By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAGISTRATE yesterday seized more than $38,000 from an American man who lied to authorities about the amount of money in his possession before his scheduled return to the United States.
Magistrate Andrew Forbes asked 53-year-old Charles Elliot Jr of Mobile, Alabama, if he understood the seriousness of the two charges to which he pleaded guilty to concerning the crimes committed on June 12.
Mr Elliot said he did not know he had done anything wrong and apologised.
The American was told that the penalties for making a false declaration to an officer of the United States and failing to declare carried a fine and/or a term of imprisonment.
He was returning to the United States on the day in question when US Customs and Border Patrol officials detained him at the Pre-clearance Departure Lounge at the Lynden Pindling International Airport for failing to declare $38,500 and lying to a US official that he was not carrying more than US $10,000 in cash into the US.
It is not illegal to travel with large sums of money. However, travellers carrying more than $10,000 must declare it on a special form.
Magistrate Forbes accepted the defendant’s guilty plea, but did not fine or give him a custodial sentence.
Instead, the magistrate ordered the $38,500 to be forfeited to the Crown.
Superintendent Ercell Dorsett was the prosecutor in the case.