Massive amount of counterfeit coins and fake $100 bills seized by Customs.

Images of seized $100 bills, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP in Chicago seized 279 parcels containing multiple denominations in coin currency. The shipment consisted of 88 packages containing 2,020 coins with subsequent seizures containing 93 packages and over 2,548 coins. The third and fourth seizure contained 52 parcels of 908 counterfeit coins and 46 parcels containing 1,191 coins. CBP reports most of the coins were collector items bearing images of a buffalo, bald eagle or native Americans stamped on the coins. The packages were seized on suspicion of being counterfeit.

In addition to coins, CBP also seized multiple packages containing $149,200 and $9,700 in counterfeit 100 dollar bills. While the shipments were manifested as “bar props”, CBP still seized the counterfeit currency because copying Federal Reserve notes is a federal offense.

I often see counterfeit $100 bills for sale on popular online shopping websites that rhyme with “dish” located in China and selling play money labeled as “prop money”. If you are the importer of record, CBP may (likely will) seize the fake money, even if the words “prop money” are written on the face of the bill, the currency is still a copy of real currency and therefore illegal to import.

If you have had your goods seized, whether it is collector coins from China or copies of $100 bills, contact David Hsu by phone text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com anytime for immediate assistance.

$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.

$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.

$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.

CBP seizes $45k in unreported currency.

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Image of the seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, the Office of Field Operations (OFO) in Laredo seized over $45,000 in undeclared currency in a single event over the weekend.

Officers seized the currency from a new 2020 Toyota Avalon traveling to Mexico during examination. A physical inspection revealed $45,147 in undeclared currency. As a result, the vehicle and cash was seized by CBP. In this instance, the vehicle, cash and seizure was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

In general, if your seized goods are referred to HSI, then there will likely be a criminal investigation into the seized goods.

If you have had your goods seized in the Port of Laredo or any of the over 400 ports of entry into the US, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP Officers seizes $19k in money from US travelers.

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

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized $19,000 in unreported currency from a couple of Morocco-bound travelers over the holidays. 

The couple was stopped at the airport (CBP will usually stop you as you board your flight) and told CBP they understood the federal currency reporting requirements. They then signed a document saying they possessed $8,000 in currency. As a side note – this is the FinCen form. I believe CBP stops people as they board the flight as people are usually in a hurry and want to just get on their flight – so may not correctly declare how much money they are carrying.

As you are aware, you have to report to CBP if you are carrying $10,000 in currency. CBP will not take it away and the amount is not taxed – it just has to be reported.

In this instance, CBP officers discovered $19,651 in currency (they will count the traveling group as 1, and not each individual member of the group). CBP also released back to the travelers $651 in what is known as “humanitarian purposes” before the travelers boarded their flight.

If you have had your hard earned money seized by Customs, or if you experience any customs seizure, contact experienced customs law attorney David Hsu by email/text at 832-896-6288 or attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Customs seizes more undeclared currency from travelers.

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CBP currency detector dog Cato, source: CBP.gov

According to a Customs media release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized unreported currency from several travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport.

In the first seizure, a CBP currency detector dog Cato (pictured above) alerted CBP to baggage owned by a couple from Turkey. When stopped by Customs, the travelers declared they had $5,000. Upon a subsequent search, CBP discovered $20,654 in currency. CBP returned $654 in humanitarian relief and seized the remainder.

In the second seizure, CBP officers inspected a couple bound for Ghana who reported they possessed $36,000 in writing and verbally. A subsequent examination discovered $40,781 in their possession. Like above, CBP released $781 in humanitarian relief while seizing the remaining balance.

As previously discussed on my blog, you can carry large amounts of money, and those who are carrying $10,000 or more must report all of the amount to Customs.

If you are ever asked to declare how much you are carrying, if you do not know the exact amount, be sure to declare more than you are carrying. Also, be sure to include all your family members or everyone you are traveling with in the final calculation.

If you or someone you know has had their currency seized by Customs, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com and dh@gjatradeaw.com.

Customs seizes $21,000 in unreported currency.

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Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized $21,255 in unreported currency from traveler headed to Pakistan departing from Washington Dulles International Airport.

The passenger was headed to Pakistan through Turkey and was stopped for further inspection prior to boarding the plane. The traveler reported she had $6,000 and also told Customs officials she understood the currency reporting requirements.

Most of the time, Customs will make a traveler sign the FinCen 105 form before conducting a more detailed inspection.

After the traveler declared she had $6,000, a subsequent search by officers revealed she was carrying a combined $21,255. Customs returned her $255 for “humanitarian purposes” and seized $21,000 for violation of currency reporting requirements.

Depending on the amount seized, Customs may or may not return some money to the traveler for “humanitarian purposes” and the amount is discretionary.

Customs may or may not issue civil and criminal penalties for violation US currency requirements – in this instance, HSI was not involved so I do not believe Customs will pursue any criminal penalties.

If you have had your hard-earned currency seized by Customs, call experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com. There are certain deadlines that must be met to ensure your seized currency is not forfeited.

$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 seizes $107,360 in unreported currency from traveler headed to Jordan.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

Another day, another CBP media release of a currency seizure. This time the seizure occurred at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). On April 11th, a traveler departing ORD to Jordan was intercepted by CBP and found to be concealing $107,360 in sealed shirt bags.

31 USC 5316 indicates that all travelers must report currency in the amount of $10,000 or more. Travelers carrying $10,000 or more need to complete a FinCEN Form 105, also known as the Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR).

If you have had currency seized, call David Hsu for immediate assistance, 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com. We can assist clients all over the world, don’t delay call today.