2nd Feb 2016

The way that people handle money can subject them to investigation by federal authorities in certain scenarios. A South Florida criminal defense attorney can explain that one such situation is when structuring is suspected. Structuring is considered a white collar crime and carries significant penalties. People accused of structuring should seek the advice of a qualified South Florida criminal defense attorney.

Description of Structuring
Structuring occurs when a person deposits money in a way to avoid bank reporting requirements. This often involves making a number of smaller bank deposits instead of making a large bank deposit that would trigger the banking requirement. It involves transferring more than $10,000 but using smaller and separate transactions that are each under $10,000 in an attempt to evade the relevant reporting requirement that would have applied if there were fewer transactions that were made. For example, if a person is depositing $75,000 and chooses to make ten deposits of $7,500, federal authorities may suspect structuring. Banks must file a Currency Transaction Report in compliance with federal and IRS laws. At the root of this crime is the defendant’s intent to cause the bank not to make this report.

Penalties for Structuring
If a person is convicted of structuring, he or she can face very serious consequences. Among these are a possibility of a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine. Additionally, a convicted individual may have their assets forfeited.

Defenses
The most common defense to structuring is that the prosecution fails to meet its burden to show that a person knowingly committed structuring with the intent to avoid the transaction reporting requirement. There may be many viable reasons why a person may make a number of smaller deposits instead of a larger deposit, such as depositing funds as they become available, depositing separate checks or wanting to avoid carrying too much money around at one time. The prosecution has the burden of showing criminal intent.

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