PHILADEPHIA—A U.S. woman learned a very difficult lesson Sunday at Philadelphia International Airport after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized $39,570 that she failed to truthfully report to officers.
The woman, who was not criminally charged, arrived from Portugal with a Portuguese friend. Both women were referred to a secondary examination after both reported possessing more than $10,000 in currency - the U.S. woman claimed $30,620; the Portuguese woman $20,700. During the secondary examination, CBP officers learned that $40,570 of the combined $51,320 belonged to the U.S. woman. CBP released $1,000 to the U.S. woman for humanitarian purposes and seized the remaining $39,570. Officers advised her how to petition for the seized currency.
CBP officers also assessed a $500 mitigated currency reporting penalty to the Portuguese woman. It was one of six currency reporting penalties for a combined $3,500 in penalties that CBP officers assessed to travelers in the two-week period from July 21 to August 4.
There is no limit to how much currency that travelers can bring into, or take out of the United States. Travelers are required to formally report amounts of $10,000 or more in U.S. dollars, equivalent foreign currency, or other monetary instruments.
"CBP derives no great pleasure from seizing travelers' currency. However, there are consequences for failing to comply with U.S. laws," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. "We hope that word of these penalties will compel these and other travelers to be honest with us and to truthfully declare what they are bringing to the U.S."
The remaining five currency reporting penalties included:
- July 29, CBP officers assessed a $500 penalty to a 37-year-old Nigerian man who reported $8,500, but officers discovered that he possessed $11,400.
July 27, CBP officers assessed a $500 penalty to a 76-year-old Nigerian man who reported $5,000, but officers discovered that he possessed $11,622.
July 26, CBP officers assessed a $500 penalty to a 53-year-old Italian man who reported $7,000 in U.S. dollars, 250 Euros and 500 British pounds. Officers discovered that the man possessed $10,071 in U.S. dollars, 1,150 Euros and 1,500 British pounds, equivalent to $13,213 in U.S. dollars.
July 23, CBP officers assessed a $1,000 penalty to a 68-year-old Italian man who officers found to have structured $24,644 between himself, his brother and his girlfriend to evade reporting requirements for possessing more than $10,000.
July 21, CBP officers assessed a $500 penalty to a 38-year-old Ghanaian woman who reported $9,000, but officers discovered that she possessed $11,870.
Privacy laws prohibit CBP from releasing their names as no subjects were criminally charged.
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and cargo, and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S., items that they must declare to CBP, and merchandise duty and duty exemptions.
To learn more about CBP's border security mission please visit CBP.gov.