Why is this man smiling? I’ll tell you in a minute. But first, a story. The smiling man pictured here is my client – he was traveling to the Philippines via Detroit carrying about $13,000. $10,000 was in U.S. dollars and the rest was in Philippine pesos. Smiling man is a very hard working man as my Filipino clients are. He works and saves, works and saves. He was traveling back home to the Philippines with all this money to help repair his mom’s home and to throw her a birthday party. Good guy.
How shocked, upset and dismayed do you think he was when CBP took his money in Detroit? Smiling man didn’t know he had to declare money or “negotiable monetary instruments” valued at $10,000 or more. You need to declare it or have it taken away/seized. CBP didn’t just take the amount above and beyond $10,000 or more – they took it all – $13,000. “Owie”, as my 4-year old would say. No home repairs, no birthday party for mom.
When he returned to the U.S. from his trip to the Philippines, he received a scary letter from the Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office (FP&F), giving him complicated and confusing options on how to get his money back. There were deadlines, and he had to act fast – he had no idea on how to proceed and what documentation he had to provide to the FP&F to get his money back. He considered writing off the money, but a friend referred him to our office.
After we got involved, I chose the option that I knew would result in the quickest return of his money and the smallest penalty. Getting my client’s money back fast was a top priority for me (and for him). And quick it was. Within 30 days, due to the right option chosen and other factors, I was negotiating the return of my client’s money and the penalty he would have to pay. The quick turn-around was due to our knowledge and expertise of the procedures, the deadlines and making the right choices.
So, here’s the answer to my first question of “why is this man smiling?” The reason, of course, is because we were able to get all of his money back minus $500 directly deposited into his bank account. If you see him, ask him to take you to lunch – he just got back $13,000 that he wasn’t sure he would ever see again.
If you’ve had money seized by Customs and Border Protection during your travels into or out of the U.S., we can help. Contact me at 757-464-9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org