Help please .. I made a mistake and CBP took my money

Old Feb 27, 10, 4:53 pm
  #1  
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Help please .. I made a mistake and CBP took my money

Thanks for the help..

Last edited by markj2010; Mar 1, 10 at 6:27 pm
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Old Feb 27, 10, 5:09 pm
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Sorry to read this happened to you. I'm not sure I follow your arithmetic. Were you going to knowingly enter the US with $13k but carried $16k on your person instead?
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Old Feb 27, 10, 5:35 pm
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My advice - cease discussing the subject here and talk to a lawyer (anything you post here could be used against you, if it is discovered during any possible court cases, IIRC, although IANAL).
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Old Feb 27, 10, 5:49 pm
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The silver lining in this cloud is that someone didn't STEAL all that cash, in which case you would be SOL.
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Old Feb 27, 10, 9:21 pm
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There's a .pdf form over here you can fill out and bring to your regional CBP office, whichever that is.

http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/CBP_Form_4630.pdf

You should still contact a lawyer, but you can also contact your regional CBP office first and ask them what to do without giving them any information they don't already have. It is quite possible that they will return the money to you with just a fine, or simply a lesson learned if you just fill out the form.

Ask them, or talk to a lawyer-- your choice. Sorry.
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Old Feb 27, 10, 10:11 pm
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This doesn't make a lot of sense. You're paying for a wedding, and you thought you had $9,000 on you. This is apparently a lot of money to you. But, your wife slipped you $3,000 extra "as a surprise" which put you over the $10,000 declaration threshold. Your dad also decided to throw in an extra $3,000 at the last minute, so you're up to $15k now - or was it $16k (9+3+3=?).

So, you've been working hard - in a foreign country since you were on an inbound international flight when you apparently got secondaried and searched by CBP, who found your wad of dollars. Now, if you're working hard and saving for three years - but apparently also borrowing money for the wedding "at an extremely high interest rate" - how exactly were you getting paid in US dollars? If you're saving for three years and borrowing money to make the initial $9,000, how did your wife AND father suddenly come up with another $6,000 to give you at the last minute?

So you're carrying this pretty big wad of bills with you - dollars somehow saved, given and borrowed in another country that presumably has it's own currency (unless you're coming in from Panama or Ecuador) - and you never do this so you don't know the rules. Did you by any chance read your US Customs form that you were either given at your original airport or on the plane, that you filled out and signed, that very clearly asks in Line 13:

"I am (We are) carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 US or foreign equivalent (see definition of monetary instruments on reverse)"

with a "Yes" and a "No" box beside it? Did you read that and checked the "No" box, even though you knew you had at least $12,000 (or maybe $13,000 depending on your math)?

Your story doesn't add up. Why didn't you answer Line 13 correctly and put down the amount you thought you were bringing - which was clearly over the declaration threshold? Why were you sent to secondary inspection in the first place? Your math seems off and a lot of your story on how you came about the money seems very strange.
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Old Feb 27, 10, 10:53 pm
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
This doesn't make a lot of sense. You're paying for a wedding, and you thought you had $9,000 on you. This is apparently a lot of money to you. But, your wife slipped you $3,000 extra "as a surprise" which put you over the $10,000 declaration threshold. Your dad also decided to throw in an extra $3,000 at the last minute, so you're up to $15k now - or was it $16k (9+3+3=?).

So, you've been working hard - in a foreign country since you were on an inbound international flight when you apparently got secondaried and searched by CBP, who found your wad of dollars. Now, if you're working hard and saving for three years - but apparently also borrowing money for the wedding "at an extremely high interest rate" - how exactly were you getting paid in US dollars? If you're saving for three years and borrowing money to make the initial $9,000, how did your wife AND father suddenly come up with another $6,000 to give you at the last minute?

So you're carrying this pretty big wad of bills with you - dollars somehow saved, given and borrowed in another country that presumably has it's own currency (unless you're coming in from Panama or Ecuador) - and you never do this so you don't know the rules. Did you by any chance read your US Customs form that you were either given at your original airport or on the plane, that you filled out and signed, that very clearly asks in Line 13:

"I am (We are) carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 US or foreign equivalent (see definition of monetary instruments on reverse)"

with a "Yes" and a "No" box beside it? Did you read that and checked the "No" box, even though you knew you had at least $12,000 (or maybe $13,000 depending on your math)?

Your story doesn't add up. Why didn't you answer Line 13 correctly and put down the amount you thought you were bringing - which was clearly over the declaration threshold? Why were you sent to secondary inspection in the first place? Your math seems off and a lot of your story on how you came about the money seems very strange.
CBP stops outbound flight pax boarding all the time, and confiscates money on outbound flights all the time.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 12:34 am
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I've taken hundreds of international flights and have not once seen CBP or predecessor agencies stop anyone and confiscate anything on an outbound flight. No one I know has ever been stopped or searched, and I've never seen anyone else stopped or searched. So, it isn't very common at all.

Regardless, the OP never indicated this was an outbound search, so we should assume it was a standard inbound immigration and customs check. The fact he was held for an hour and then let go pretty much confirms that since the plane wouldn't wait for someone.

The story, as described, doesn't hold water IMHO.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
I've taken hundreds of international flights and have not once seen CBP or predecessor agencies stop anyone and confiscate anything on an outbound flight. No one I know has ever been stopped or searched, and I've never seen anyone else stopped or searched. So, it isn't very common at all.

Regardless, the OP never indicated this was an outbound search, so we should assume it was a standard inbound immigration and customs check. The fact he was held for an hour and then let go pretty much confirms that since the plane wouldn't wait for someone.

The story, as described, doesn't hold water IMHO.
It may not be common, but a few years ago at DTW, I was stopped on the jetway outbound to Asia, by Treasury officials and queried about cash I was carrying, etc. Went on for about 5 minutes though I wasn't searched. They were being selective about who they were pulling aside and questioning, so I presume there was some tip they were pursuing that day.

However, I do concur that the OP's story is really really strange and there seem to be some information gaps and conflicts. I also assumed he was inbound into the USA, not outbound.

As to what the OP should do...well, if it were me, I'd probably be heading in person over to the CBP regional office to try to get the cash released. Saving the lawyer for Plan B. However, without knowing the home country of the OP and his visa or residency status in the USA, it's hard to say. (and yes, country of origin could make a difference in how CBP views him and his story.)

Last edited by jiejie; Feb 28, 10 at 1:07 am
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:16 am
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
It may not be common, but a few years ago at DTW, I was stopped on the jetway outbound to Asia, by Treasury officials and queried about cash I was carrying, etc.
I have never seen anyone stopped outbound, but for me it is pretty normal to have a large amount of cash in my home or on my person. I have spent a lot of time living in cash-only countries, in rather unstable situations. When in such places be it living or travelling, I always had enough cash on me to be able to go directly to the airport and pay cash for the next flight out.

That sort of thing is just prudent when people are being assassinated just down the road from my apartment... as was the VP of the local airline one evening.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:22 am
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
I've taken hundreds of international flights and have not once seen CBP or predecessor agencies stop anyone and confiscate anything on an outbound flight. No one I know has ever been stopped or searched, and I've never seen anyone else stopped or searched. So, it isn't very common at all.
You just aren't taking the right flights. Try getting on a flights to ZRH-- you may even encounter the cash-sniffing dog! They frequent those flights.

Originally Posted by catocony View Post
Regardless, the OP never indicated this was an outbound search, so we should assume it was a standard inbound immigration and customs check. The fact he was held for an hour and then let go pretty much confirms that since the plane wouldn't wait for someone.
Yup. I'm not sure what point AirborneBevo was trying to make.

Originally Posted by DesertNomad View Post
I have never seen anyone stopped outbound, but for me it is pretty normal to have a large amount of cash in my home or on my person. I have spent a lot of time living in cash-only countries, in rather unstable situations. When in such places be it living or travelling, I always had enough cash on me to be able to go directly to the airport and pay cash for the next flight out.

That sort of thing is just prudent when people are being assassinated just down the road from my apartment... as was the VP of the local airline one evening.
I hope you carry under the $10,000 threashold.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by DesertNomad View Post
I have never seen anyone stopped outbound, but for me it is pretty normal to have a large amount of cash in my home or on my person. I have spent a lot of time living in cash-only countries, in rather unstable situations. When in such places be it living or travelling, I always had enough cash on me to be able to go directly to the airport and pay cash for the next flight out.

That sort of thing is just prudent when people are being assassinated just down the road from my apartment... as was the VP of the local airline one evening.
Prudent indeed. I do the same thing, though I'm not located in Assassinationville, and in my home safe here in China always keep cash several thousand in USD and other currencies to be able to do the very same airport run, should the need arise. As well as for travelling to other countries where the USD cash is King. And usually when heading outbound from USA, I've got 2-4 thousand of crisp new Uncle Bens in the money belt to replenish the stock, but never to the point of the Treasury declaration limits.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 6:25 am
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Maybe a lawyer can chime in here and help me understand. I dont understand why they took the money:
1) For it to be a violation of the statute it has to be done "knowingly", right?
2) For there to be a forfeiture there has to be a violation of the statute, right?
3) According to the OP, the customs officer stated that he believed it was an honest mistake.

so why did they keep this guys money???
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Old Feb 28, 10, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by Ari View Post
I hope you carry under the $10,000 threashold.
Or go to a bank and wire the funds to/from the U.S.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
I've taken hundreds of international flights and have not once seen CBP or predecessor agencies stop anyone and confiscate anything on an outbound flight. No one I know has ever been stopped or searched, and I've never seen anyone else stopped or searched. So, it isn't very common at all.

Regardless, the OP never indicated this was an outbound search, so we should assume it was a standard inbound immigration and customs check. The fact he was held for an hour and then let go pretty much confirms that since the plane wouldn't wait for someone.

The story, as described, doesn't hold water IMHO.
Well I agree "common" may be up for debate; however CBP stops outbound flights daily around the US. I've also flown well over 100 int'l flights out of the USA and seen them stopping people on at least 7, and I was stopped and asked twice, IAH-LGW A(before LHR came along) and EWR-MXP.

That goofy homeland security show discussed on this forum had a an episode where they stopped a guy flying, IIRC out of Detroit, who had beaucoup dollars that he had not declared.

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