Civil Forfeiture – Know Your Rights!

Routinely, individuals in the U.S. have property taken from them under “Asset Forfeiture” laws and are unaware of their rights.  Civil judicial forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction, and is a powerful legal tool used by law enforcement and Federal Agencies to seize property that is involved in a crime. Fines and forfeitures have become a key source of revenue, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The majority of federal forfeiture cases are uncontested when there is a related criminal case. Administrative forfeiture occurs when property is seized but no one files a claim to contest the seizure. Property that can be administratively forfeited includes merchandise prohibited from importation; a conveyance used to import, transport, or store a controlled substance; a monetary instrument; or other property that does not exceed $500,000 in value. Federal law imposes strict deadlines and notification requirements in the administrative forfeiture process. If the seizure is contested, then the U.S. government is required to use either criminal or civil judicial forfeiture proceedings to gain title to the property.

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CBP Sued Over Mandatory Hold Harmless Release Agreement

Did you know that when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decides to release goods that were seized by CBP, it requires that you sign a Hold Harmless Release Agreement, as a prerequisite to receiving goods, which prevents you from filing suit against the government (for example for wrongfully detaining your goods)? Well this is a common practice among CBP and now a class action lawsuit is being brought against CBP for this practice.

How Did This Lawsuit Come About?

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International Travelers Beware – U.S. Customs WILL Seize Your Money…

 

International travelers often contact me with the same distraught face as the man pictured to my left, after their money is confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as a result of not properly declaring currency on hand.

Declaration Form 6059B will look familiar to all international travelers as you fill it out when entering the U.S.  Many times, the rationale for seizure is that parties traveling together split their currency, and even though together they have over the $10,000 minimum, the travelers advise they are each carrying less then the $10,000 minimum requirement for reporting (in question 13 of Form 6059B), resulting in ALL of the currency on hand being seized. On a Typical Day in Fiscal Year 2015, CBP seized $356,396 in undeclared or illicit currency.

Recently, CBP seized $82,000 of currency, and arrested the female driver, after discovering three packages of bulk currency hidden within a vehicle as a female driver attempted to exit the U.S. and enter Mexico.

During this holiday season, this post will tell you what you need to know to assure it’s NOT YOU that has their currency seized when traveling internationally!

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Can I Bring in More Than $10,000 to the United States When Travelling? / ¿Puedo Viajar Con Más De 10,000 Dólares A Los Estados Unidos?

I'm coming back into the United States and I need to bring in more than $10,000. I heard that you are not allowed to bring that much money into the U.S. when you travel. Am I allowed to bring in more than $10,000 to the U.S. when I travel? The simple answer to this question is: YES.

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