Friday, April 18, 2008
New Prosecutorial Darling
"But if the feds wanted to, they probably could come after [Eliot Spitzer] with a big, fat truncheon--a money laundering charge. ... Laundering charges get tacked onto all sorts fo offenses that involve cash, from gambling to Medicare fraud. ... Prostitution may be illegal, but Spitzer was not trying to camouflage profits from gangster activity. ... While the 1970 law [Bank Secrecy Act] was mainly aimed at prompting financial institutions to help the government catch money launderers, in 1986 Congress moved to criminalize money lanudering itself, with fines and lengthy prison terms. ... In the hands of federal crime fighters, the second law has been stretched beyond recognition. ... For years an overzealous federal court system has aided and abetted the government's quest to concoct money lanudering crimes. ... Money lanudering charges are the punitive damages of the criminal sector. It't time Congress cracked down on the prosecutors", Joel Androphy (JA) at Forbes, 7 April 2008.
I agree with JA, like other laws, those against money laundering have been used to "beat" guilty pleas out of defendants who are in all likelihood not guilty of them. Money landering charges and the threat to file them, have become so common they are now the "new darling of the prosecutors nursery". Criminal conspiracy was called "the darling of the modern prosecutor's nursery", Harrison v. US, 7 F 2d 259, 263 (2 Cir., 1925), (Hand, L. J). Criminal conspiracy, you have been disowned.