PCA Poker Winnings Of $26,158 Seized By AuthoritiesJanuary 19, 2012 1:31 pm
Three young men have just had $26,158 in cash seized and confiscated by US authorities, after failing to declare the amount while at US pre-clearance at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas.
The three men included brothers Sean Ruane, 18, and Michael Ruane, 23, as well as cousin, Thomas Freeman Jr., 18. Apparently, the men were travelling back from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament series, with the cash representing a part of their poker winnings made from backing various friends in the poker events.
As Sean Ruane later explained to the Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell:
“We invested money in some of our friends. One of them won and we got a percentage.”
However, by not declaring any amount on their persons in excess of $10,000, the men had fallen foul of US laws, which would then have required them to fill out a declaration form. Instead, the men failed to declare the correct amount of cash to a US Customs Agent, even though the brothers were carrying $9,400 each, while the cousin held the remaining $7,58.
After appearing before the Deputy Chief Magistrate, the student’s defense attorney Keith Seymour, argued that the men had made an “innocent mistake” as they believed the $10,000 limit applied to individuals and not “families.”
Nevertheless, no time was lost admitting their guilt for the false declaration, while pleading for a non-custodial sentence. Consequently, Deputy Chief Magistrate Bethell confiscated the $26,158 but refrained from fining or sentencing the men, as they had no previous convictions and had pleaded guilty in a timely fashion.
“All you had to do was fill out a form, instead you intended to deceive the officers at the pre-clearance. And now you’ve lost all this sum of money. The confiscation of funds is punishment enough. The conviction remains,” added the Deputy Chief Magistrate.