Blog

McIntosh v. U.S.: Supreme Court holds that the failure to enter a preliminary order of forfeiture is not fatal.

On April 17, 2024, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in McIntosh v. United States.   In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, the Court agreed with the Government, the district court, and the Second Circuit that Rule 32.2(b)(2)(B) is a “time-related directive” and that a trial court’s failure to follow the rule by entering […]

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Cryptocurrency and Crime

The sentencing of Samuel Bankman-Fried on fraud charges in the FTX case — which included an $11 billion forfeiture judgment — prompted me to ask whether the invention of cryptocurrency had created wholly new opportunities for criminals to make money, or to gain some advantage over their victims and law enforcement, or whether crimes like […]

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Bankman-Fried Ordered to Pay $11 Billion Forfeiture Judgment

Samuel Bankman-Fried, the founder of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was convicted of conspiracies to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  In addition, the court imposed an $11 billion forfeiture money judgment and forfeited a long list of specific assets that the court found to […]

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Supreme Court Hears Argument on Criminal Forfeiture Procedure

On February 27, 2024, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. McIntosh, a case dealing with the procedure for imposing an order of forfeiture in a criminal case. Rule 32.2(b)(2)(B) provides that “unless doing so is impractical, the court must enter [a] preliminary order of forfeiture sufficiently in advance of sentencing to allow […]

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Reliability of Blockchain Analysis

A district court in Washington, DC has issued an opinion explaining how blockchain analysis works, and why it is sufficiently reliable to be admitted into evidence in a criminal trial under the Daubert standard. For anyone struggling to understand how Chainalysis and its cohorts in the blockchain analysis business are able to link – with […]

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Asset Forfeiture in Botswana

From February 23-28, 2024, I had the opportunity to do four days of asset forfeiture training for police, corruption investigators, asset managers, and prosecutors in Gaborone, Botswana.  We covered — in some detail — the provisions of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA) regarding Criminal, Administrative and Civil Forfeiture, and related provisions regarding […]

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Attorney Convicted of Assisting Client in Laundering Money

In United States v. Ravenell, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction of a prominent defense attorney for conspiracy to commit a series of money laundering offenses involving his client’s money.  I have written an article that explores the basis for that decision, the facts of similar cases that have resulted in the convictions of defense […]

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Binance Enters Guilty Plea and Agrees to Forfeit $2.5 Billion.

Binance.com, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, pled guilty on November 21, 2023, to conducting an illegal money transmitting business, to failing to maintain an effective AML/KYC program, and to knowingly transferring nearly $900 million to sanctioned contries including Iran.  As part of the plea agreement, Binance agreed to forfeit $2.5 billion. […]

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Culley v. Marshall: Is there a due process right to an immediate post-seizure probable cause hearing?

On October 30, 2023, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Culley v. Marshall, a case that presents the question whether a person whose property has been seized for civil forfeiture under state law has the right to an immediate post-seizure probable cause hearing challenging the validity of the seizure.  I gave a presentation on that […]

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Motion to Dismiss Third-Party Claim in a Criminal Forfeiture Case

In this brief, the Government explains why a third-party’s claim making only a bald assertion that it is the owner of the forfeited property, and that it acquired its ownership interest in a particular month and year, does not satisfy the pleading requires in 21 U.S.C. 853(n)(3) — i.e., because it does no satisfy the […]

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