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The Champion

September 2008 , Page 12 

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Money Laundering Defense After Santos and Regaldo Cuellar

By Barry Boss; John May; Matt Swerdlin

Money, it’s a crime.
— Pink Floyd1 

For some time, prosecutors and money laundering charges have had a romantic relationship. For many years, the breadth of the statute was matched only by its draconian sentencing guideline ranges. In 2001, the Sentencing Commission amended U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1 to tie offense levels for money laundering more closely to the underlying conduct that was the source of the criminally derived funds.2 Many expected that this amendment would eviscerate the plea bargaining leverage that prosecutors obtained when they included such charges in an indictment, and as a result, there would be a precipitous decrease in the number of money laundering cases brought. But, for reasons that are unclear, prosecutors continued to charge money laundering even in “mine-run” cases.3 Fortunately, recent developments, including most significantly the Supreme Court money laundering decisions during its 2007-08 term, may signal a sea change in how courts

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