Under Federal law, banks are required to report cash deposits that exceed a certain amount on the basis that they may indicate that people are attempting to avoid paying income tax. Some people attempt to evade this requirement by structuring their deposits in a manner that will not trigger the reporting requirement. Structuring is unlawful, however, and it can lead to significant penalties. In a recent Florida case, the court described what evidence is needed to establish guilt for structuring, ultimately affirming the defendant’s conviction. If you are charged with a financial crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a Clearwater white color criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant, a former pain management clinic physician, faced numerous charges for allegedly distributing controlled substances from his clinic. While acquitted of these charges, he then faced charges two charges for illegally structuring payments from these operations. Specifically, the government alleged that he engaged in structuring transactions to evade federal bank reporting requirements. Namely, he made 22 cash deposits under $10,000 over seven days and followed a similar pattern with 38 cash deposits, some on consecutive days, over approximately seven and a half months. This deposit pattern raised suspicions of structuring. The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts, leading to concurrent 24-month sentences. The defendant appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions.
Evidence Establishing Illegal Structuring
On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s reasoning and affirmed his convictions. The court explained that when reviewing such convictions, they view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and consider all reasonable inferences and credibility choices in favor of the verdict.
The defendant’s first conviction was related to cash deposits made over seven days, totaling close to $ 200,000, to satisfy a land purchase payment obligation. The could found that the jury could reasonably infer that the defendant structured these deposits to evade reporting requirements, especially since he complied with the seller’s attorney’s request to cease small cash deposits and instead wire the remaining sum.
Similarly, the defendant’s second conviction was based on 38 cash deposits and one check deposit made over seven and a half months for a similar payment obligation. The court noted that despite the defendant’s claim that these deposits followed a pattern based on weekly payments, the was entitled to reject his explanation and infer structuring based on the circumstantial evidence, including multiple transactions on the same or consecutive days.
Based on the foregoing, the court affirmed the defendant’s convictions, emphasizing that structuring charges can be supported by circumstantial evidence, and the defendant’s testimony, combined with the unusual deposit patterns, could reasonably establish his intent to evade reporting requirements.
Speak to an Experienced Clearwater Attorney
If you are accused of committing a financial or white-collar crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Clearwater white-collar crime defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are adept at helping people charged with crimes protect their interests, and if you hire us, we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Hanlon Law by calling us at 727-897-5413 or using our online form to set up a meeting.