1. News

Federal officials want to seize $41,000 Clearwater woman hid from Detroit customs

Published Aug. 10, 2014

In April, federal authorities seized nearly $41,000 in cash from a 78-year-old Clearwater woman traveling to the Philippines. She had stashed some of the undeclared money in her underwear, according to records.

Now authorities are asking a federal judge to let them keep the money, according to a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. No charges have been filed against the woman, Victoria Faren.

Federal law requires travelers to declare whether they are carrying more than $10,000, which authorities said Faren did not do. But according to federal court records, when she was questioned about how much money she was carrying, she lied repeatedly.

Faren and her daughter, Cherryn Faren, were flying to the Philippines from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on April 2, according to federal records. At first, the 78-year-old declared she was carrying only $200, and then later stated she had $1,200.

When U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers questioned Faren about the discrepancy, she denied that she had any additional money with her.

But when they searched her carry-on bag, officers said they found $8,000 in several wallets, $4,000 sewed into a cloth pouch and $977 in sealed envelopes.

After further questioning, Faren admitted to another $3,000 inside her blouse and $2,000 sewn into her bra strap. A pat-down uncovered an additional $21,000 inside her girdle.

Faren told authorities she had just sold her home for $120,000 and wired some money to the Philippines, but felt it was safer to carry the rest with her.

She could not be reached for comment on Saturday.