Customs officials find nearly $500K stuffed into cushion chair at Miami airport

Customs officials find nearly $500K stuffed into cushion chair at Miami airport

Customs officials could be forgiven for nearly falling out of their chairs after making this discovery.

U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers uncovered a chair cushion with nearly $500,000 in cash during an inspection at Miami International Airport last week, the Miami Herald reported. According to a news release, the cash was hidden inside the bottom of a crate containing furniture that was being shipped to the Dominican Republic, the newspaper reported.

The search on Sept. 3 found $491,280 in unreported U.S. currency, WPLG reported. While it is legal to carry large sums of money out of the United States, a failure to report more than $10,000 is a violation of federal currency reporting rules, WFOR reported.

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And this was more than some spare change caught between cushions.

“Criminal organizations will attempt to export large sums of cash to launder their ill-gotten gains,” Robert Del Toro, CBP’s Acting Port Director at Miami International Airport said in a statement. “This is a significant seizure and represents the impact we can make on criminal’s profits and was the direct result of our officer’s vigilance and watchfulness.”

Penalties for violating U.S. currency reporting laws include the seizure and forfeiture of most of the cash, and potential criminal charges, customs agents said in a statement.

On a typical day, customs agents seize about $207,000 in unreported or illicit currency along the nation’s borders, the agency said in its statement.

No one was arrested, the Herald reported.