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The TSA Stole Over $2 Billion From Travelers According to A New Lawsuit

The TSA Stole Over $2 Billion From Travelers According to A New Lawsuit
Jennifer Billock

Officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are currently facing a lawsuit from a trucking company that alleges the agencies stole more than $180,000 from one of their employees as he attempted to go through security at Tampa International Airport.

What Happened?

According to FGL Transport, it’s common for purchasers to buy pre-owned big-rig trucks with cash to avoid fraud. With that in mind, the company sent employee Boris Nulman to Cleveland to buy four trucks. He was carrying $191,500 cash on him when he got to the airport in Tampa for his flight.

Nulman had the cash in a carry-on bag, and it was pulled out for extra inspection while he was going through security. The TSA questioned him for 45 minutes, and would only allow him to leave with $10,000, though they provided a receipt documented that the remaining $181,500 was confiscated. The following day, the trucking company hired a lawyer and filed a claims form to get the money back.

“This is legitimate money,” Michael Rozenberg, co-owner of FGL Transport, told the Tampa Bay Times. “There is nothing dirty about this. We have evidence to show we took this out of our business account. Something is fishy here.”

Things Steadily Got Worse

It took Customs and Border Protection weeks to reply to the claims form. And when they did, the agency said that it was seizing $159,950 as proceeds from “specified unlawful activity,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. The other $21,550 Nulman had was unmentioned and is currently unaccounted for.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Nulman and one of the owners of the trucking company had their Global Entry revoked without warning. Now, the lawsuit is continuing as the agencies refuse to return the money they took.

This Appears to be a Trend

This isn’t the first time the TSA has been accused of stealing money from passengers. Another current lawsuit against the TSA and the Drug Enforcement Agency says that the two organizations allegedly stole $82,373 from a father and his daughter. According to the complaint, the TSA took more than $2 billion from passengers between 2009 and 2013. FlyerTalkers report TSA theft of other items as well, including jewelry, phone chargers, and cameras.

View Comments (24)


  1. davistev

    March 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Who the heck buys trucks wih cash – nothing fishy indeed!

  2. pagophilus

    March 3, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    This is not Japan. In the Western world people make big purchases like that with bank transfers. I call BS on this. Cash probably allows them to minimise tax or do something else dodgy. TSA was right.

  3. mhy

    March 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Even in Japan, a big purchase like this would be done via wire transfer.

  4. divrdrew

    March 3, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    How could the TSA be right here? Company can show it took cash out of a legitimate bank account and is a legitimate business. Problem I have with this is the concept of guilty until proven innocent and even if you can supply evidence that you are innocent, someone in CBP decides you are guilty with no due process. I hope that the lawsuit proceeds and the CBP is forced to return the entire amount. What I find very disturbing is the missing money. if only part of it is getting confiscated, what is happening with the rest.

  5. alangore


    March 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    If the feds suspected that this man was conducting some sort of illegal business, proper legal procedure is to file charges and make an arrest. The cash on him would then be frozen until trial. If found guilty at that trial, the court could then declare the money to be “fruit of the poisoned tree” and seize it.

    Police have no business making a legal determination and seizing funds for themselves without due process.

  6. MitchR

    March 4, 2020 at 4:42 am

    Regardless of legality since when is the TSA supposed to be involved in non-transport related matters? It seems like this should have been referred to the FBI and that the TSA should have disengaged.

  7. vargha

    March 4, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Thieves steal. The government can’t help itself. It’s what they do.

  8. KimchiExpress

    March 4, 2020 at 6:14 am

    Hey, TSA isn’t stupid. They need funds to pay their people!

    Yes, these kinds of purchases are often made in cash. They often buy from auctions and if you pay with a check – even a back certified check – you have to wait up to 14 days for it to actually clear. I purchased some vehicles from an auction and paid $30K in cash.

    You can’t even buy a house these days with a check of any kind. Wire? If you are at a small bank that can take days or even an entire week. Our banking system is very much still in the dark ages.

    But this is a symptom of the wrong direction the country is moving towards (no it isn’t a Trump or Obama thing – it has been happening for a lot longer). Shoot and then ask questions later.

    I think people need to understand that if you have any significant amount of cash on you – anywhere, anytime for any reason – the police WILL take it. And you will NOT get it back without a very expensive fight.

    The TSA took even $2000 from a student returning to college some years back. Another case where a guy was on his way to buy a vehicle off of Craigslist and was stopped by the police. They just took his cash.

    And some corrupt police take a cut for themselves as they figure the “drug dealer” they took it from won’t try to get it back. Maybe that is why the receipt he has differs from the one on file. Hmmm….

    Anyway, most sheeple in this country won’t care about the loss of civil liberties until it happens to them – then they scream bloody murder.

  9. arcticflier

    March 4, 2020 at 6:23 am

    This story is rife with holes.
    Bank-to-Bank Wire Transfer is how these things are done legitimately.

    Hopefully this will shine a very bright light into every nook & cranny of this trucking outfit. They need to be investigated.

  10. arcticflier

    March 4, 2020 at 6:32 am

    What about the $2 Billion?

  11. psusaver

    March 4, 2020 at 6:34 am

    This is similar to the “Civil asset forfeiture” which road based law enforcement carries out to fill its coffers – under the presumed guise of “war on drugs” and other bs like that.

  12. Baracuda618

    March 4, 2020 at 6:53 am

    Last year coming back into the USA through Newark my fiancee’s bag was suspiciously delayed, not coming out of the baggage belt in the order he put it on the belt. Apparently, it had been diverted to be searched away from our eyes (which I thought was not proper procedure). The lines were long and rushed and when it finally came through he scooped it up and we proceeded on our way. When we got home he put the bag away (it’s his travel bag) and then, 2 weeks later, when we were scheduled to leave again he grabbed the bag knowing that he had $1000 in cash in a bank envelope hidden in the bottom of the bag that was left over from the previous trip. He found the envelope but it had no money in it! Our suspicion is that TSA saw the money on the scanner and diverted the bag stealing the cash. They knew we wouldn’t check until we got home and couldn’t prove anything. Lesson learned.

  13. Loren Pechtel

    March 4, 2020 at 6:54 am

    Making big-ticket purchases with cash in private-party transactions is becoming a thing due to the level of fraud with any other payment method.

  14. Bear4Asian

    March 4, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Civil forfeiture is a scandal and has been in effect for decades. There is no presumption of innocence, no due process, and corruption like this now even at the local government level. How it has t been declared unconstitutional is shameful.

  15. polinka

    March 4, 2020 at 7:30 am

    alangore is correct. This is gross overreach and it should scare all of us.

  16. cscasi

    March 4, 2020 at 9:40 am

    I assume the trucking company employee that was carrying the money, declared the amount on the customs form upon entering the country? Funny, it is not mentioned here.
    I am not sure what to say about whether or not it was legitimate money. As long as the money was declared on the entry form, there is a record (as well as the receipt customs issued him) for the money seized.
    If it is legitimate money, then the trucking company should be able to prevail. Still, it is a shame they had to hire a lawyer and go through all this.
    It is unusual for a person to carry this amount of cash on his person.
    Of course, just because the trucking company says the money was legitimate, does not necessarily make it so. There is entirely too much cash floating back and forth across the border.

  17. BC Shelby

    March 4, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    …and it’s not just cash. TSA workers have history of pilfering passengers’ checked luggage often in the course of such “inspections” damaging luggage and other checked items irreparably with no compensation. Bad enough you have to pay the airlines baggage fees (which have gone up again) tonly to have your luggage returned (if at all) totally ripped apart with items missing.

    A total racket on on both party’s ends.

  18. Occupationalhazard

    March 4, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Traveling and paying with large amount of cash isn’t wise, but it also isn’t illegal. “Looking fishy’ isn’t a criminal offense.

    Because a government would NEVER steal would it?

    Hint: Yes, it would.

  19. lewinr

    March 4, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    cscasi, this was a domestic flight. there was no “entering the country” and no requirement to declare anything.

  20. alangore


    March 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    ” assume the trucking company employee that was carrying the money, declared the amount on the customs form upon entering the country? Funny, it is not mentioned here.”

    It’s not mentioned here because this was a DOMESTIC FLIGHT. The $10,000 exchange controls limit only applies if the money is being taken in or out of the country.

  21. troyintn

    March 4, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Not sure what is illegal here and even if it was what does the TSA have to do with it. The original charter is to protect and screen people for dangers weapons and stop travel disasters. What threat is 200 k in cash.

  22. DeltaFlyer123

    March 5, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    This reminds me decades ago a TV show (maybe 60 Minutes?) did a segment on crooked cops in Louisiana stopping out-of-state cars on I-10, ostensibly for minor infractions like improper lane use. Then they would arrest the occupants and search the vehicle, finding drugs which the cops planted themselves.
    So never underestimate how crooked cops – and entire police departments – can be.

  23. H2O - COWBOY

    March 7, 2020 at 11:33 am

    I bought a pickup truck last month $7500.00 cash ,and a lawn mower $1200.00 cash .Its what the owners wanted .

  24. Dave510

    March 8, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Looking “fishy” isn’t a crime. If they have evidence that the cash was unlawfully gained, they can have the relevant authority press charges, but they have no right to confiscate things they find “fishy”, especially if the party involved can provide evidence that the money IS legitimate.

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