The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, on Thursday, seized $68,000 from a Nigeria-bound family who lied about the value of cash in their possession.
The confiscation was made at the Washington Dulles International Airport when the officers were conducting inspections on outbound passengers departing on a flight to Cairo, Egypt.
Though there is no limit to how much currency or other monetary instruments travelers can bring into or out of the US, travellers are, however, required by federal law to report all currency of $10,000 or more to a CBP officer.
They are also required to complete a US Treasury Department Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (FINCEN 105).
But the father, whose identity was not disclosed, claimed that the family had $10,000 in their possession, after which he signed the FINCEN 105 form declaring that amount.
However, upon further inspection of their carry-ons, the officers discovered that the total currency in their possession amounted to $68,216.
The officers remitted $216 to the family as a humanitarian release and seized the remaining $68,000.
The family was then released to continue their journey.
The CBP, in a statement detailing the incident, did not state whether the said family members were Nigerians or not.
Marc Calixte, Washington D.C. area port director, said the seizure was totally “avoidable” if the family had declared the true amount they had.
Calixte noted that unreported bulk currency may sometimes be the proceeds of illegal financial activities.
He said seizing a traveller’s currency is a “very serious consequence”, adding that travellers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk facing potential criminal prosecution.