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Money is Seized at an Airport

Money Seized at the Airport – What You Need to Know

So your money was seized at the airport. Let’s talk about what happened and what you can do.First off, having cash seized totally stinks. I’m sure it was a scary and frustrating situation. But don’t worry – there are things you can do to get your money back.Now I ain’t no fancy big-city lawyer, so I can’t give you official legal advice. But I can share what I’ve learned from research and my own experience with this issue. Hopefully it helps provide some guidance on where to go from here.

Why Did They Take My Money?

There’s a few reasons the authorities might seize cash at an airport:

  • You had over $10,000 and didn’t declare it: If you’re traveling internationally, you need to declare any amount over $10,000. Otherwise, they can take it as an undeclared asset. This happens a lot – billions have been seized for this reason!
  • They suspected it was involved in illegal activity: Maybe something seemed suspicious about your story or luggage, so they took the cash on suspicion of drug trafficking or other crimes. Of course, they need evidence to prove that.
  • It was a random search: Sometimes they’ll do random bag searches and just happen to find a bunch of cash. Then they seize it to investigate where it came from.
  • You consented to a search: They can ask to search your bags and if you say yes, anything they find can be seized as evidence. Never consent to a search if you’re carrying a lot of cash!

What Happens to the Money After it’s Seized?

Once it’s taken, the money goes into a suspense fund while they investigate the case. If it‘s not returned to you within 30 days, the seizing agency (like DEA or Homeland Security) keeps the cash and can spend it!

That’s why it’s crucial to act fast if you want it back! Don’t let them keep it without a fight.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

How Do I Get My Money Back?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get a lawyer ASAP. Seriously, this is so important. An experienced attorney knows how to get seized cash returned. Don’t delay!
  • File a claim. You must file a legal claim demanding the cash back. There are deadlines so act quick!
  • Prove where the money came from. Have records showing it’s from legal sources like your business, casino winnings, etc.
  • Negotiate with the agency. Your lawyer can negotiate with them to return some or all of the money without a court fight.
  • Take it to court if needed. If they won’t budge, your attorney can file a lawsuit to fight it out in court.

It ain’t easy, but people have succeeded in getting their money back by taking these steps. So don’t lose hope!

Why Do I Need a Lawyer So Badly?

Great question! Here’s why a good lawyer is so important:

  • They know the system. All the rules, processes and deadlines – it’s complex! A lawyer handles it smoothly.
  • Negotiation skills. They can negotiate with the agency professionally and effectively.
  • Court experience. If it goes to court, you need someone who has done this before.
  • Prove the money’s legal. They know how to gather records and build a case proving it.
  • Avoid mistakes. One wrong move could really hurt your chances! A lawyer prevents mistakes.

Money Seized at the Airport – Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Having cash confiscated at an airport can be scary and frustrating. Even though there’s no legal limit on how much money you can carry, if you’re traveling internationally, you must declare sums over $10,000. And agents can seize cash for many reasons – even if obtained legally.

If money is taken from you at an airport, the first thing to do is hire a lawyer experienced with these cases. An attorney can help get your money back through legal filings and defenses. I’ll explain the process and your options below.

Why Money May Be Seized

There are a few reasons authorities like the DEA, TSA, or Customs may seize cash at airports:

  • You’re carrying over $10,000 internationally without declaring it
  • Agents think the money is tied to illegal activity like drug trafficking
  • You make inconsistent statements about the money’s origins
  • A drug dog alerts agents to your bag containing cash

Even if the cash is 100% legally obtained, it can still be taken. That’s why you need an attorney to fight for its return.

Getting Your Money Back

If money is seized, here are key steps to take:

  1. Hire an experienced lawyer – They can navigate laws and defend your rights
  2. File a claim demanding court action – Forces the agency to justify the seizure
  3. Gather evidence like surveillance footage – Can help prove improper seizure
  4. Negotiate with prosecutors for return of funds – Avoids a lengthy court battle

Never admit guilt or try to explain the money’s origins. That can hurt your case. An attorney will advise you on responding to questioning.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Navigating cash seizure laws is complex. An attorney can help by:

  • Filing paperwork to contest the seizure and trigger court action
  • Obtaining surveillance video before it’s deleted
  • Interviewing witnesses to build your defense
  • Negotiating with prosecutors for full or partial return of money
  • Going to court if needed to fight the forfeiture

In many cases, an experienced lawyer can get some or all money returned quickly, avoiding drawn-out legal proceedings.

Costs of Legal Help

Many lawyers work on contingency in these cases. This means you only pay if money is recovered. Typical fees are 30-40% of funds returned.

Shop around, as some lawyers charge hourly or flat rates. Compare experience, case results, and fee structures.

Also ask if you pay upfront costs like filing fees. Some lawyers advance these costs, reimbursing themselves only if money is recovered.


  • If money is seized at an airport, immediately hire a lawyer experienced in these cases
  • A good lawyer can help recover some or all of the seized cash
  • Respond to questioning carefully and don’t admit anything without your lawyer
  • Shop around for a lawyer with a fee structure that works for your situation

Having cash taken at an airport is stressful, but a knowledgeable legal team can make the process smoother and increase your chances of getting money back.

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