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Structuring $10,000 to Evade Reporting

If your money was seized because you or your traveling companions were carrying more than $10,000 in U.S. Currency without declaring the proper amount on the FinCEN Form 105 to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent, then immediately hire an attorney.

An attorney can help you file a verified claim demanding the immediate return of the currency. Filing the verified claim starts the clock on a 90-day deadline.

During those 90 days, the federal agency (CBP or DEA) that seized the money, must turn the case over to the United States Attorney’s Office. After the referral, an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the civil asset forfeiture unit will be assigned to the case.

During that 90 day period, the AUSA must decide whether to return the money or file a complaint for forfeiture in the district court.

You need an attorney to represent you during this process to convince the AUSA not to file a complaint for forfeiture in the district court. Your attorney can show the AUSA while the initial detention was illegal, why sufficient facts did not support the seizure, or why the facts known now do not support a forfeiture action.

Attorney for Structuring to Evade Reporting $10,000 at the Airport

If a federal agent with HSI or CBP alleged that you and another person carried more than $10,000 on an international flight after structuring the money to evade the reporting requirement pursuant to Title 31, United States Code, Section 5324 or the FinCEN 105 form, then contact us today.

We can help you show that the currency was not involved in a violation of so-called “structuring” laws, and therefore is not subject to forfeiture. To establish a violation of the structuring laws, the government must prove that the currency was deposited in amounts under $10,000 for the specific purpose of evading bank reporting requirements. See 31 U.S.C. § 5324. 

We understand the rules when the government alleges that two travelers knowingly divided the U.S. currency between themselves so that each was transporting less than $10,000 from a place inside the United States to a place outside of the United States.

Our lawyers can help you fight allegations of intending to evade the currency reporting requirement of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5316.

We also collaborate with other attorneys fighting similar battles throughout the busiest airports in the United States. Attorneys contact us to co-counsel with them on their case. No matter where the U.S. Currency was seized, contact attorney Leslie Sammis.

Call 813-250-0500 today.


Complaint for Forfeiture in Structuring to Evade Cases

If the AUSA decided to file a VERIFIED COMPLAINT OF FORFEITURE IN REM, then a civil action is initiated in the appropriate district court. The Court has jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Sections 1345 and 1355.

Most cash seizures before an international flight involve an allegation that the currency seized is forfeitable because it is involved in a currency reporting violation under Title 31 United States Code, Section 5316 since the traveler failed to file a currency and monetary instrument report as required by Title 31, United States Code, Section 5317(c)(2).

In addition to the failure to file the currency report, FinCEN Form 105, the AUSA might allege a structuring to evade the reporting requirement.


Structuring to Evade Reporting Requirement – Section 5316

The government might also allege that the currency seized is also forfeitable because of structuring to evade reporting requirement pursuant to Title 31, United States Code, Section 5324, since the travelers did, with the intent to evade the currency reporting requirement of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5316, knowingly divided the defendant currency between themselves so that each was transporting less than $10,000 from a place inside the United States to a place outside of the United States.

In these cases, the most common scenario involves two travelers at an airport in the United States preparing to take an international flight. Prior to boarding the flight, Customs and Border Protection is trained to present the travelers with a copy of the following documents:

  • the FinCEN Form 105;
  • a CBP Form 503;
  • outbound currency reporting questionnaires;
  • a Supplemental Form 503 that explains the Federal requirement to declare all out-bound United States currency in excess of $10,000.00.

The questionnaire asks whether the traveler is carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 in United States currency. The questionnaire also asks whether the traveler is traveling alone and whether the traveler checked any baggage.

The questionnaire askes these questions:

  • “Are you transporting more than $10,000 in monetary instruments for yourself and/or someone else?”
  • “Are you transporting any packages or money given to you or for someone else?”

Customs and Border Protection Officers will consult with the airline to determine whether any bags were checked or whether the traveler had any traveling companion.

The CBP officers will then search the travelers and seize any currency they find if the total amount being carried is in excess of $10,000. The form requires the traveler to acknowledge understanding of the reporting requirements as stated on the CP 503.

The travelers are interrogated to determine who the money actually belonged to, whether the travelers knew each other, whether they lied to evade the reporting requirements.

If one traveler files a REQUEST FOR REMISSION OR MITIGATION OF FORFEITURE that claims ownership of more than $10,000, then that statement can be used against him when the complaint is filed.

In these cases, the AUSA might file a complaint claiming that the defendant U.S. currency is forfeitable pursuant to Title 31, United States Code, Section 5317( c )(2), as it represents currency or property involved in a currency reporting violation under Title 31 United States Code, Section 5316.

The complaint might also allege that the currency is also forfeitable pursuant to Title 31, United States Code, Section 5324, since the travelers structured the U.S. Currency with the intent to evade the currency reporting requirement of Title 31, United States Code, Section 5316, by knowingly dividing the currency before the international flight.

The complaint will request relief in accordance with provisions of Rule C (3), Supplemental Rules of Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims. In the civil lawsuit, the AUSA will request that any person or persons having any interest in the U.S. Currency be cited and directed to answer this complaint as required by Title 18, United States Code, Section 983(a)(4)(A).

The AUSA also requests in the lawsuit that the Court decree the condemnation and forfeiture of the defendant’s currency to the United States.

Don’t let the U.S. Government take your money. Fight to protect your rights. Hire an attorney to help you immediately file a verified claim and represent you in court if the money is not returned quickly.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, November 26, 2021.

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