Canadian woman charged with failure to report importation of money in US that was concealed in underwear

By Christine Duhaime | June 12th, 2013

The US has charged a Canadian woman for failing to report the transportation of more than USD$10,000 cash in the country as required by US anti-money laundering legislation. The woman, Moura El-Asmar, is alleged to have sewn $39,000 into her bra and to have attempted to enter the US wearing that bra. She is also alleged to have sewn $20,000 into her daughter’s bra and to have convinced her to cross the border with it.

While there is no limit on the amount of money that can be imported into the US, or exported therefrom, any amount over $10,000 must be reported. The obligation applies to currency and monetary instruments.

A “monetary instrument” includes the following:

  •  currency
  • travellers’ cheques
  • negotiable instruments (including cheques, promissory notes and money orders) if in bearer form
  • incomplete instruments that are signed
  • securities and stock certificates in bearer form

The requirement to report arises whether the monetary instrument is physically transported into the US or out of the US by a person, by mail or shipment and if the person causes the above to occur.

It also applies to persons who receive in the US, currency or monetary instruments exceeding $10,000 at one time that were transported, mailed or shipped to the person from outside the US.

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