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Dick Pluta 29-06-2011 03:49

Lying when Entering the US
 
I just read the last entries on the "Can I go to Cuba" thread and have NO intention of reopening that subject. However for WATERWAYGUY, the following which is simply wrong and could lead to serious consequences for anyone who accepts it:

"First to Dick, you are not committing a felony, the travel ban and embargo are by Executive Order and you are subject to fines that can be substantial and the cost to fight them can bankrupt you. That is what the government depends on."

My comment had nothing to do with travel to Cuba or any Executive Order. It has to do with the procedures for entering the US from anywhere and the possible penalties for intentionally omitting information. When you enter the US you must fill out a form 6059B. On line 8 it asks what countries you have visited. If you go to Cuba, or any other prohibited country, and you fail to disclose that fact to the Immigration Officer, you have, indeed, committed a felony. I quote from the University of Chicago Law Review on LexisNexis:

"The federal false statements statute, 18 USC § 1001, makes it a felony to lie to a federal agency."

You are absolutely committing a felony, not for going to Cuba, but for lying about it. It's easy to take these things lightly and you might even get away with it, but personally, I won't take the chance.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA

pablothesailor 29-06-2011 04:17

Re: Lying when entering the US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dick Pluta (Post 718087)
I just read the last entries on the "Can I go to Cuba" thread and have NO intention of reopening that subject. However for WATERWAYGUY, the following which is simply wrong and could lead to serious consequences for anyone who accepts it:

"First to Dick, you are not committing a felony, the travel ban and embargo are by Executive Order and you are subject to fines that can be substantial and the cost to fight them can bankrupt you. That is what the government depends on."

My comment had nothing to do with travel to Cuba or any Executive Order. It has to do with the procedures for entering the US from anywhere and the possible penalties for intentionally omitting information. When you enter the US you must fill out a form 6059B. On line 8 it asks what countries you have visited. If you go to Cuba, or any other prohibited country, and you fail to disclose that fact to the Immigration Officer, you have, indeed, committed a felony. I quote from the University of Chicago Law Review on LexisNexis:

"The federal false statements statute, 18 USC § 1001, makes it a felony to lie to a federal agency."

You are absolutely committing a felony, not for going to Cuba, but for lying about it. It's easy to take these things lightly and you might even get away with it, but personally, I won't take the chance.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA

Does all this red tape apply to USA subjects only re Cuba, or everyone?? We intend hopefuly in 2012 to travel to Florida from Europe on what will be a british flag vessel, we are all brits, we wish to stay in USA waters for the time we are allowed and to travel to places like Cuba returning to USA waters when we are next allowed to! We will also travel around the Carribean! Am guessing (will check nearer the time and obviously before we depart) that cruisers from the EU are allowed a certain amount of days in a 12 month period in the USA allowing you to ¨check in and out¨ at certain times while you cruise? Thanks, Pablo

Dick Pluta 29-06-2011 07:24

Re: Lying when entering the US
 
Hi, Pablo

It's not really as bad as it sounds. It just becomes an issue when you try to wiggle around the law. I doubt that you would have a problem since you're not a US citizen.

Everyone who enters the US has to fill out a form 6059B. It's a pretty straightforward immigration and customs form. Name, address, passport info, etc. No big deal unless, of course, you lie about something.

Entering in a private foreign flag vessel is something I'm not familiar with, but I understand it's a bit of a PITA. I have heard you have to report again every time you enter a new Coast Guard District. I'm sure there is something here on ths site that explains the process. You can also go here for a good summary of the procedures for a foreign vessel:

US Customs arrival requirements on private yachts. US and foreign flag entry requirements

Good luck on your visit.

Dick

Jon D 29-06-2011 07:24

Re: Lying when entering the US
 
The no visit rule to Cuba is for US Citizens. If you are not the rules for you to go or not depend on your country's relations with Cuba.

robert5 12-07-2011 10:37

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
I have a really dumb question and am not trying to break the law, but let's say, I leave out of south florida (being a US citizen).... sail around the Caribbean for a few months... return to a specific marina / harbor (of which I am familiar)... who in the hell would know where I went and better yet, there is no one there to enforce or require any sort of customs form.

so am I confused about something, or are these customs forms that you're talking about voluntary because as far as I know here in the USA, there are no customs gate out in the middle of the waterway to travel through where some US official is going to make me fill out a form before I can enter US water..

zeehag 12-07-2011 10:46

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
your visa from checking in and out of places will rat you out-- there is a way to get around that-- bynot having yur permanent records stamped, but i dont know xactly how to go about this-- spozedly is (according to someone who has been there recently) a way that cuba and that mexico do this for ye without the main record of boat or human being stamped by cuba---- gooodluck.

Vasco 12-07-2011 10:46

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robert5 (Post 727277)
I have a really dumb question and am not trying to break the law, but let's say, I leave out of south florida (being a US citizen).... sail around the Caribbean for a few months... return to a specific marina / harbor (of which I am familiar)... who in the hell would know where I went and better yet, there is no one there to enforce or require any sort of customs form.

so am I confused about something, or are these customs forms that you're talking about voluntary because as far as I know here in the USA, there are no customs gate out in the middle of the waterway to travel through where some US official is going to make me fill out a form before I can enter US water..

You're taking quite a chance and might even get your boat confiscated. The US has quite a presence in the Caribbean and some countries exchange data regarding boat entry and departure. Uncle Sam is watching you!! See those black helicopters without lights flying around in the dark? Make sure you smile when you look up! :)

CarlF 12-07-2011 11:08

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
In almost all cases, lying to someone with a badge (or any sort) is a crime. If it's a federal guy with a badge, it's a felony.

In white collar federal cases, more people get locked up for the lie than the thing they were lying about. That's because it's pretty easy to prove a lie. About the only way to beat the case is to argue that the officer misunderstood you - loud plane overhead, barking dog.

if you are are stupid enough to write the lie down on a piece of paper (a customs form), sign it, and hand it to the officer, you've sorta limited your defense.

And Robert5, ever see those auctions for boats seized by customs and immigrations? Some of those guys probably had the same thought you did. I expect the word "voluntary" gets a good chuckle around the Homeland Security office lunch table.

Carl

skipmac 12-07-2011 11:17

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robert5 (Post 727277)
I have a really dumb question and am not trying to break the law, but let's say, I leave out of south florida (being a US citizen).... sail around the Caribbean for a few months... return to a specific marina / harbor (of which I am familiar)... who in the hell would know where I went and better yet, there is no one there to enforce or require any sort of customs form.

so am I confused about something, or are these customs forms that you're talking about voluntary because as far as I know here in the USA, there are no customs gate out in the middle of the waterway to travel through where some US official is going to make me fill out a form before I can enter US water..

No there are no gates or guards at every harbor entrance checking your papers and there are plenty of boats that do go overseas and come back without checking in. It's called smuggling and depending on the cargo, can get you a very long vacation at a government operated hotel.

Even if you aren't bringing in any contraband it's still very illegal and can get you hefty fines and possibly jail time. As Zee pointed out, if you enter another country the records usually make it back to the states sooner or later and will come back to bite you in the butt if you don't clear back in.

SaltyMonkey 12-07-2011 11:23

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
If not the records, the cigar smoke will lead agents to your position.

MarkJ 12-07-2011 13:16

Re: Lying When Entering the US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robert5 (Post 727277)
, there are no customs gate out in the middle of the waterway to travel through where some US official is going to make me fill out a form before I can enter US water..

Oh yes there is!

Your Big Papa has got the Eye in the Sky and I doubt you could sail a bee's dick into Key West without Uncle Sam's Man knowing all about you.

But don't let me stop you trying :)

Dick Pluta 12-07-2011 13:38

Re: Lieing when Entering the US
 
No matter how smart you think you are, another smart guy has tried what you think no one has thought of and Uncle Sugar probably knows about it. As I said in my post on the original thread, I have a friend who is a German citizen living in Austria. Her mother, who is also a German citizen living in Austria, owns a home in the Bahamas and they both travel there each year, Recently the daughter was returning to Austria via Atlanta and had to clear US Immigration in Nassau. The US TSA representative looked at the computer and said something like "Your mother is G*** S*** and has been coming to the Bahamas for thirty years. The mother has never come from Austria to the Bahamas via the US and yet the TSA knows all about her travel habits. That's why we decided not to go to Cuba from the Bahamas. There are no secrets and when you don't confess to a misdemeanor on the form 5649B you commit a felony. Also from the last thread, I spoke in Nassau to a Coast Guard guy posted to the Bahamas (Yes, we are there too. We even maintain some of their bouyage.). He said that nothing bigger than a soda can floats in the FLorida Strait that they don't know about.

So, can you leave a US port, sail around the Caribbean and come back without reporting in? Legally, yes, as long as you don't touch land. Otherwise, if you clear into another country you are obligated to check back into the US and fill out the forms. Will the TSA know? Very probably. Do you want to chance it? Your choice. If you decide to try and have a nice boat let me know. I'll go to the auction.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA

John A 12-07-2011 13:41

Re: Lieing when Entering the US
 
Be aware the the Department of Homeland Security has given training classes to all of the countries in the Caribbean! So to has the State Department given training classes to verious Immigration Departments, and regulary informs everyone of any US rule changes.

While sailing along the southren coast of PR I observed an unmaned ballon floating on a line, I'll just bet it has a camera or two onboard.
The DHS also has the use of an AWAC or two.

Heck, I'll bet they even monitor cruising forums to record boat names of those considering on breaking the law.

Vasco 12-07-2011 13:53

Re: Lieing when Entering the US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by John A (Post 727480)
The DHS also has the use of an AWAC or two.

Heck, I'll bet they even monitor cruising forums to record boat names of those considering on breaking the law.

No. the NSA does that.

Acedude 12-07-2011 14:17

Re: Lieing when Entering the US
 
If you really want to go to Cuba:

Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

Good luck!


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