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NCJ Number: 149412 Find in a Library
Title: Money Laundering Forfeiture: What Property Is Involved In a Money Laundering Offense?
Journal: Asset Forfeiture News  Volume:5  Issue:6  Dated:(November-December 1993)  Pages:8-12
Author(s): S D Cassella
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Both the "substantial connection" requirement and the Excessive Fines Clause provide protection against the forfeiture of property only tenuously related to the commission of a money laundering offense.
Abstract: The first part of this article (September-October 1993 issue) discussed the legislative history of 19 U.S.C. Section 981-82 as it related to the meaning of the phrase "property involved in" a money laundering offense. This discussion showed that Congress intended the money laundering forfeiture statutes to be broad in scope, encompassing not only the actual money laundered, but facilitating property as well. Part I also discussed recent cases in which the courts have required that the government demonstrate a substantial connection between the subject property and the offense giving rise to the forfeiture. The discussion concluded by asking how the broad legislative intent and the substantial connection requirement could be reconciled. Part II advises that the cases where courts have declined to order forfeiture under sections 981 and 982 illustrate how the absence of a relationship between the property in question and one of the elements of the money laundering offense can lead to the failure to satisfy the "substantial connection" requirement; for example, property acquired by the money launderer before the money laundering offense occurs, or after it is completed, may not be forfeited. Nor may property be forfeited that merely affords the launderer with a means of transportation to the scene of the crime. In neither case does the property have anything to do with one of the essential elements of the offense. In Austin v. United States and Alexander v. United States, two cases decided on June 28, 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court held that both civil and criminal forfeitures were a form of punishment subject to the limitations of the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth amendment. The relevant inquiry for an excessive forfeiture under Section 881 is the relationship of the property to the offense. A fine is excessive if it cannot be shown that the property, under traditional standards, is "guilty" and hence forfeitable. By gearing their forfeiture actions to the elements of the money laundering offense that are the basis for the forfeiture, and demonstrating the connection between the property to be forfeited and those elements, prosecutors are most likely to avoid adverse decisions by the courts as the law in this area develops. 27 endnotes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Courts; Forfeiture; Money laundering
Note: Part II of two.
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