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Supreme Court to hear money laundering case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] Monday in a case where the Court will consider what constitutes money laundering, specifically whether the government must prove an intent to make money received from an unlawful activity appear to be from a legitimate source, or whether a defendant can be convicted of money laundering for merely hiding money. In Cuellar v US (06-1456) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the defendant is seeking to overturn an international money laundering conviction under 18 USC 1956 [text]. A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned [opinion, PDF] the conviction, holding that the government had to prove an intent to make the monies appear legitimate as required by law. On rehearing en banc, the full Fifth Circuit reversed [opinion, PDF], saying that the panel had too narrowly interpreted the statute.

Cuellar was arrested in 2003 for hiding a large amount of cash in his car while en route to Mexico. AP has more. SCOTUSBLOG has additional coverage.

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