$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.

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com, we are here for you!

 

 

 

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 attorney.dave@yahoo.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 attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a free consultation.