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Airport Seizures of Cash – CAFRA Notices

Judges Hammer


Having money seized at an airport or border crossing can be devastating, and your response to this situation will play a significant role in your likelihood of either partially or fully recovering your assets. Partnering with an airport seizure lawyer like Brett V. Beaubien, Attorney at Law is one of the best decisions that you can make and will provide you with experienced insight into the situation and guidance towards a fair and reasonable outcome. 


You will be given a receipt of this seizure, titled “Custody Receipt for Seized Property and Evidence” (Form 6051S) which contains an FPF (Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures) number. This number will allow you to track your case, and will be an important document to provide to our law firm so we can begin your case and explore our options for recovery. This receipt has important information such as the amount of money seized, the location, the agent who performed the seizure, and more. This receipt holds the agent accountable, and will help to prevent your assets from “going missing.” 

What Happens after a Currency Seizure at a Border or Airport?

If you have had monetary instruments or currency seized at an airport or border crossing by United States Customs and Border Protection, it is important that you act quickly in order to partner with an attorney and begin the process of trying to reclaim your assets. Currency is seized at border crossings and airports for many reasons, including a failure to disclose the possession of cash in excess of $10,000. 

Regardless of the agency’s reason for the forfeiture, one of the first steps you should take is to partner with an attorney who is experienced with these types of cases. Contact Brett V. Beaubien, Attorney at Law as soon as possible to partner with an experienced legal professional who will fight to recover your money for you.

CAFRA Notice

Following a currency seizure, the CBP is required to provide you with a CAFRA Notice that includes all of the relevant information about the seizure such as the circumstances, amount of money, date, location, time, a report of the situation, and justification for the seizure, and a lot of additional relevant information. This CAFRA notice is sent via certified mail to the address you provided the agency and will be central in our work as we build a case to recover your money.

Once you receive this notice, it is essential that you act as quickly as possible to avoid missing important deadlines. As with many seizures at border crossings and airports, administrative errors can cause costly and frustrating delays, and may even result in you losing your rights to attempt to recover your compensation altogether. Before you have even received your CAFRA Notice from the CBP, contact our law firm so that we can establish the basic facts of the situation using your custody receipt and prepare to act quickly once your notice is in your possession.

Upon receipt of your CAFRA Notice, you will have a limited window of time to respond in order to attempt to recover your seized assets. This response is not a simple explanation of your side of the story, nor is it an apology — it is a legal document that should be prepared by an experienced attorney who understands the necessary steps to successfully recover money seized by the CBP. Failure to handle this response properly can result in your case being dismissed due to any number of reasons.

Act Quickly to File a Claim

Time is of the essence with a CAFRA Notice. In fact, the time limitations for responding to the seizure are not based on when you received the notice and instead are based on when the CBP postmarked the Certified Mail. You have 30 days from the Certified Mail postmark to respond, meaning that any delays in mailing will cut down the time you have to act once you receive it. This can be even more complicated if you live abroad, so while we wait for your CAFRA Notice we will prepare our claim, petition for relief, an offer of compromise, or any other option we have identified in your unique situation. 

Filing a response to your CAFRA Notice is essential in recovering your currency, but requires specific attention to the laws surrounding the seizure. Admitting to breaking the law will not likely help your case, so working with an attorney who has an intimate understanding of CAFRA notices and CBP currency seizures, like Brett V. Beaubien, is one of the best ways to ensure that you are maximizing your chances of success.

Do not wait until the last minute to hire a lawyer. Contact Brett V. Beaubien for an immediate, free consultation.

Contact The Law Office of Brett V. Beaubien today to get started with our Providence appeals attorney.