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Money Laundering Proceeds Defined As Profits, and Civil Rights, Criminal, Debt Collection, and Immigration Cases

By FindLaw Staff on May 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In US v. Moreland, No. 05-30541, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part defendant's convictions for mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering, on the grounds that 1) defendant's waiver of his right to counsel was not conditioned on specific assurances from the district court regarding the level of participation he could expect from standby counsel; 2) defendant's ineffective assistance claims were more appropriate for collateral proceedings; 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting only a two-week continuance because the need for a continuance was defendant's fault; 4) even though the prosecution's questioning was improper, it did not amount to plain error; 5) the prosecutor's statements in closing argument were reasonable based on the evidence; and 6) the prosecution did not waive its right to seek restitution.  However, the court reversed certain convictions, and defendant's sentence, holding that the money laundering jury instructions should have defined proceeds as profits.

In Kim v. Holder, No. 06-73415, the Ninth Circuit denied petitioners' petition for review of the BIA's order of removal, on the grounds that 1) the government proved petitioners' removability by clear and convincing evidence; and 2) petitioners lacked standing to assert their equal protection claim because they did not belong to the class of returning lawful permanent residents who were allegedly similarly situated to applicants for admission.

US v. Rich, No. 08-30153, concerned a prosecution for securities fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and filing a false tax return, following defendant's death.  The Ninth Circuit ordered the restitution order against defendant abated where the restitution order encompassed monies beyond the proceeds of defendant's fraud.  However, the court of appeals directed the district court to retain jurisdiction over the receivership created to preserve the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme where, because of his stipulation to a permanent receivership, defendant could not, after death had abated his conviction, challenge the receiver's power to repay victims.

Khatib v. Cty. of Orange, No. 08-56423, involved an action alleging a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) because correctional officers required plaintiff, against her Muslim religious beliefs and practice, to remove her "hijab," or headscarf, in public.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding that a courthouse holding cell was not an "institution" as defined by RLUIPA.

In US v. Coronado, No. 09-50154, the court of appeals vacated defendant's firearm possession sentence, on the ground that a conviction under a statute proscribing grossly negligent conduct, even though it involves an intentional and potentially dangerous act, was not a "crime of violence" within the meaning of U.S.S.G. section 4B1.2(a).

In Rouse v. Law Offcs. of Rory Clark, No. 09-55146, a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act action, the court of appeals vacated the district court's award of costs to defendants following judgment in their favor, on the ground that a prevailing defendant cannot be awarded costs under the FDCPA unless the plaintiff brought the action in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment.

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