Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
To establish conspiracy to commit money laundering, the government must prove (1) that there was an agreement between two or more persons to commit money laundering and (2) that the defendant joined the agreement knowing its purpose and with the intent to further the illegal purpose.
This is an appeal from a money-laundering-conspiracy trial. The Los Zetas drug cartel entered the U.S. quarter-horse racing business. Los Zetas used their horse-racing operations to launder money. Four Defendants—Appellants involved in the horse-racing operations were convicted of conspiring to launder money in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). They appealed, each challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the jury instructions, and their sentences, among other claims of error.
Was there sufficient evidence to support the conviction of a horse trainer for conspiring to launder money through horse-racing operations, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1956(h)?
The court found that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of a horse trainer for conspiring to launder money through horse-racing operations, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1956(h), because it did not show the trainer knowledge of the purpose to conceal the source or nature of illegal funds, even though a drug cartel used the overall horse-racing scheme to launder money. The court held that the testimony that another defendant received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash proceeds from the sale of cocaine and that he repeatedly registered horses under various names was sufficient to show his knowledge. The evidence was sufficient to convict the translator for a key subordinate in the conspiracy who could not speak English. Finally, the court held that it was error to instruct that the commingling of illegal proceeds with legitimate business funds "is" evidence of intent to conceal or disguise.