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June 14, 11

NEWS / CBP Seizes 38K in Undeclared Currency from Air Passenger

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Philadelphia International Airport seized $38,531 from a Nigerian who arrived on a flight from Germany on June 9 and repeatedly failed to comply with federal currency reporting requirements.

The passenger, who is also a U.S. lawful permanent resident, repeatedly declared possession of only “a couple hundred dollars.” During a secondary baggage inspection, CBP officers discovered two white envelopes with currency in a carry-on bag and four additional white envelopes with currency in a computer bag. The total currency in the six envelopes totaled $38,531.

There is no limit to how much currency travelers can import or export; however, 31 U.S.C. 5316 requires international travelers to declare amounts exceeding $10,000 in U.S. dollars or the equivalent foreign currency.

“Travelers who deliberately refuse to comply with federal currency reporting requirements run the risk of losing their currency and may potentially face criminal charges,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP officers allowed the passenger multiple opportunities to truthfully declare his currency. The easiest way to hold on to your currency is to report it.”

Officers seized the combined amount of $38,531, then released $631 to the passenger for humanitarian purposes. They also advised the passenger on the process to petition for the return of his currency.

Earlier this week, CBP officers fined a Kuwaiti couple $500 for failing to truthfully declare the currency they possessed. The couple arrived from London, United Kingdom on June 7 and declared $7,500 in U.S. dollars and $1,000 in equivalent foreign currency. CBP officers discovered an additional $2,456, for a total of $12,221 in U.S. and foreign currency. CBP officers assessed a $500 penalty and returned the balance to the couple.

CBP routinely conducts random currency compliance inspections of inbound and outbound travelers.

International travelers are encouraged visit CBP’s travel website to learn about rules governing travel to and from the U.S. including currency reporting requirements.




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