3d Circuit Upholds federal money laundering sentence of lawyer on grounds of Wilful Blindness
The White Collar Crime Pro Blog Link published a post on Sunday about the Third Circuit's recent opinion upholding the 32 month sentence of an attorney convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and conspiracy to structure a currency transaction. The opinion was analyzed in the ABA's eJournal Report here.
According to the opinion, the attorney, Luis Flores, was paid $2,000/week in cash to oversee various bank accounts into which he made numerous cash deposits on behalf of his client (activity which led one bank to close the client's account on suspicion of money laundering). Further, an accountant obtained by Flores to balance the client's books told the attorney that he should be concerned because large payments were being made to European companies that had no apparent relation to the client's alleged import-export business. Flores also incorporated nine companies on behalf of his client.
Flores had argued that his client deceived him about the nature of his business activities. However, the Third Circuit rejected that defense finding that the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Flores was "willfully blind" to his client’s alleged money-laundering activities.