A typical currency case is as follows:
Person Z was traveling through Houston International Airport upon arrival from Beijing, China. She was traveling with $56,741.00 in U.S. currency. She was unaware of the Currency and Monetary Instrument Report for traveling internationally with over $10,000.00 in currency. Customs and Border Protection (CBP or Customs) officials at Houston airport stopped her, detained her, and questioned her about the $56,741.00 in U.S. currency she was carrying for seven (7) hours. After the grueling detention, she was released however, Customs seized the $56,741.00. CBP issued to Person Z a Custody Receipt for Seized Property and Evidence. A couple of weeks later Person Z received a CAFRA Notice of Seizure and Information to Claimants Form AF (CAFRA Notice). The CAFRA Notice provided Person Z with the date, place, and legal reason (violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5316 and 5317), for the seizure of her $56,741.00 in U.S. currency. In addition, the CAFRA Notice included a list of options Person Z had to contest the seizure.
Abady Law Firm, P.C., received a consultation request from Person Z. After discussing the details of the above incident, we agreed to take on the case and help our new client recover her seized currency based on the information she provided.
Process of Recovery
Below are the steps of this particular recovery process and what was required from both the attorney and the client. This section is meant to provide added insight into the process so you know what to expect and whether your own case applies.
Step 1 – To start, we first requested all documented correspondence Person Z had with U.S. Customs.
Step 2 – Targeted discussions were conducted between attorney and client to which all options were explained and it was decided that we would file a Petition for Remission or Mitigation of Forfeiture (petition) on behalf of Person Z.
Step 3 – We requested specific information and details from Person Z and CBP regarding the timeline of events leading up the seizure of $56,741.00 in U.S. currency by CBP.
Step 4 – Specific documentation was requested from Person Z that would be used as evidence to support their claim.
Step 5 – We drafted and filed a petition utilizing case law, statutes, and federal regulations taking into account all the facts, circumstances, and important nuances of Person Z’s case while including supportive documentation as exhibits.
The outcome resulted in the standard amount of recovery which means CBP returned $51,741.00 out of $56,741.00 seized.
If you have endured your own currency seizure at a border or airport similar to Person Z, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099 who can provide nationwide guidance on currency, money seizures at borders, airports, and through the mail.