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Couple to forfeit half of undeclared $52,000

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A husband and wife from California agreed last week to forfeit half of the $52,454 in cash they were carrying on a flight to the Philippines last year that they did not declare.

In addition, the wife, Maria Cecilia DeSario, 46, pleaded guilty last month to failing to report, as required by federal law, that she was transporting more than $10,000 out of the country.

She faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced in November.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained DeSario and her husband during a stopover at Honolulu Airport on June 26, 2009, after finding $20,000 in cash in an envelope in DeSario’s bag that she had not declared.

After she told ICE officials that was all the undeclared cash she was carrying, they found another $5,000 in one of her pockets, $320 in her wallet and $5,000 in another pocket.

After each discovery, DeSario told officials she was not carrying any more undeclared cash.

ICE officials then searched her husband and found $20,000 in his backpack, $1,200 in his wallet and nearly $1,000 more on his person.

The DeSarios told officials they were going to use the cash to purchase a condominium in the Philippines.

The government said it has no evidence that the money was obtained through illegal activity or intended to be used for illegal purposes.

The forfeited money goes to the government.


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