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 firstname.lastname@example.org.