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The Money Laundering Activities of Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega

Update: The DEA has released a statement defending the money laundering stings.

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The New York Times details the extradition papers of Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, presumably in an effort to show another example of how the DEA is involved in money laundering stings. So what else is new? If you want more details, check out the 15 page magazine article of the magazine that obtained the documents (it's in Spanish.)

What the Times doesn't mention is that Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega is charged in federal court with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise under 21 USC 848, the "kingpin" statute, and facing a potential life sentence when he gets here. [More...]

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Money Laundering Suit: First the Punishment, Then the Verdict

The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York issued a press release yesterday about its massive civil lawsuit alleging money laundering against the defunct Canadian Lebanese Bank and various U.S. businesses and auto dealerships for engaging in monetary transactions to support Hezbollah. . The 66 page complaint is here.

8 of the car dealerships are in Michigan. According to a Detroit news station, DEA Special Operations Chief Derek Maltz told ABC's Brian Ross that the dealerships, as well as all 30 US businesses named in the Complaint are being investigated to determine whether they were aware their proceeds from sales of cars shipped to Africa ended up in Hezbollah's coffers. Maltz said it's not clear yet whether the businesses did have knowledge. [More...]

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Republicans' Phony Outrage at DEA Money Laundering Activities

The height of Republican hypocrisy is the phony outrage of Congressman Darryl Issa at the DEA's money laundering stings, particularly in Mexico. These stings are as old as the hills and well-publicized. (Issa's absurd letter to AG Eric Holder is here.) Even Fox News says he's missed the beat on this one.

The Justice Department and the State Department acknowledged the laundering this week. The DEA issued this statement earlier this week confirming it.

Why wouldn't they? DEA, the IRS and Customs (now ICE) have been engaging in undercover laundering of proceeds for drug traffickers at least since Ronald Reagan was President. Republicans crowed about the stings then. [More...]

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Wachovia, Money Laundering and the Cartels

The Guardian has a new investigative report on Wachovia Bank's laundering of billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. The information comes from the federal criminal prosecution of Wachovia in Florida that was settled in 2010, and background from a British whistle-blower.

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

The Government charged Wachovia with failing to maintain an effective money laundering program. Wachovia entered a one year deferred prosecution agreement with the Government in March, 2010. It forfeited $110 million and paid a $50 million fine. You can read the agreement here. No individuals were charged. [More...]

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Feds Dismiss Money Laundering Case Against Miami Lawyer

Congrats to Ben Kuehne. After two years of being under federal indictment for money laundering resulting from legal advice he gave regarding accepting legal fees from a cocaine trafficker, the Government moved today to dismiss the case, with prejudice.

Federal authorities decided to give up their closely watched case against Ben Kuehne, who advised defense attorney Roy Black to accept $5.2 million in payments from defendant Fabio Ochoa after concluding the money was clean.

Prosecutors said they dismissed the indictment against Kuehne -- citing ``the interests of justice'' -- mainly because of the recent loss of a crucial appeal over a money-laundering charge that was the backbone of their case, according to a court filing.

Kuehne's reaction: [More...]

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11th Cir. Invalidates Money Laundering Charge Against Defense Lawyer Over Fees

Good news for Ben Kuehne and the defense bar today. The 11th Circuit has upheld the trial court's dismissal of a money laundering charge against prominent defense attorney Ben Kuehne. (Background here.) The opinion is here. The SDFla Blog has more here.

The issue was the the meaning of the exemption in § 1957(f)(1), whose plain language excludes from the statute’s scope “any transaction necessary to preserve a person’s right to representation as guaranteed by the sixth amendment to the Constitution.” Both sides agreed the funds in question were used to pay attorneys' fees. [More...]

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Supreme Court Narrows Money Laundering Law

In a ruling favorable to defendants, the Supreme Court today narrowed the application of the crime of money laundering in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas.

''The rulings significantly raise the bar for prosecutors to prove money laundering,'' said Jeffrey Green, who represents the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Green said the decisions also will significantly affect the white-collar world, where money laundering charges are frequently tacked onto alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the law designed to prosecute American companies that bribe foreign officials.

From an e-mail I received from the Sentencing Resource Counsel:[More...]

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Supreme Court to Define "Money Laundering"

Scotus Blog reports:

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to spell out when an individual engaged in “laundering” of crime proceeds has illegally concealed their real source — in effect, what it means to “launder” money. The issue arises in Cuellar v. U.S. (06-1456). This was the only case granted Monday. Click the following links to read the petition for certiorari, brief in opposition, reply brief, and amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The question:

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