90 Miles From Tyranny : When It’s a Crime to Withdraw Money From Your Bank

Sunday, June 7, 2015

When It’s a Crime to Withdraw Money From Your Bank

Dennis Hastert has not been indicted on a charge of sexual abuse, nor has he been indicted on a charge of paying money he was not legally allowed to pay. The indictment of Mr. Hastert, a former House speaker, released last week, lays out two counts: taking money out of the bank the wrong way, and then lying to the F.B.I. about what he did with the money.

Does that make sense? Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, for example, is worried that the indictment constitutes government overreach, punishing Mr. Hastert for concealing payments whose disclosure he may have thought would be damaging to his reputation, but which were not illegal.

Federal prosecutors allege Mr. Hastert was paying hush money in exchange for wrongdoing that happened long ago. But Mr. Hastert is charged with structuring: making repeated four-figure cash withdrawals from his bank in order to avoid the generation of cash transaction reports, which banks are required to send the government about every transaction over $10,000. These reports have been required since 1970, with the intention of helping the federal government identify organized criminals and tax evaders.

To be clear: It’s not illegal simply to take $8,000 out of the bank repeatedly.

“The criminal provisions there do have strong mens rea (criminal intent) requirements: The government has the burden to prove that...

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1 comment:

  1. I do believe he helped pass the legislation that he got caught in. There is the old law, but there are new provisions which intensified scrutiny. Talk about not reading before passing, which is bad enough... but not even reading AFTER it's passed? In one sense, the notion that they are watching as they are is beyond problematic. On the other hand, what he did should have been caught. As I have written elsewhere, it is starting to look like only sexual criminals and such make it to leadership levels. How long has the FBI and CIA been spying, and have they been using that to craft a monstrous political body, at least leadership? It really is looking like that is the plan, not an accident.


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