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TSA seizes $75,000 in cash from Richmond passenger, and he may not get it back

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jun 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-01 08:44:47-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A man continued on his flight out of Richmond International Airport without a large bag of money that was confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The man, who was stopped at a checkpoint, was carrying $75,000 in cash. The TSA kept it and he boarded his flight.

The man's bulky bag left TSA agents wondering what was inside, and when they opened it they found bundle after bundle of cash stacks inside the passenger's carry-on bag. Authorities checked out the passenger, but he was not charged and was given clearance to continue his flight.

Travelers in the airport and on social media had a strong reaction once the TSA tweeted out a picture of the cash seizure.

"If you had 75,000 bucks is this how you would transport it? Just asking!"

"I have to wonder if it was all real or if half of it was fake, or my second thought is that maybe he's a middleman for some sort of deal, going on,” said one traveler. “It is very rare to have someone travel with that amount of money.”

An airport spokesperson said the money was turned over to an unspecified federal agency. It's now part of a continuing investigation. WTVR CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said there are questionable statutes that allow the government to seize large quantities of cash.

"The fact of the matter is that there are laws that deal with reporting cash that's over $10,000 and there are also laws that deal with reporting it to the IRS,” Stone said.  “So the theory is when someone is carrying this much cash you're trying to evade those laws.”

The passenger may never be reunited with his cash again.  The property owner has to come to court and explain why it is lawfully held, Stone said. If he doesn't do it then the money gets forfeited to the federal government.

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