Customs agents take $15K from traveler because she didn't declare it

Mike Dougherty
January 15, 2020 - 8:38 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A woman traveling from Philadelphia to Lebanon had to hand over $15,000 in cash at the airport because she failed to declare how much money she had. Customs and Border Protection agents are using this as an opportunity to remind people how important it is to be honest.

There are about 400 laws on the books for CBP officers to enforce. One of them is a U.S. Treasury Department mandate that anyone with more than $10,000 in cash must report it before entering or leaving the country.

"They can carry all the money they want," CBP spokesman Steve Sapp said. "If they have $2 million in cash, they are welcome to carry that — as long they report it to a Customs and Border Protection officer. The only thing we're going to ask them to do is fill out a U.S. Treasury financial form."

Sapp says sometimes people have to forefit their cash if they lie.

"Just be honest and truthful with us, and let our officers determine whether or not anything you're carrying is admissible to the country or if they're complying with all U.S. laws," he said.

He says some people don't report their money because they may have acquired it illegally. They will have to apply to get it back.

Sapp urges anyone who is planning a trip to check the CBP website to get familiar with the rules before they travel.