U.S. Supreme Court

High Court Accepts Second Money Laundering Case


The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a second case that asks justices to settle a circuit split over the interpretation of the federal money laundering statute.

Federal appeals courts disagree whether the law permits a conviction if the defendant has merely hidden money, according to the petition for certiorari (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog). The en banc New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Humberto Fidel Regalado Cuellar that prosecutors did not need to show his activities were designed to create the appearance of legitimate wealth.

Cuellar was convicted of money laundering following his arrested in Texas near the Mexican border for hiding a large sum of money in his car, the Associated Press reports. His case is Cuellar v. U.S.

The cert petition says the case complements another recently granted case that asks whether the ban on money laundering applies if a criminal operation didn’t turn a profit. That case is U.S. v. Santos.

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