Blog

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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How Does the Government Use Civil Forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture is portrayed by its critics as a heavy-handed tool that state and local police departments use to take small amounts of money from motorists and others without due process of law.  This view has produced, in its latest incarnation, something called the FAIR Act, H.R. 1525, a bill to hobble the government’s ability […]

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Confiscation: Hurdles and Best Practices

This lecture was presented as part of a training program for prosecutors and judges in Tallinn, Estonia on March 30, 2023.  It covers four topics: why is it important to include the confiscation of assets in a criminal case; what categories of property can be confiscated; what is the procedure for confiscating assets; and how, […]

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Yachts and Airplanes: What Procedures and Legal Theories Are Being Used to Forfeit Russian Assets in the United States?

This is a link to my article, “Yachts and Airplanes: What Procedures and Legal Theories Are Being Used to Forfeit Russian Assets in the United States?,” which was published on Februrary 6, 2023, in Eucrim, the European Criminal Law Associations’ Forum. The article discusses the legal theories federal prosecutors in the United States are using […]

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Anti-Financial Crime Summit — Money Laundering Investigations

On December 6, 2022, I had the opportunity to give a presentation at the Anti-Financial Crime Summit in London.  The presentation focused on the role that financial institutions are called upon to play in criminal money laundering and asset forfeiture investigations in the United States, with special emphasis on the role of correspondent bank accounts.  […]

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The Importance of Non-Conviction-Based Forfeiture as a Law Enforcement Tool

On November 30, 2022, I had the opportunity to make a (virtual) presentation on non-conviction-based asset forfeiture at a conference of criminal prosecutors in Brazil.  The text of my presentation — which discussed the structure and concept of NCB forfeiture, the procedures and due process safeguards that apply, and the instances where it is used […]

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Interview with AMLRightSource

I had an opportunity recently to do an interview with John Byrne of AMLRightSource on the use of criminal and civil asset forfeiture.  The interview (about 25 mins) appears on John’s blog.  This is the link. The interview covers the purposes of forfeiture, how the forfeited property is used, the due process protections built in […]

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