Cash Seizure at Airports in California

Even though the COVID-19 health crisis has reduced the number of people traveling at the airport, cash seizures at the airport have increased.

Seizures of U.S. Currency for forfeiture are common in California’s busiest airports including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), John Wayne Airport (was Orange County Airport)(SNA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

The cash might be seized by federal, state, or local law enforcement officers or agents. Based on highly circumstantial evidence, the authorities might claim the money is being used for drug trafficking or money laundering. Nevertheless, criminal prosecutions are rare. Instead, the authorities just seize the money under state or federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

After a seizure of money at an airport in California, you should be provided with a written receipt. The receipt might list the amount of money seized or just say “undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency.”

After the money is seized, a notice of seizure will arrive in the mail within 60 days. You do NOT have to wait for the “notice of seizure” to arrive before you take action. Instead, attorney Jay Leiderman can help you immediately file a “claim” for the seized U.S. Currency. Filing that claim immediately after the money is seized might help you speed up the process of getting the money back.

Although state and federal law does not prohibit carrying more than $10,000 cash on a domestic flight, if law enforcement officers find the money, they might seize it as illicit proceeds of a suspected drug or money laundering scheme.

On international flights, the traveler must declare being in possession of more than $10,000 by filling out a FinCEN 105 Form. Even when the money is seized because of a failure to disclose it on the FinCEN 105 Form, attorney Jay Leiderman can help you challenge the seizure to demand that the money is returned quickly.

Attorney for Airport Cash Seizures in California

Jay Leiderman represents clients in currency seizures at the busiest airports in California including the airports in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Diego.

After the seizure, act quickly to hire attorney Jay Leiderman to file a claim for court action on your behalf. The claim for court action is a demand that all of the money seized is returned to you.

Jay Leiderman is familiar with the federal agencies that seize cash including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). He is also familiar with the tactics used by state and local law enforcement agencies throughout California.

In addition to airports, the seizure of cash is becoming more common at train stations, bus stations, and on the highways.

Call 805-654-0200 to discuss your case.

Busiest Airports in California for Asset Seizures

The busiest airports in California for cash seizures under federal law for civil asset forfeitures include:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)(Lindbergh Field) in San Diego
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) in Oakland
  • Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) in San Jose
  • John Wayne Airport (was Orange County Airport) (SNA) in Orange County
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF) in Sacramento
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Ontario
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (was Bob Hope Airport) in Burbank
  • Long Beach Airport (Daugherty Field)(LGB) in Long Beach
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) in Palm Springs
  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) in Fresno
  • Monterey Regional Airport (was Monterey Peninsula Airport) (MRY) in Monterey
  • Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa
  • San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (McChesney Field) (SBP) in San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (Santa Barbara Airport) (SBA) in Santa Barbara

The busiest airports for the seizures of money for forfeiture in the greater Los Angeles area include:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX);
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT); and
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA).

Seizures of cash occur at small airports as well. For example, many of the cash seizures at the Hollywood Burbank Airport (formerly known as Bob Hope Airport) involve detentions by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Police. The surveillance video at the airport is controlled by the Burbank–Glendale–Pasadena Airport Authority.

Bringing More than $10,000 on an International Flight

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, you can legally transport any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the United States, but if you carry more than $10,000, you must declare the amount by filing a Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (known as the “FinCEN Form 105”).

If your undisclosed money was seized, call Jay Leiderman. As an experienced civil asset forfeiture lawyer in Ventura, CA, he can help you demand that the money is returned quickly by filing a claim for court action to bypass any administrative proceeding for mitigation or remission.

In many of these cases, the federal agents engage in an illegal stop, detention, or seizure. Sometimes the tactics used by Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) are blatantly unconstitutional.

An attorney can help you investigate the facts of your case, preserve video surveillance evidence, and file a claim for immediate court action or judicial intervention. Act quickly to make sure all of your rights are preserved and that you have the best chance to get the money back.

This article was last updated on Monday, June 15, 2020.