I have more questions, can I contact you?
Feel free to email me at dhsu@givensjohnston.com or 832.896.6288.

 

What happens after a Customs currency seizure?

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In my blog post yesterday, I discussed what happens after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) seizure of items and merchandise. Today’s post is along the same line but will focus instead on currency (cash) seizures by Customs.

Most of our clients report seizures of currency and cash while they are either entering or exiting an airport or at a border crossing. At the time of seizure, Customs will give you a receipt of the seizure. This is form 6051S and is officially known as the “Custody Receipt for Seized Property and Evidence”. It is important to keep this receipt as it will contain the identification number of your seizure for tracking purposes and is your only proof of the money seizure. If you do receive this form, be sure it is properly filled out and contains how much money was seized, the officer seizing the property, and contact information.

Following the seizure, Customs must send you a CAFRA Notice of Seizure that further details the seizure (why it was seized, date, location seized, and additional facts). You will get the seizure notice in the mail and it will be sent certified mail (you sign the green card, or you will receive a notice to pick up the certified mail letter at your local post office).

Once you receive the notice, you have to respond by 30 days from the date of the notice (not the day you physically receive the notice).

Your response to the seizure notice requires you to complete an “Election of Proceedings” form that will be included with the seizure notice. Customs will not easily return your seized currency and there are many nuances involved – contact me for a free consultation regarding your currency seizure.