You might be aware that financial institutions are required to report deposits of $10,000 or more by filing what is called a “Currency Transaction Report,” or CTR. What you might not know is that it is that making multiple deposits of less than $10,000, in multiple accounts, in order to avoid the CTR reporting threshold, is illegal.
The practice is called “structuring,” and it is one of many red flags that can trigger a money laundering investigation. But even if law enforcement can’t prove that you’re laundering ill-gotten money, they might seize your money and bring a forfeiture action merely based on the alleged offense of structuring.
That is precisely what happened to small businessman Reza Ella, who made structured deposits which added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. Ella has not been accused of a crime. Law enforcement even recognizes that his activity was consistent with his business. But because he ran afoul of the law against structuring, he stands to lose more than $840,000.00 in what is called a civil forfeiture action. You can read the story and view the complaint, here.
At Diaz Reus, anti-money laundering and civil asset forfeiture are regular parts of our practice. If you have a cash-intensive business, we can help you avoid the potential pitfalls of anti-money laundering regulations or, if necessary, represent your interests in a civil asset forfeiture proceeding.