Why is transporting more than $10,000 cash illegal?

  1. It isn’t against the law, but if you get caught with that much cash the authorities see it as a ‘red flag’ of illegal activity.

    The legal significance of 10k in cash is that anything purchased greater than that amount has to be directly reported to the IRS.

  2. Well, it’s not really illegal, but people get weird when you buy things in lots of cash.

    I bought my triumph motorcycle with 20 dollar bills…all $14,000 worth.
    I did it for fun, took the money out of my ATM $500 per day. Nobody ever said anything, but the sales guy seemed a bit nervous when I said OK, I’ll take it, and started pulling wads of cash out of my messenger bag.

    I also withdrew $12,000 from my account one day (to move it to another account at a different bank) and they gave me a form to fill out. When the form asked what it was for, I wrote in “strippers and beer.” The teller looked at me like I was a psycho but didn’t say anything.

  3. It’s not illegal to trasnport more than $10,000 in cash. Check out this link from the government CTR Reporting Info

    edit for more info:

    What is the Currency Transaction Report? A report that must be filed with the IRS for currency transactions valued at more than $10,000, or multiple transactions if they result in cash in or out totaling $10,000 during any one business day, and the financial institution knows these transactions are by or on behalf of any one person.

    Why file a Currency Transaction Report? The CTR is required by the implementing regulations of the Bank Secrecy Act (See 31 CFR 103). The Act is: (1) A federal law enacted in 1972, and subsequently amended, to detect and prevent money laundering by creating an investigative paper trail for large currency transactions and imposing civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance with its reporting requirements; (2) Federal legislation that requires banks to report cash transactions that exceed $10,000 in any single day and requires the bank maintain certain records (copies of checks paid, deposits, and so forth). The act is intended to inhibit laundering of funds obtained through illegal activities.

  4. I have a friend who keeps around $50k-$70k in his house as a disaster and emergency fund, he’s been saving it for years. He was stopped during a. Move once and they found the safe and asked to see inside. He showed them and they asked why, he said because if the banks go down, or the power goes out, or some crazy thing happens and i need cash i have plenty of it. They ask took a count of it and snapped a pic of a bunch of random bills (for the serial number I’m assuming) and sent him on his way. He never heard anything after that about it. That was almost 4 years ago. So moving it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Also he is black and so were the men helping him move. Not a word about drugs or illegal things were mentioned the entire time.

  5. Reminds me if this:
    Mistake costs dishwasher $59,000.
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/27/immigrant.money/

  6. It is set by the Treasury Dept. If you move more than $10,000 the bank is required to file a report with the T Dept.

    It is designed to minimize drug trafficking and terrorism support.

    The real reason is to make sure that you are reporting your income correctly.

    There really should not be an issue providing the cash a most banks. The reason most of our tellers would question it is that you would get hit over the head and someone would steal it from you.

    Source: was an SVP at a bank and had to take the stupid Patriot Act test.

  7. This was actually created in 1970 under the Bank Secrecy Act. That is when Fincen was founded to catch money launders. They set the limit at $10k since that how much money was in a stack of $100’s. All banking institutes must report to FINCEN anytime someone enters or exits the bank with over $10k in a single day. If you try to be clever and go to multiple branches technology today will pull all that info and you will be reported on. The whole process was setup to watch the flow of currency. While there are many good reasons to have that much cash on you, wholesalers, check cashing stores or buying a car, there are other ways that it is not normal. If every two weeks you are walking into a bank with $50k in cash but your occupation is waiter, then things look suspicious. Your bank can file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on customers who seem to be doing illicit things with cash or their accounts. If a SAR is filed on you then law enforcement can subpena those records as a way to build their case. On an average day there are upwards of 100,000 reports filed to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network a day. A majority of those have no further action taken.
    You may remember a year or so ago HSBC got into hot water for not reporting large currency transactions that led to funding terrorism.
    Now if all this makes you unwary, don’t fret if you ever have a report filed on you as long as it’s for something legitimate. Besides what is the most cash you’ve ever really had to have on your person? For me it was $5k which is under the reporting limit.

    Reference:I work in Financial Crimes for a bank.

  8. Consider yourself lucky that you are still allowed to deal with $10,000 cash.

    Governments around the world are looking to eliminate cash transactions as they do not create the records that are required for modern surveillance and tax collection.

    France currently has a limit of 3000 EUR and intends to lower it to 1000 EUR.
    In Italy, cash transactions of 1000 EUR or higher are illegal.

    In the United States, the Treasury has previously required banks to report transactions as low as $750 under the Bank Secrecy Act source

    Your grandchildren probably won’t even know what cash is.

  9. It’s not illegal. There are professional gamblers, couriers and other people that sometimes carry more than that. You DO however, have to be ready to provide legal documentation as to the origin and purpose of that money. The same applies to entering or leaving the United States with large sums of money, as per Title 19 of the United States Code, Sections 482, 1467, 1496, 1581 and 1582; cash, checks, money orders or any other monetary instrument.

    Reference: I’m a Federal Agent with the Department of Homeland Security. I work at a major border crossing area in Southern California.

  10. $10K is an arbitrary amount chosen by our government, above which you’re considered a possible money launderer and/or tax evader. There are all sorts of laws and regulations on the books requiring people: 1) declare when they transact more than $10K in cash; and/or 2) explain in writing where the cash from in a currency transaction report (“CTR”).

    CTRs are required when a person deposits $10K in cash in a bank, spends $10K in cash on a purchase, and attempts to enter or leave the US with $10K in cash.

    It’s not illegal to transact with over $10K in cash. However, you generally have to sign the CTR under threat of criminal sanction that your explanation is true. If at some later point a law enforcement agency reviews your CTR and finds out you provided false information, that will be bad for you. As an FYI, structuring your transactions to “get around” the limit is inherently suspicious.

  11. also say you won like $100,000 in vegas. is there any safe way to transport it out of the state without the danger of cops pulling you over and confiscating it?

  12. Ironically, to get around this requirement the new form of illegal drug money transfer is in store gift cards or prepaid visas. You can have hundreds of thousands in a small suitcase and then load them remotely over the web from offshore accounts. The cops can’t do anything because the cards are blank/empty crossing the border and are loaded later.

  13. Well chief, we searched the car in and out and can’t find the money anywhere.

    Boys, we’ve got nothing. We have to let him go.

    Little did they know, they money wasn’t hidden in the car. The money was the car. I drove my way out of town and sold it for a pretty penny.

  14. Serious answer:

    1. if you carry more than $10K across the border, you must report it.

    2. Any cash transaction of more than $10K with a financial institution must be reported. This is a CTR (cash transaction report) that the bank may flag as a STR (suspicious transaction report). A bank may be punished for revealing that it filed an STR.

    3. Structuring transactions (eg, taking out $6K twice) is severely illegal, but potentially un-provable unless you yap too much.

    4. Carrying any amount of cash in the US is legal, but ‘they’ can confiscate it and force you to prove that the origin is legitimate, giving you a limited time to do so. It may revert to the local law enforcement authority. The expense of recovery can exceed the value of the money, especially if you are traveling.

    5. The amount was $10K in 1986 (the start of the requirement). It was as good as anything else. This would be $21K today, so inflation has lowered the reporting threshold by a factor of two. The odds of this being inflation indexed are basically zero, because CTRs are automated (zero-effort) and WHY ARE YOU SUPPORTING CRIMINALS?

    6. Why? Money laundering, the general belief that financial privacy is not a right, and the desire of law enforcement for an ever-growing Panopticon. Any form of privacy that is not interpreted as Constitutionally enshrined will be inevitably eroded.

  15. how DARE you not voluntarily tell the government all of your personal business!