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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ind. Decisions - U.S. Supreme Court to hear Lake County definition of "money laundering" case [Updated]

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports today:

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to clarify the scope of the main federal money laundering law. It will spell out whether the ban on use of "proceeds" of a crime to promote or conceal it -- that is, "laundering" the proceeds -- applies to the total amount of money, or only the profits, if any, that remain after expenses. The Seventh Circuit, in conflict with other Circuit Courts, has ruled that, if there were no profits, the law does not apply. The case is U.S. v. Santos (06-1005, petition), involving a federal prosecution for using money from an illegal lottery in Indiana to pay runners, collectors and winners of the betting.
For background, see this ILB entry from Nov. 25, 2006, quoting from a lengthy story in the NWI Times by Joe Carlson.

In addition, here is the ILB entry on the Aug. 25th, 2006 7th Circuit opinion in Santos, Efrain v. USA.

[Updated 5:30 pm] Pete Yost of the AP writes this afternoon, in a story that begins:

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to review a case that could undercut the federal money-laundering law, an enforcement weapon the government considers vital in going after outlaw gamblers and drug traffickers.

The Justice Department wants the court to overturn a standard set by a federal appeals court that complicates the task of prosecutors in securing money-laundering convictions.

The law makes it a crime to conceal proceeds from illegal activity or to use them to promote the activity. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago says that in order to convict, the proceeds must be profits rather than gross receipts.

How, the government asked in court papers, is it supposed to find hard evidence of profits when criminals rarely keep accounting records, much less accurate ones?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 23, 2007 03:44 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions