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When Money Is Seized at an Airport, Where Does It Go?

When Money Is Seized at an Airport, Where Does It Go?

Most of the time, travelers don’t anticipate having their funds confiscated at the airport. When this does happen, it can be incredibly exhausting and confusing. To make matters worse, there’s no set limit to how much cash you can carry with you, either on your person or in your luggage. However, if you are traveling internationally, you’re permitted to carry a maximum of $10,000 in cash with you on your flight.

If you intend to carry more than this, you will be required to fill out a FinCEN 105 form at Customs. Further, if an agent asks you about the large sum of money you’re carrying, you must be able to provide a legitimate explanation. Otherwise, your cash is likely to be seized—and you won’t always be able to get it back. Before traveling with large sums of money, consider the complications of seizure. Find advice from an experienced NYC customs cash seizure lawyer.

Where Does the Money Go?

Whenever large sums of cash are seized atthe airport—where do they end up? This depends on the nature of the seizure and on which law enforcement agency confiscated the money. Not all money seizures at the airport are the same, and they can occur for several different reasons, in different ways. Still, an asset forfeiture and seizure lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the seizure process, no matter what form it takes.

Have you had cash seized at an airport in the New York City area, including in Brooklyn, NY? It can be both alarming and frustrating. The best course of action is to consult an experienced Customs cash seizure attorney at Tsigler Law. Whenever you work alongside a lawyer, you will have a far greater chance of seeing your money returned to you.

The 3 Types of Airport Money Seizures

This might seem like troubling information so far—maybe you’re wondering when, exactly, you’re at risk of having your money seized at an airport.

Where does your cash end up after it has been seized at an airport? There are a few possibilities, depending upon the nature of the seizure. As it turns out, three different types of cash seizures can occur at an airport as you travel. Here is a brief overview of all three of those types, in which your money may be seized without being returned to you.

  1. Airport Cash SeizureWhenever you’re at an airport, you will probably notice that there’s a good deal of law enforcement agents and officers wandering around the area. Generally, the goal of these officers is to find wrongdoers and appropriately apprehend them. Sadly, there’s always a chance that you could be singled out by an agent, even if you have not committed any kind of crime. If you find yourself faced with this extra level of scrutiny, it can be difficult to know how to respond, as this can occur abruptly and without you expecting it.If authorities inspect your luggage and discover a large sum of cash, then you are at risk of having that money seized.
  2. DEA Cash SeizureAnother circumstance where you could have your money seized at an airport is due to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As the DEA has a mandate to search luggage and question travelers at airports, there’s always a chance that you could find yourself in this position. If you’re discovered to be traveling with large sums of cash, the DEA might suspect that this is due to criminal activity. Whenever criminality is suspected, your money will likely be seized—and it might not be returned to you later.Keep in mind that even if you are carrying less than $10,000 in cash, there’s still a chance that the DEA could confiscate it. This can lead to issues, as many individuals carry cash to take care of travel expenses.Further, federal drug agents utilize a system known as cold consent. This is a highly flawed system and allows DEA agents to stop any individual who they believe to be “behaving suspiciously,” with no clear criteria of what constitutes “suspicious” behavior. Sadly, it isn’t unheard of for this to result in racial profiling in the airport.Due to cold consent, as soon as a traveler consents to having their luggage searched, the agent can perform this search without a warrant. No further evidence is required, aside from a gut feeling and a quick request to search.
  3. U.S. Customs Border Cash SeizureLast, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can seize cash at an airport. This can occur at the border as you enter the country, at airport checkpoints, or on the road. Due to the equitable sharing program, these officers are further incentivized to seize money due to a kickback that helps with their own budgetary needs.

Where Does Money End Up, After Being Confiscated?

Again, where the seized money ends up is mainly dependent upon the agency that confiscated it. Generally, however, the money will be distributed to several parties—most of these funds will typically go to whichever organization is responsible for the seizure.

Contact a NYC Asset Forfeiture and Seizure Attorney

After you have had cash seized at the airport, the first and most crucial step is to get in touch with experienced asset forfeiture and seizure lawyer. The attorney you work with should have substantial experience in cases relating to money seized at airports—this is the case for the legal team at Tsigler Law.

We understand just how confusing this situation can be and that many individuals feel blindsided by it. Unfortunately, laws relating to the seizure of cash at airports aren’t widely known, and the laws that are in place can be unclear and prone to misuse by law enforcement. Unfortunately, in many instances, it is difficult to have your money returned to you. This is why you must hire an attorney—when you work with a lawyer, you will have a far better chance of having your money returned to you.

Get in touch with Tsigler Law through our website, where you can schedule a consultation with us.

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