$47,000 in currency seized by Customs.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Dulles International Airport asked a female traveler heading to the Netherlands how much currency she was carrying. The Netherlands-bound traveler reported she was carrying $10,000 and also produced a completed FINCEN-105 form.

CBP officers asked her if she had additional and she responded she did not. However, upon a subsequent inspection, officers found a total of more than $47,000. Officers returned her $1,740 for humanitarian purposes and she continued on her trip.

Pro Tips for travelers:

  1. If Customs ask if you are carrying over $10,000 in currency, it is because they already know you are carrying more than $10,000 in currency.
  2. Be honest with Customs, you can carry more than $10,000, you just have to report it.
  3. Don’t sign the FINCEN 105 form before you count the amount of currency you have. Count first, then sign.
  4. If you get your currency seized, you have about 30 days, if you will be overseas – be sure someone will be able to access your physical mail to receive the “Notice of Seizure”

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text for immediate help: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram at @dfobaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos.

Currency hidden in sanitary napkins seized by Customs.

Seized currency contained inside sanitary pad packaging – source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized over $60,000 from a female traveler heading to Amsterdam in early February. According to the release, the traveler was stopped by CBP officers who conducted an outbound examination. During examination, the traveler indicated she only had $1,000, but during a subsequent inspection CBP officers found bundles of cash inside envelopes, further hidden inside packaging used for containing sanitary napkins (see photo above from the CBP media release).

CBP officers seized the currency for violating currency reporting requirements – which require all travelers leaving and entering the US to declare currency over $10,000.

If you are traveling – be sure to report any amounts over $10,000 – which includes foreign currency, foreign coins, traveler’s checks, money orders, negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form – if you aren’t sure – give me a call – 832-896-6288.

The media release did not say whether a portion of the $60,000 was returned to the traveler for humanitarian reasons – so my guess is Customs kept the entire sum.

If you have had your hard-earned cash seized by Customs, contact David Hsu immediately – your time may be running out. Call/text 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

San Ysidro CBP officers seize $1 million in currency bound for Mexico.

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Photo by John Guccione http://www.advergroup.com on Pexels.com

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection media release – on December 9th, CBP officers stopped a vehicle traveling to Mexico for further inspection. During the inspection by the CBP canine team, the dog alerted CBP to the driver’s side quarter panel of the car.

Further inspection by CBP officers found many wrapped packages containing unreported US currency in the quarter panels, under the rear seat of the third row and the cargo area.

The media release doesn’t go into further details other than writing the cash was seized.

Typically, US media releases would mention the case was referred to Homeland Security Investigations – the criminal investigation arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, call David Hsu now at 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate help. You typically only have 30 days to respond to a currency seizure.

$1.3 million of counterfeit currency seized in Chicago.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Chicago International Mail Facility seized a shipment from the Ukraine containing more than $1.3 million in funny money. The exporters from the Ukraine labeled the shipment of 13,957 $100 bills as “prop money”.

While many importers believe the words or marking of currency as “prop money” means they can be imported – CBP considers any counterfeit of US currency a violation of the federal law prohibiting the reproduction of currency. CBP then turned over the money to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) for investigation.

In general, if CBP turns a case over to HSI and/or the USSS, then the importer is likely subject to criminal penalties instead of the usual civil penalties.

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

$838,481 in unreported currency seized by Customs.

Image of $838k in seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. CBP officers at the Roma, Texas Port of Entry seized more than $838,000 in unreported currency hidden in a vehicle heading out of the US.

As you are aware, all currency and monetary instruments $10,000 or more need to be reported. In this case, CBP officers seized stacks of cash totaling $838,481 in unreported currency concealed within a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado.

After seizing the currency – CBP referred the case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI). In general, if your case is referred to HSI – then there is likely a criminal case.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact our office immediately – there are time limits regarding the seizures – call or text David Hsu directly at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$46,000 in unreported currency seized.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge Port of Entry seized over $46,000 in unreported currency.

The inspection occurred when travelers were leaving the US to Mexico. During a routine inspection, CBP officers discovered $46,000 in currency and also seized the vehicle. According to the media release – the traveler with the unreported currency was referred to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Author’s note – typically customs seizure of unreported currency are not referred out to HSI. If your currency seizure was referred to HSI, then Customs believes there is a criminal element to your seizure.

What’s the rule about traveling in and out of the country with currency?
It is legal to carry more than $10,000, but it is a federal offense not to declare currency or other monetary instruments when entering or exiting the US (and even if you have a layover in a US airport with no intention of entering the US).

What happens if Customs suspects I am carrying more than $10,000 in currency?
They will stop you and the party you are traveling with prior to boarding the plane. You will be given an opportunity to declare all currency and monetary instruments. You will be given a Fincen 105 form to sign. You must accurately state all the money you have. Once you sign the Fincen 105 form, CBP will search your belongings.

I received a “Notice of Seizure” and my currency was seized by CBP at the airport. What do I do?
If you receive a “Notice of Seizure” sent Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested, then you must respond or risk forfeiting all the seized funds. Typically you have 30 days from the date of the letter to respond to the seizure.

If you get a notice of seizure or if your currency was seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$190k in unreported currency seized.

Unreported currency, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at Eagle Port performed a secondary examination on a bus traveling into Mexico. Customs used non-intrusive ways to image the contents of the vehicle and later performed a physical inspection of the bus and luggage – finding over $196,925 in currency placed in a duffle bag.

Customs seized the money because failing to declare currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 when entering or leaving the United States is a federal offense. It is also illegal to conceal money with the intent to evade reporting, or dividing money among travelers so each traveler carries less than $10,000 (“structuring”).

If you have had your currency or monetary instruments seized by Customs. Contact David Hsu by phone/text for immediate assistance at 832-896-6288. Or email David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.

Image of the seized hair, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark detained a shipment of products and accessories made with human hair today from Xinjiang, China.

The shipment was seized because of a pending “Withhold Release Order” (WRO) on hair products made by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd. The WRO came into effect on June 17th, in which Customs instructs each port to detain all products from certain manufacturers (in this case Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co. Ltd.). The 13 tons of seized products were worth over $800k dollars. WRO’s are typically issued if Customs reasonably believes goods are manufactured using prison labor, forced labor, made under use of excessive overtime, withholding of wages and or the restriction of movement. CBP seizes Chinese shipment of human hair products due to suspected use of child and forced labor.t. Prior to a WRO being issued, CBP will give the importer the burden of proof to show the merchandise is not manufactured using forced labor or any of the other issues previously written above.

If you are subject to a WRO, or if you are under audit for a potential WRO action – contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu immediately by mobile phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes $351k of 道具专用 money from China.

Seized 道具专用 money from China., source: CBP.gov

I previously posted on this blog back on May 23rd about seizure of $252k in cash that was marked in red Chinese letters with the words道具专用. Which is loosely translated as “for prop use only”. Earlier this week, CBP seized an additional $351,000 in prop currency from a shipment from Shanghai, China and headed to a residence in Milwaukee.

Upon further examination, Customs seized the counterfeit currency, noting the bills all were marked with the same serial number, lack of red and blue fibers and missing the embeded watermark. Customs also noted on the back were Chinese letters on back of bills in red.

CBP only posted the image above so I do not know for sure what Chinese characters were on the back, but the words were probably the standard 道具专用, meaning “for prop use only”. While labeled for prop use only (such as in movies), CBP considers these “foreign currency notes” as counterfeit and will destroy them. One such reason is because the prop money has been successful used in all major cities at multiple retailers.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$252,000 in “prop currency/money” seized by Customs.

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Image of seized bundles of “prop money”, source: CBP.gov

In Mid-May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Ohio seized counterfeit $100 bills totaling over $252,000. The shipment was from China to an address in Oklahoma. The package was selected for examination and an x-ray of the package showed what appears to typically be bundled currency.

Upon further inspection, CBP officers found $252,300 in cash (photo above is the actual seized currency). The currency was determined to be fake because it was printed on regular paper and had the same serial number for every bill. Additionally, on the back of the currency were the words in simplified Chinese: 道具专用 (see photo below of the actual image released by Customs).

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Image of simplified Chinese writing on the back of the $100 bill, source: CBP.gov

As an aside – simplified Chinese is the writing used in mainland China. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan all use the traditional form of writing Chinese characters.

The CBP media release explained the Chinese words as foreign writing and did not translate the words in Chinese. The words in Chinese roughly translate to “for prop use only”.

CBP says these notes are “Foreign Writing Notes” and are against Federal law and considered contraband. Sometimes they are also referred to as “motion picture, foreign writing notes”. While the currency is noted for “prop use only”, the currency is seized as the foreign notes are frequently passed off as real currency.

Just my thoughts:

  1. My guess is the person in Oklahoma was going to use the fake money for a video or movie and purchased the play money through a China-based e-commerce portal.
  2. I have never held this kind of prop currency, but maybe the writing in Chinese is erasable? The Secret Service is concerned about the importation of foreign writing notes, and probably has seen many people pass off these notes as real – perhaps the writing in Chinese can be removed?
  3. The CBP media release did not say this importation was referred to the Secret Service or HSI, CBP probably will seize the currency, issue a seizure notice. Without a referral to HSI, CBP has probably determined there was no criminal activity on the part of the importer of record in Oklahoma.

If you have had funny money, or any other of your goods seized by Customs – contact David Hsu if you have any questions – you can call/text 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.