Family's $500K inheritance to be released by US border officials after almost a year
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Friday it was releasing $500,000 in bank drafts sent by a Canadian man to the U.S. nearly a year after the money was seized.

CBP initially deemed the notes to be counterfeit after they crossed the border and landed at the Port of Indianapolis, according to an agency report. The notes are reportedly part of a family's inheritance.

A CBP spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill on Friday that the five checks were deemed legitimate "upon further inspection" and are being "released back to the carrier for delivery." The official could not elaborate on why the checks were no longer deemed counterfeit. 

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The money was seized after a man named David Saikaley, acting as the executor of a relative's will, sent the money to the U.S., Canada's CBC News reported on Thursday.

Saikaley mailed five separate $100,000 bank drafts through FedEx.

It is against U.S. law to mail more than $10,000 across the border without first filling out necessary paperwork.

Saikaley told CBC News that the TD Canada Trust bank gave him “faulty advice” that led to U.S. officials seizing the money. He said he was never informed that mailing more than $10,000 across the border was prohibited without first notifying officials.

"I had faulty advice," he said. "I trusted the bank. I thought they were experts. I'm just a high school teacher. I don't know anything about sending money.”

He said he was surprised when the U.S. deemed the money counterfeit.

"I couldn't believe my ears when they said the checks were counterfeit," Saikaley told CBC. "I was doing what the bank told me to do. It's obvious it can't be counterfeit. It comes from one of the big five banks in Canada. There are TDs in the United States all over the place."

The bank told the news outlet that it provided CBP with letters authenticating the bank drafts.

Saikaley said he tried to mail the large sum in bank drafts because one of the will’s five beneficiaries, Michael Hashim, is in poor health and needed the money quickly to pay off medical bills.

"There's half a million dollars in limbo and a dying beneficiary,” Saikaley said. “If [he] dies without getting his bequest, I think there's something wrong with that."