The government wants to keep almost $41,000 in cash that a 78-year-old Florida woman hid inside her girdle, bra and carry-on bag as she tried to board a flight, authorities said.
A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit said Victoria Faren was trying to board a flight from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to the Philippines on April 2. She said she had $200 in cash. But the form she submitted indicated she had $1,200, prompting questions from Customs and Border Protection officers.
When officers opened her carry-on bag, they found $8,000 stashed in multiple wallets, according to the The Detroit News.
Officers then asked if there was anymore money and Faren said no, the paper said.
Unconvinced the officers dug deeper and noticed that sewn into the carry-on bag’s cloth pouch was $4,000, the Detroit News said, citing the complaint.
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They also found sealed envelopes stuffed with $977. That brought the running total to $12,977.
Again, they asked her if she had more money and warned her to tell the truth.
“Faren then reported that she was carrying $3,000 inside her blouse,” according to the complaint.
Got any more? officers asked.
“Faren produced $2,000 more from where it had been sewn into the strap of her bra,” court records say.
Officers asked if she had any more hidden cash.
“No,” she said.
Officers patted her down.
They found a bulge near her butt.
“Faren then removed $5,000 from the back of her girdle,” according to the complaint.
She denied hiding any more money.
Officers checked anyway, and found another bulge in the front of her girdle.
“She began to cry and admitted to carrying additional currency,” the complaint reads. “Approximately $21,000 was secreted in her girdle.”
After finishing the search of her bra, girdle and carry-on bag, officers found $40,977.
Faren’s daughter, who was traveling with her, told investigators she didn’t know about her mother’s hidden money, the Detroit News added.
Soon Faren was telling investigators she had retired, sold her home for $120,000, wired some money to the Philippines, and hid some of the proceeds in her bra, girdle and carry-on bag, the Detroit News reported, citing the complaint.
“She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” the complaint notes, according to the Detroit News.
But court records allege she was trying to dodge laws prohibiting bulk cash smuggling and requiring travelers to declare if they’re carrying more than $10,000, the paper added.
Faren hasn’t been charged with a crime but Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj wants the cash forfeited to the government, the Detroit News said.
Court records don’t list a lawyer for the woman. The Associated Press left a message Saturday seeking comment from her.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.