US Customs seizes family’s life savings.

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As has been widely reported in the news, an immigrant family in Ohio had Customs seize $58,100 of their money, an amount described as the family’s life savings.

Rustem Kazazi was headed to Albania when Customs and Border Protection stopped them at the airport and seized their cash. The cash was separated into three stacks ranging from $19,000 to $20,000 per stack.

The family is now suing CBP because they claim CBP used civil forfeiture laws to take the money without an arrest being made or charges against anyone.

Kazazi planned to spend six months in Albania and the funds were earmarked for a vacation home along the Adriatic Cost and to help extended family. The cash was also to pay living expenses while they spent 6 months back in Albania.

Will be following this and the other currency seizure involving the Texas nurse and post updates on the cases as they progress.

I’m surprised the currency was seized in Cleveland as he was supposed to take a flight to Newark, NJ before leaving from there to Albania. The currency reporting requirements are for reporting currency and or monetary instruments over $10,000 upon entering and or leaving the country. It seems in this instant case that Kazazi wasn’t leaving the country when they seized his currency, his next flight was from Ohio to Newark and then to Albania.

If you or someone you know has had a currency seizure and has any questions – contact experienced currency seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 at anytime or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.comm 

Cash seizures by CBP during busy Memorial Day and tips on what you need to do if you have had your cash seized.

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CBP media release noted multiple drug arrests over the Memorial Day weekend at the Buffalo area (Peace Bridge and Lewiston Ports of Entry). Most of the incidents involved travelers with illegal substances and arrests on several US travelers for outstanding warrants.

Lastly, CBP seized $20,000 in currency from a Canadian citizen for failure to report currency over $10,000.

The media release indicates CBP seized the currency and “the traveler was refused entry into the United States”.

What? At least let the guy in –

If you are ever traveling and have your currency seized, be sure to do the following:

  1. Give Customs and Border Protection your real address. They will send you a certified letter.
  2. Cooperate with Customs officials.
  3. Disclose all the money you have up front.
  4. You will be asked to sign a FinCen form, sign it only after you write down all the money you really have.

Here are some other tips:

  1. CBP will seize all currency, doesn’t matter if it is in US dollars or in currency of another country.
  2. Money orders, checks also count, it is not just cash that is counted.
  3. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving or entering the country – you have to declare the currency anytime you ENTER or LEAVE the US.
  4. Check your mail within 1-2 weeks of your currency seizure.
  5. Do not ignore the letter you will receive from Customs.
  6. Call experienced Currency Seizure attorney David Hsu immediately at 832-896-6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

CBP seizes combined $152k in unreported currency from two travelers in April 2018.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers at the Philadelphia International Airport seized a combined total of 152,342 in unreported currency from two travelers departing out of who recently departed PHL.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much currency (cash, checks, money orders, or other monetary instruments), but MUST report all amounts totaling $10,000 or more on a U.S. Department of Treasury financial form.

The first seizure took place on April 1st, where a traveler headed to Turkey was seized with $46,500 and the second seizure occurred on April 7th, where a traveler to Ghana had possessed $105,842.

If you or anyone you know has had cash seized at the airport, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

We work hard to get your hard earned money back from Customs, don’t delay – call today!

Help! CBP seized our cash even though each of us only carried $6,000.

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We often hear from our clients that Customs seized their cash even though they were carrying less than $10,000. The typical scenario is a couple traveling overseas. The husband is carrying $6,000 in cash and the wife carries another $6,000 in cash. To most people, this appears to not violate the $10,000 reporting rule, right?

Unfortunately, it’s wrong. In the eyes of Customs, this is “structuring”. Structuring is when a person has divided more than $10,000 upon import or export of money or equivalent to avoid reporting. The law against structuring is found under 31 USC Section 5316.

We all know air travel is stressful, but next time, be sure to just report all the currency you have with you over $10,000. The cash is not taxed and reporting the money will ultimately save you time and stress. Cash seizures at airports will take several hours and you will more than likely miss your flight, or your connecting flight and the important events you have planned at your destination.

It is important to note that structuring still applies even if it is done over several days, weeks or months and structuring still applies regardless of the form of the money (whether it is in cash, travelers checks, or other monetary instruments).

So what are the penalties for currency seizures?
There are both civil and criminal penalties for structuring currency, it all depends on the circumstances of the seizure. The money can be seized, forfeited, and you may be  fined, or face additional criminal penalties if there is a pattern of illegal activity over a year long period.

Additionally, once you are in the Customs database and have a record for one currency seizure, each entry and exit to and from the US may result in heightened scrutiny from CBP.

NEED HELP?
If you or someone you know has faced a currency seizure for structuring or a cash seizure for failure to declare, contact experienced money seizure attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.