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Laws as "Instruments of Oppression"

        "Laws as Instruments of Oppression"
        Abuses of "Antidrug Legislation", of "Money Laundering and Forfeiture 
        Laws. Human Rights Violations under "Color of Law", "Appearance of 
        Justice" and a facade of "Due Process".
  As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both 
  instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, 
  and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however 
  slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
            Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
  Laws as Instruments of Oppression
  The Misapplication of the Money Laundering Laws
    An Example of Money Laundering Law Misapplication
  "Antidrug Legislation" - The Money Laundering Laws.
  The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 
  The Comprehensive Money Laundering Control Act of 1986
  The Money Laundering Control Amendments of 1988
  The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
  The "Sting" Money Laundering Statute (18 U.S. Code, Section 1956 (a)(3)
  Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956 - 1957- An Overview of The Money Laundering 
  Statutes
  The potential for abuse of the money laundering laws
  The Unconstitutionality of the Money Laundering "Sting" Statute, Title 18, 
  U.S. Code, Section 1956 (a)(3)
  Forfeiture Laws
  An Essay You Must Read About the "New Laws" and the Rape of our Constitution.
Laws as "Instruments of Oppression"
  Good laws should derive their authority from their adherence to natural laws, 
  and by common sense. A society needs good laws to fight crime and to protect 
  human rights. However, every government in history has manufactured certain 
  laws and punishments to coerce "obedience" from an "unwilling" population. 
  These laws, in their mature forms, always display one common characteristic, 
  unconscionably harsh penalties for alleged infractions committed. They possess 
  no intrinsic moral authority and the sole purpose of enforcement is the police 
  power of the government over peoples' private lives. Individual citizens, or 
  society in general, have no stake in and no commitment to such laws. Society 
  does not get any benefits from unreasonable prosecutions. In fact resources 
  and taxpayers' money are wasted.
  To keep the people entrapped and the facade of "justice", a maze' of 
  (so-called) victim-less crime laws have been imposed on Americans in recent 
  years. These liberty destroying oppressive laws control the enslaved victims 
  with the instilled fear of heavy fines, and imprisonment for acts that harm no 
  other individual.
  Through improper application of such "laws" and through abuse of the criminal 
  justice system, thousands of Americans have been deprived of their God-given 
  unaliable-right to freedom. Recently, improperly defined "laws" have been 
  enacted which are used to prosecute and convict targeted Americans and to 
  confiscate their property. Some of these new laws even permit prosecutors to 
  prearrange hypothetical thought crimes and evidence with guaranteed conviction 
  and level of sentencing. These new statutes have been turned into "instrument 
  of repression and oppression" that belong more appropriately in third world 
  countries that our Government accuses of human right violations. Human right 
  violations (well disguised certainly) occur with frequent regularity in our 
  own country. More and more frequently these new laws are improperly applied 
  against selectively targeted individuals. This signifies a trend which will 
  continue and will eventually encompass others. It is like an insidious virus 
  that has lied dormant and now is spreading and expanding in a geometric 
  progression. It is an early phase of fascism. 
  Legal fictions have been an accepted part of the common law tradition but 
  today, we have new and malignant fictions which are designed to evade the 
  evidence requirements of the Sixth Amendment in any legal proceeding. 
  Unfortunately a system such as this so violates the American spirit of fair 
  play that it brings the law and the process by which it is applied into 
  disrepute. The word "justice" no longer has a connotation of fairness. It has 
  a connotation of retribution and punishment.
  Punishement is as unfair as the misapplication of such laws. Now we have 
  justice by recipe in our country with handed down simplistic issues that are 
  cut and dry. Judges and prosecutors just open the cookbook of "justice" and 
  search for a credible offense or issue that can justify the government's 
  improper actions. They extrapolate here and interpolate there. And, thus, with 
  the impartial guidance of such cookbooks they arrive at decisions. These 
  cookbooks are called "Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines". Who would ever have 
  imagined that adjudication of "legal" matters in our country could be so easy? 
  Who would have ever thought that severe punishments would take place in our 
  country and that millions of Americans would be either in prison or under the 
  supervision of the courts? Who, indeed?
  Millions of people in our country are disenchanted with the way in which the 
  laws are being enforced. There is growing hostility, resentment and disrespect 
  for the injustices and the legal manipulation of the law by government agents 
  and prosecutors. So these draconian laws against citizens and minorities are 
  not simply unjust and unfair. They do more harm than good. They destroy 
  families, they destroy individuals, and they are doing a tremendous amount of 
  harm to our country. We have more people in prison in this country than any 
  other country in the world. Our government recently allocated billions of 
  taxpayers' money for more prisons, most of them to house "marginal offenders" 
  while , at the same time, trying to "balance" the federal budget.
  Government policies to fight the epidemic of drugs are failing. So called 
  anti-drug legislation and "money laundering laws" are applied selectively by 
  government attorneys for purposes other than those intended by Congress. They 
  have been excuses to violate civil rights. In many ways, the drug wars has 
  become a war on people. The new drug laws have very little to do with drug 
  related offenses. They have become instruments of oppression against ordinary 
  citizens. Our society is decaying, and part of the decay is not the drug 
  problem that we have. It is the misapplication of the drug related statutes 
  and the unchecked misconduct of governent attorneys. Unable to deal 
  effectively with professional criminals, federal prosecutors often use the 
  drug-related laws against politically-targeted individuals, tax protestors, 
  First amendment advocates or any one perceived to be a "threat" to the 
  established order. Some of the actions of law enforcement agents or governemnt 
  attorneys are premptive.Prosecutions and seizures have become a major legal 
  industry. Enlightened political, judicial, social leadership is essential. It 
  is very unfortunate for our country, which once was the shining beacon to the 
  world, the nations of the world, as a place of freedom. We need to redefine 
  ourselves a little better around the term "justice" and "fairness". Given the 
  present trend, our society and our basic freedoms are in great jeopardy.
  Top of the Page
The Misapplication of the Money Laundering Laws
Money Laundering is a ubiquitous term used to cover many kinds of possibly 
illegal transactions. It is this ambiguity that is confusing to many legitimate 
business persons. It becomes very easy for government agents to target high 
profile affluent people (usually people with assets to forfeit ), catch them at 
a vulnerable point and then maneuver them over a period of time so that they end 
up breaking a law that they might not have known even existed. The vague 
language of the money laundering laws has made it easy for government attorneys 
to escalate any offense involving any type of monetary transaction, into a money 
laundering offense with extremely high sentencing level and obtain 
"convictions", usually through "plea bargaining". Essentially, in money 
laundering cases, "plea-bargaining" become a threatening negotiation because 
government attorneys have a "big stick" with which to beat a defendant to 
submission: the money laundering laws. Because of the high sentencing levels and 
the easiness to convict under these laws, government attorneys have an easy time 
"persuading" defendants, particularly those involved in minor offenses, to plead 
guilty rather than risk a guaranteed long prison sentence. For defendants who 
cooperate or even agree to become government informers, the sentencing is 
relative lenient in spite of the so-called "mandatory sentencing guidelines". 
The "mandatory sentencing guidelines" and enhancements for "obstruction of 
justice"are reserved for those stubborn enough to plead "not guilty" and to ask 
for a trial. To "persuade" the stubborn to plead guilty, often government 
attorneys will issue collateral indictments and/or superseding indictments 
charging defendants with additional "crimes" for which there may be no valid 
basis. Frequently, the" plea bargaining" process is repeated again and again 
until a defendant is coerced to forego trial by pleading "guilty" to one or more 
counts of an indictment. With such tactics and through the misapplication of the 
money laundering laws, government attorneys can get easy "convictions". 
In recent years the money laundering laws have been used as instruments of 
oppression in our country against many targeted individuals. Charging and 
"plea-bargain" practices of federal prosecutors for alleged "money laundering 
offenses" have been excessive and abusive. 
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"Antidrug Legislation" -The Money Laundering Laws
Before discussing the Money Laundering Laws the following background information 
on previous banking laws is provided.
The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970
Government efforts to regulate currency transactions go back many years. 
Combatting drug trafficking and money laundering did not require the money 
laundering laws which were passed in 1986. There were laws already in the books. 
In 1970, the House Committee on Banking was instrumental in the enactment into 
law of the Bank Records and Foreign Transaction Act (Public Law 91-508). That 
law contained the Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act, which together 
with certain record keeping provisions is commonly referred to as the Bank 
Secrecy Act (BSA). The primary purpose of the reporting requirements of the BSA 
was to identify the sources, volumes and movements of U.S. currency which was 
transported into or out of the country or being deposited in financial 
institutions. Presumably, this information was used as a primary tool in 
assisting law enforcement officials in the detection, investigation, and 
prosecution of certain crimes. Allegedly this was an effort to combat "crime". 
In reality it was nothing more than a government effort to regulate the 
financial transactions of all Americans. 
The Bank Secrecy Act 1970 required that certain records be made and retained by 
financial institutions. Specifically, the Act authorized the Secretary of the 
Treasury to require financial institutions to keep records of the identities of 
persons having a bank account in the United States and others acting on their 
behalf.The Act required all financial institutions to verify and record the 
identity, identification and address of all persons wishing to transfer $10,000 
or more, or those who were in receipt of $5000 or more in cash. This 
questionable procedure is known as currency transaction reporting (CTR) and is 
continuing to this day. However, the limits have been lowered. Banks are 
expected to report any cash transactions of $3,000 or more. Millions of such CRT 
reports are filed by the banks every year to the IRS's central computer.
The Comprehensive Money Laundering Control Act of 1986
The Department of Treasury and its Internal Revenue Service had lobbied 
extensively for the BSA's passage. The IRS had been given primary jurisdiction. 
They weren't satisfied. Although the BSA was an effective tool in detecting 
"criminals" who used financial institutions to further their "illegal activity", 
Treasury's pressure on the Congressional Banking committees continued. 
Presumably amendments to the BSA and other legislative initiatives were needed 
to combat the "astronomical rise in drug trafficking and money laundering 
schemes". This claim was true to some extent. Indeed money laundering activities 
from drug trafficking had increased. There was a need for a statute that would 
prevent the money laundering activities of organized crime from drug 
trafficking. 
For the next sixteen years the Treasury Department kept on pressuring the House 
and Senate Banking Committees to introduce and pass legislation to "upgrade" 
BSA's enforcement requirements. From time to time, these Committees conducted 
hearings on how enforcement by the IRS could be toughened. 
In 1986, the House Committee responded to this pressure of government lobbyists 
by holding four days of hearings. On July 22 of that year, by a vote of 47-0, 
the House Banking Committee endorsed amendment H.R. 5176, the Comprehensive 
Money Laundering Prevention Act. H.R. 5176 was incorporated into H.R. 5484, the 
Omnibus Drug Bill, which was passed by the House in September of 1986, as 
"Drug-Related" legislation. Drug-related legislation was as sacred as apple pie 
and motherhood. The overwhelming Congressional support was no surprise. No 
Congressman would have dared to vote against such a well-packaged, piece of 
"drug" legislation. No one realized the potential for abuse of these laws. 
Thus the Comprehensive Money Laundering Contol Act of 1986 resulted in the 
enactment of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1956 and 1957. This legislation made 
money laundering a major crime with an unusually high level of sentencing. 
Specifically, the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 identified two kinds of 
offences; financial transaction money laundering and financial institution money 
laundering.
The Money Laundering Control Amendments of 1988
Legislative History: On June 8, 1988, the House Committee on Banking, Finance, 
and Urban Affairs (Banking Committee), under the chairmanship of Rep. Fernand J. 
St. Germain, held a hearing on proposed amendments to the money laundering laws. 
In his opening statement before the Committee, Chairman St. Germain set the 
stage for the hearing as follows:
"It is news to no one that drugs generate massive sums of cash. This cash must 
be laundered-slipped into the main stream of commerce if the drug traffickers 
are to be successful. We intend to make these laundering operations as difficult 
and costly as possible. We cannot allow financial institutions, insured by the 
U.S. Government, to be used- whether by accident or design.
The subject of money laundering and the use of financial institutions to launder 
funds derived from illegal sources such as drug trafficking is not new to the 
Committee. In fact, over eighteen years ago, the Committee on Banking 
concentrated its efforts on ways to combat drug trafficking, organized and white 
collar crime, tax evasion and other crimes in which criminals use the nation's 
financial institutions as a means to conceal or launder funds." 
Following this introduction, Gerald L. Hilsher, Deputy Assistant Secertary (Law 
Enforcement) Department of the Treasury, and Victoria Toensing, Deputy Assistant 
Attorney General, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice, 
testified. These government witnesses from Treasury and Justice emphasized the 
need to enact legislation "to prevent the laundering of money through financial 
institutions for illegal purposes". 
Based upon this testimony and without much floor discussion, the Banking 
Committee then justified the need for the proposed legislation. The need for 
amendments was additionally justified on the basis that most of the provisions 
of H.R. 5176, the Comprehensive Money Laundering Prevention Act, had been 
contained in Subtitle H of Title I of the "Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986" (Public 
Law 99-57Q). However, it was argued that certain provisions of H.R. 5176 were 
not included by the Senate in their version of the 1986 anti-drug proposals, and 
consequently did not become part of the 1986 Act. Thus the House Banking 
Committee was determined to include provisions of H.R. 5176 not enacted into law 
become part of the proposed 1988 amendments.
Thus, the Houae Banking Committee took it upon itself to rectify the 1986 
ommissions of the Senate, particularly those it believed would improve "law 
enforcement efforts to get at the drug traffickers and money launderers without 
unduly burdening the record keeping or reporting requirements of financial 
institutions". 
The Committee did not stop there. It also proposed amendments that curtailed the 
financial privacy of Americans such as the 1978 Right to Financial Privacy Act 
(RFPA). The RFPA (see Public Law 95-630, the Financial Institutions Regulatory 
and Interest Rate Control Act of 1978 (FIRICA)), protects the customers of 
financial institutions from unwarranted intrusion into their records while at 
the same time permits law enforcement offficials to pursue "legitimate" law 
enforcement investigations. The Committee wanted now the passage of an exemption 
from the notification requirements under the RFPA to alleged insiders of 
financial institutions. This had been ommitted also in the Senate version in 
1986 when it had been proposed as part of the amendments to the Bank Secrecy 
Act, mentioned earlier. The House Banking Committee wanted an "insider 
exemption" provision to RFPA. 
On June 9, 1988, the House Banking Committee adopted six amendments and ordered 
bill H.R. 4853, the Money Laundering Control Amendments of 1988, to be favorably 
reported for ratification by the House membership. 
Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
The amendments were well packaged in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 which 
introduced the Money Laundering Prosecution Improvements Act of 1988, which, in 
turn, broadened the scope of predicate acts to include tax evasion and false or 
fraudulent statements made in connection with income tax filings. 
There were international aspects to this "Anti-drug abuse" legislation which 
included a requirement upon the Secretary of State for the Treasury to negotiate 
with other countries to ensure that they have adequate records on international 
currency transactions, which would be equivalent to the mandatory reporting 
requirements of U.S. financial institutions.
In essence, the net effect of the Antidrug Abuse Act of 1988 was by far more 
reaching than "antidrug legislation". It required the financial institutions to 
report any financial transaction as a suspected criminal violation committed 
against a bank or involving a financial transaction carried out through the 
facilities offered by the bank or its employees. The implementation of this 
legislation placed the unusual and costly burden upon banks and financial 
institutions and required them to participate in police functions of the 
government while threatening them with draconian penalties for non-compliance. 
Furthemore, the guidelines issued by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency 
(OCC) defined "suspected violation" as "a transaction or series of transactions 
for which there is reasonable cause to believe that a criminal violation has 
occurred". 
The OCC guidelines added to this burden of policing of the financial 
institutions by stating the following:
" The OCC cannot quantify the precise amount of evidence needed to trigger the 
reporting requirement any more than it can delineate all the relevant factors 
that a bank must consider in deciding whether or not to report a suspicion or 
otherwise irregular transactions. In many instances the suspicious nature of the 
transaction is a function not only of the transaction itself but also of the 
bank's experience with the individuals associated with the transactions, either 
as employees or as customers of the bank. In many situations, the bank will be 
able to discern the 'intent' of those involved in a suspicious transaction. 
Invariably however, the pivotal question of criminal intent will be left for the 
determination of law enforcement authorities. All that a bank can do in those 
situations is to make a practical assessment of the the suspicious transaction 
based upon a good faith examination of all the relevant factors. Clearly, the 
more serious the irregularity, particularly if it involves a bank insider, the 
greater the obligation upon the bank to fully investigate the matter". 
The strict guidelines of OCC gave no alternative to the financial institutions. 
Rather than making value judgents of what constituted "criminal activity" and 
risking penalties for missing some "criminal activity" for which they could be 
severely fined, the financial institutions opted to report every transaction as 
a "possible criminal violation". This was definetely an overkill in policing the 
financial affairs of all Americans. It had little to do with "antidrug 
legislation". The draconian penalties coerced the financial institutions to 
become watchdogs and spy and report on all larger financiancial transactions of 
their clients. 
Top of the page
The "Sting" Money Laundering Statute (18 U.S. Code, Section 1956 (a)(3)
Included in the the Money Laundering Act Amendments of 1988 was a "sting" 
statute, 18 U.S. Code, Section 1956 (a)(3). What members of the Banking 
Committee did not realize was that subsection (a)(3), the "sting" provision, was 
drafted by some Department of Justice officials to serve for purposes other than 
those intended. The language of the statute was left intentionally vague and 
generic. The definitions and due process requirements that hold for other 
sections of the same law, do not hold for the "sting" statute. The "sting" 
statute reads as follows:
Laundering of Monetary Instruments Section 1956 (a)(3)
Whoever, with the intent-
(A) to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; 
(B) to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control 
of property believed to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or 
(C) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law, 
conducts or attempts to conduct a financial transaction involving property 
represented to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, or property used 
to conduct or facilitate specified unlawful activity, shall be fined $500,000 
under this title or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. For purposes 
of this paragraph and paragraph (2), the term "represented" means any 
representation made by a law enforcement officer or by another person at the 
direction of, or with the approval of, a Federal official authorized to 
investigate or prosecute violations of this section.
The key words of this statute are "represented" and "any representation". The 
use of these words is what made this statute a "sting", and it is the essence of 
its subsequent abuse. How the representation is made, and whether it follows due 
process of the law. Whether there is any adherence to the way and to the purpose 
that Congress intended the law to be used. Whether a clear representation is 
made that the proceeds are indeed from a "specified unlawful activity", and what 
is the activity."Any representation", for a sting type of an offense, simply 
does not meet the due process requirement of our Constitution, particularly for 
an offense charging the major crime of "money laundering".
The sting provision in the Money Laundering Control Amendments of 1988, U.S.C 
Title 18 Section 1956(a)(3) is one of the most amorphous, ill defined, and 
controversial laws ever passed in this country. It is a statute which is being 
grossly abused by self-serving prosecutors for a variety of cases unrelated to 
Congressional intent.This is the only statute with vague wording and definitions 
which apply to sections of U.S.C Title 18 Section 1956(a)(1) and (a)(2) but not 
to (a)(3). It allows law enforcement agents and prosecutors to engage in a 
variety of undercover "sting" operations for non-drug related, 
government-induced, "money laundering thought crimes", without consideration of 
due process or of the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth amendments. In most cases the 
government-induced underlying offenses may be minor. However, with the 
prosecutor's use of the money laundering statute, even if the government-induced 
or circumstantially-represented underlying offense is a petty misdeameanor, the 
targeted individual gets hit with a minimum sentencing offense level 20 or 22, 
if he even makes a simple deposit in a financial institution of proceeds from 
such "ostensibly" represented, by the undercover agent, transaction. Punishment 
may be as much as 51 months or more, same as for manslaughter, or major drug 
trafficking. Obviously the statute is unconstitutional and in gross violation, 
not only of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth and amendments, but of the Eighth 
amendment as well which provides constitutional safeguards for cruel and 
excessive punishments.
Top of the page
 
Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1956 -1957. An Overview of the Money Laundering 
Statutes
  In summary, the 1986 Act and subsequent amendments (including the 1988 
  amendments) made it a crime for someone, knowing that the property involved in 
  a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful 
  activity, to conduct or attempt to conduct such a financial transaction which 
  in fact involves the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity with the intent 
  to: (1) promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; (2) conceal or 
  disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the proceeds of 
  the specified unlawful activity; or (3) avoid a transaction reporting 
  requirement under state or federal law. The "sting" provision of 1956 section 
  (a)(3) provided for the prosecution and punishment of hypothetical crimes 
  fabricated by government attorneys.
  More specifically, Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956 is stated presently as 
  follows in the U.S. Code: 
  Laundering of monetary instruments :
  (a)(1) Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction 
  represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, conducts or 
  attempts to conduct such a financial transaction which in fact involves the 
  proceeds of specified unlawful activity -
  (A)(i) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful 
  activity; or
  (ii) with intent to engage in conduct constituting a violation of section 7201 
  or 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
  (B) knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or inpart -
  (i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the 
  ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or
  (ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law, 
  shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of 
  the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or 
  imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.
  (2) Whoever transports, transmits, or transfers, or attempts to transport, 
  transmit, or transfer a monetary instrument or funds from a place in the 
  United States to or through a place outside the United States or to a place in 
  the United States from or through a place outside the United States -
  (A) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; 
  or
  (B) knowing that the monetary instrument or funds involved in the 
  transportation, transmission, or transfer represent the proceeds of some form 
  of unlawful activity and knowing that such transportation, transmission, or 
  transfer is designed in whole or in part -
  (i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the 
  ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or
  (ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law, 
  shall be sentenced to a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary 
  instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or 
  transfer....whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty 
  years, or both.
  Laundering of Monetary Instruments under Section 1956 (a)(3)
  Whoever, with the intent-
  (A) to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; 
  (B) to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control 
  of property believed to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or 
  (C) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law, 
  conducts or attempts to conduct a financial transaction involving property 
  represented to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, or property 
  used to conduct or facilitate specified unlawful activity, shall be fined 
  $500,000 under this title or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. 
  For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (2), the term "represented" means 
  any representation made by a law enforcement officer or by another person at 
  the direction of, or with the approval of, a Federal official authorized to 
  investigate or prosecute violations of this section.
  For the purpose of the offense described in subparagraph (B), the defendant's 
  knowledge may be established by proof that a law enforcement officer 
  represented the matter specified in subparagraph (B) as true, and the 
  defendant's subsequent statements or actions indicate that the defendant 
  believed such representations to be true.
  Under the 1956 section the current U.S. Code gives the following definitions 
  for the above offenses: 
  (b) Whoever conducts or attempts to conduct a transaction described in 
  subsection (a)(1), or a transportation, transmission,or transfer described in 
  subsection (a)(2), is liable to the United States for a civil penalty of not 
  more than the greater of -
  (1) the value of the property, funds, or monetary instruments involved in the 
  transaction; or
  $10,000.
  (2) the term ''conducts'' includes initiating, concluding, or participating in 
  initiating, or concluding a transaction;
  (3) the term ''transaction'' includes a purchase, sale, loan, pledge, gift, 
  transfer, delivery, or other disposition, and with respect to a financial 
  institution includes a deposit, withdrawal, transfer between accounts, 
  exchange of currency, loan, extension of credit, purchase or sale of any 
  stock, bond, certificate of deposit, or other monetary instrument, use of a 
  safe deposit box, or any other payment, transfer, or delivery by, through, or 
  to a financial institution, by whatever means effected;
  (4) the term ''financial transaction'' means 
  (A) a transaction which in any way or degree affects interstate or foreign 
  commerce
  (i) involving the movement of funds by wire or other means or
  (ii) involving one or more monetary instruments, or 
  (iii) involving the transfer of title to any real property, vehicle,vessel, or 
  aircraft, or
  (B) a transaction involving the use of a financial institution which is 
  engaged in, or the activities which affect, interstate or foreign commerce in 
  any way or degree;
  (5) the term ''monetary instruments'' means 
  (i) coin or currency of the United States or of any other country, travelers' 
  checks, personal checks, bank checks, and money orders, or 
  (ii) investment securities or negotiable instruments, in bearer form or 
  otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery;
  (6) the term ''financial institution'' has the definition given that term in 
  section 5312(a)(2) of title 31, United States Code, or the regulations 
  promulgated thereunder;
  Section (7) ,"specified unlawful activity" encompasses a myriad of violations 
  covered by many other laws interconnected through an unbelievable statutory 
  tracking that can bring under the umbrella of money laundering any imaginable 
  offense. Thus, any violation covered by any such other law which may include 
  some type of a financial transaction, can be structured by a prosecutor to 
  include a money laundering offense which in turn can escalate an offender's 
  sentence, even if the underlying offense is minor. 
  For example, under this section, ''specified unlawful activity'' means -
  (A) any act or activity constituting an offense listed in section 1961(1) of 
  this title except an act which is indictable under subchapter II of chapter 53 
  of title 31;
  (B) with respect to a financial transaction occurring in whole or in part in 
  the United States, an offense against a foreign nation involving -
  (i) the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled 
  substance (as such term is defined for the purposes of the Controlled 
  Substances Act) 
  (ii) kidnaping, robbery, or extortion; or
  (iii) fraud, or any scheme or attempt to defraud, by or against a foreign bank 
  (as defined in paragraph 7 of section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 
  1978; (C) any act or acts constituting a continuing criminal enterprise, as 
  that term is defined in section 408 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 
  U.S.C. 848); (D) an offense under section 152 (relating to concealment of 
  assets; false oaths and claims; bribery), section 215 (relating to commissions 
  or gifts for procuring loans), any of sections 500 through 503 (relating to 
  certain counterfeiting offenses), section 513 (relating to securities of 
  States and private entities), section 542 (relating to entry of goods by means 
  of false statements), section 545 (relating to smuggling goods into the United 
  States), section 549 (relating to removing goods from Customs custody), 
  section 641 (relating to public money, property, or records), section 656 
  (relating to theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officer or 
  employee), section 657 (relating to lending, credit, and insurance 
  institutions), section 658 (relating to property mortgaged or pledged to farm 
  credit agencies), section 666 (relating to theft or bribery concerning 
  programs receiving Federal funds), section 793, 794, or 798 (relating to 
  espionage), section 875 (relating to interstate communications), section 1005 
  (relating to fraudulent bank entries), 1006 (relating to fraudulent Federal 
  credit institution entries), 1007 (relating to Federal Deposit Insurance 
  transactions), 1014 (relating to fraudulentloan or credit applications), 1032 
  (relating to concealment ofassets from conservator, receiver, or liquidating 
  agent of financial institution), section 1201 (relating to kidnaping), section 
  1203 (relating to hostage taking), section 1708 (theft from the mail), section 
  2113 or 2114 (relating to bank and postal robbery and theft), or section 2319 
  (relating to copyright infringement) of this title, a felony violation o the 
  Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act of 1988 (relating to precursor and 
  essential chemicals), section 590 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1590) 
  (relating to aviation smuggling), section 422 of the Controlled Substances Act 
  (relating to transportation of drug paraphernalia), section 38(c) (relating to 
  criminal violations) of the Arms Export Control Act, section11 (relating to 
  violations) of the Export Administration Act of1979, section 206 (relating to 
  penalties) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, section 16 
  (relating to offenses and punishment) of the Trading with the Enemy Act, any 
  felony violation of section 9(c) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (relating to 
  food stamp fraud) involving a quantity of coupons having a value of not less 
  than $5,000, or any felony violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices 
  Act;................and so on
  Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1957
  Conduct prohibited by Section 1957 of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 
  applies to those circumstances where the offence takes place in the US or in 
  the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the US or where the 
  offence takes place outside the US but the defendant is a US citizen. It 
  applies to reporting requirements.
  Top of the page 
   
The Pontential for Abuse of the Money Laundering Laws
  In essence, the passage of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 created a 
  new class of money laundering "crimes" which encompassed just about every 
  imaginable offense that a prosecutor could charge. Given the vague language of 
  the statute and without specific guidelines to federal prosecutors, created 
  the potential for abuse. With increasing frequency these laws have been used 
  selectively by federal attorneys to "criminalize" and prosecute"politically 
  incorrect" Americans for a variety of "offenses". These laws have been used 
  systematically, not only against drug traffickers, but also to punish those 
  Americans who for some reason were targeted as being outside the established 
  economic, political and social order. Ironically, U.S. Government Agencies and 
  major establishment-connected banks who have been the greatest violators of 
  money laundering activities globally, were never prosecuted for their money 
  laundering activities. The only exceptions were BCCI and American Express. 
  Their prosecution under the money laundering laws amounted to nothing more 
  than a slap on the hand. The U.S. banks that were closely affiliated with BCCI 
  did not even receive a reprimand. In the case of American Express, the entire 
  blame was placed on a low level, "ethnic" manager of a small Florida branch. 
  No one else in American Express was prosecuted. The government "settled" the 
  case for approximately $50 million. Similarly many other similar criminal 
  cases of money laundering have been "settled" like civil cases through the 
  imposition of "fines" and without criminal sanctions. The criminal sanctions 
  are usually reserved for the small time offenders and the "politically 
  incorrect".
  Top of the page 
   
The Unconstitutionality of the Money Laundering "Sting" Statute, Title 18, U.S. 
Code, Section 1956 (a)(3).
  The Money Laundering "Sting" Statute, Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1956 (a)(3) 
  violates the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments of our Constitution by 
  permitting the improper prearrangement and orchestration of a "crime" and the 
  fabrication of the evidence with guaranteed conviction and level of 
  sentencing. Convictions are easily obtained through a prearranged, low 
  threshold of proof. Abuses of the "sting" statute have been attested and 
  documented by numerous sources, testimonies, newspaper and magazine articles, 
  government records of public hearings, improper prosecutions documented by 
  caselaw, and even by the U.S. Sentencing Commission's internal and independent 
  findings; the latter suggesting that due process was not followed in the 
  application of the "sting" statute and that as many as 68% of the persons that 
  have been convicted may be due to misrepresentations by law enforcement 
  officials using this "sting" statute. These 68% of convicted individuals never 
  believed that they were involved in a financial transaction which included 
  "proceeds of an unlaful activity", because no such representation was made by 
  law enforcement officers. Most of those convicted were coerced into plea 
  bargaining because of the high sentencing level of money laundering offenses. 
  In brief, the record proves unprecedented abuses. Continuing misapplication of 
  this law by federal prosecutors is subverting and undermining our Criminal 
  Justice System. Also, its continuous abuse raises greater issues and 
  philosophies that basic constitutional freedoms and guarantees are threatened 
  in our country. 
  Why is the "sting" Money Laundering Statute Unconstitutional? 
  Fourth Amendment Violations: The statute violates clearly the Fourth 
  Amendment's guarantee of the right of the people to be secure in their persons 
  against unreasonable searches. The "sting" itself, particularly when 
  outrageously applied and orchestrated, often without sufficient probable 
  cause, is a form of unreasonable search and invasion of privacy.
  Fifth Amendment Violations: The "sting" statute violates the Fifth Amendment 
  and due process against self-incrimination in that no warning is given to the 
  targeted person and no Miranda rights are read that any statements made (even 
  the absence of statements or questions, interpreted as "willful neglect") will 
  be used against a defendant for money laundering or any other type of 
  prosecution. More often than not, the "sting" turns into a witch hunt and an 
  unethical fishing expedition, after the undercover agent wins the trust or 
  friendship of the targeted person. Furthermore, it violates the Fifth 
  Amendment when the government prosecutor's conduct and overzealousness for 
  conviction, by any means, become outrageous. Due process requirements of the 
  Fifth amendment are often violated because representation is not properly made 
  by law enforcement officers that the proceeds of a financial transaction are 
  indeed from an "unlawful activity". The key words in the statute are that the 
  proceeds are "from some form, though necessarily which form" of unlawful 
  activity". Thus the word "representation" is downgraded to "any 
  representation" in the statute and it is further downgraded in the definitions 
  to "some form, though necessarily which form" of unlawful activity. This vague 
  wording is the source of prosecutorial abuse. It allows a very vague 
  representation and misunderstanding which violates the due process requirement 
  of the Fifth Amendment.
  Sixth Amendment Violations: The statute violates the Sixth Amendment because 
  its language is ambiguous and vague and in most "sting" money laundering cases 
  a targeted person is not informed clearly in the money laundering indictment 
  of the nature and cause of the underlying offense. Frequently, neither 
  defendants nor juries understand the statutory tracking of the money 
  laundering charge or the fact that underlying offenses are used only for 
  "definitional" purposes. Also, in many "sting" money laundering cases a 
  defendant does not get a speedy trial as the sixth Amendment requires. In most 
  "sting" cases prosecutors deprive defendants of speedy trial with the excuse 
  that there is an ongoing investigation of the defendant for "other crimes" 
  revealed during the "sting". Often, the prosecutor will reindict a defendant, 
  adding more counts on a piecemeal basis, to avoid the speedy trial and to 
  simply coerce a defendant to "plea bargain".
  Eighth Amendment Violations: The "sting" statute clearly violates the Eighth 
  Amendment, because it imposes excessive bail, excessive fines, and imposes 
  cruel and unusual punishment totally out of proportion to the underlying 
  offense. It provides for $500,000 in fines and up to 20 years imprisonment, 
  same as a major drug trafficking violation, even if the alleged, 
  misrepresented, underlying offense of the "sting" is only a petty misdemeanor. 
  Often the alleged unlawful activity does not fall within the predicate 
  offenses of section (7) of the law to qualify as a money laundering offense. A 
  circuitrous statutory tracking is often used to bring the alleged offense 
  within the ambit of money laundering offenses with considerable, unusual and 
  cruel escalation of the offense level. 
  Top of the page 
   
  An Example of Money Laundering Law Misapplication. 
  The case of Dr.George Pararas-Carayannis presented in another section of this 
  page is an example of the frequent misapplications of the money laundering 
  laws. For unknown reasons, and in the absence of any ongoing criminal 
  activity, Dr. Pararas-Carayannis, an internationally recognized scientist, was 
  targeted for a money laundering "sting". The undercover government agent in 
  the "sting" was a young woman who was instructed by the prosecutor to befriend 
  Dr. Pararas-Carayannis and to ask him to process through his merchant account 
  a few credit card slips of her newly started "escort service" because she did 
  not, as yet, opened an account of her own. She claimed that she had the 
  necessary licences and that she was going to advertize in the Yellow Pages. No 
  other representation was ever made. 
  Dr. Pararas-Carayannis processed the slips through his account and gave the 
  young woman her money, deducting only for taxes and credit card company fees. 
  Subsequently he was charged by a federal prosecutor with "money laundering". 
  Although this had been a "sting" and there had been no real underlying 
  unlawful activity, the indictment charged him with the thought crime of 
  believing that in his own mind he was "disguising and concealing" proceeds of 
  "some form of unlawful activity" (even though there had been no such 
  representation). According to the indictment he was not charged with 
  committing or being a participant in any underlying unlawful activity (since 
  there was none). The prosecutor further claimed in court that the hypothetical 
  underlying offense needed not be represented nor proven for conviction. The 
  disclosure that the proceeds were from an escort service was enough, since 
  "everyone knows that escort services are fronts for prostitution".
  Subsequent "plea-bargaining" efforts by the federal prosecutor to coerce Dr. 
  Pararas-Carayannis into a guilty plea before trial were clearly human rights' 
  violations. Because he refused to "plea bargain", the government attorney, 
  intentionally inflicted upon him unprecedented psychological torture through 
  unwarranted, continuous, retaliatory prosecutions, charging frivolous, 
  unsupported allegations - charges which could not be supported by facts or 
  evidence and which were subsequently dismissed. The single purpose of this 
  psychological/legal bulldozing was to break Dr. Pararas-Carayannis emotionally 
  and to coerce him to accept a guilty plea for the fabricated money laundering 
  charges of the"sting" scheme involving the proceeds (a few hundred dollars) of 
  the alleged unlawful activity - the non-existent, "escort" service. Allegedly 
  he netted $35 from this activity.
  As a result of this unprecedented psychological torture and inhumane stress he 
  had been subjected, six weeks after the trial, Dr. Pararas-Carayannis suffered 
  a nearly fatal heart attack which resulted in his total disability and a 
  progressing heart failure. Yet, in spite of his dire health condition and 
  advanced age, he was subsequently sentenced to a total of 77 months for the 
  fabricated offense (41 months in prison and 36 months under court supervision. 
  This is in addition to seven years of supervised release he has already served 
  , making his total punishment for the fabricated "money laundering" offense 
  more than THIRTEEN (13) years. Clearly, this has been an outrageous 
  misapplication of the money laundering laws.
  Top of the page 
   
Forfeiture Laws
  An AACLJ member from Colorado provided us the following letter from the 
  Colorado Herald. This letter summarizes the effect of prevailing unreasonable 
  attitudes on allegedly fighting "crime" with forfeiture laws aimed primarily 
  at raising revenues for law enforcement agencies.
  LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DURANGO, COLORADO HERALD, 25 JAN. 1996 
Support Reform of Forfeiture Laws
  Did you know that your money, savings and property can be seized by zealous 
  officials based on an informant's comment or weak circumstantial evidence - 
  all without trial or due process? Did you know that if you are caught carrying 
  significant cash and this money elicits a reaction from a drug-sniffing dog 
  that all the money can be confiscated?
  This is especially alarming as more than 96 per cent of U.S. currency tests 
  positive for cocaine. This has already occurred in a number of cases.
  Then, when charges have been dropped or you have been found not guilty, you 
  have to sue the government to get your property back. Good luck paying for 
  this when all your assets are gone. And, where are you and your family going 
  to live while this often two year process takes place?
  The drug war craze has blended with politicians' tough-on-crime posturing to 
  create a nightmare.
  In 1990 a Department of Justice bulletin sent to all U.S. attorneys:
  "Significantly increasing forfeiture production to reach our budgeted targets. 
  Failure to achieve the $470 million projection would expose the Department's 
  forfeiture program to criticism. Every effort must be made to increase 
  forfeiture income ...."
  Assistant Attorney General Edward Dennis advising U.S. attorneys: "To divert 
  personnel from other activities, including criminal cases, to prepare all 
  forfeiture cases for action ...." 
  In 1992, the California Committee on Public Safety: "Asset forfeiture is a 
  multi-million dollar source of revenue for law enforcement. Thus, there is an 
  incentive to seize property as a revenue source." 
  In addition, in 1993, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff testified officers 
  stole $60 million in forfeited cash and property in 1988-89. A similar pattern 
  of activitv has been reported in New York and many other areas. And this was 
  six years ago.
  If this is alarming to you, support the forfeiture Reform Bill (HR 1916) by 
  writing your representative. The bill is not ideal, but does begin to correct 
  the insanity.
  Steve Self
  Durango, Colorado 
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