South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Conviction for Conspiracy Does not Require Proof of Action Conspired
Description Supreme Court held that a conviction for money laundering could be based on a conspiracy to engage in that act. Under federal law, the penalty can be the same for conspiring to launder money as to actually commit the overt act of money laundering.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Conspiracy; Proof; Overt Act; Money Laundering
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Whitfield and others were convicted under federal law of conspiracy to launder money as part of a scam known as Greater Ministries International Church (GMIC). It took in more than $400 million over four years. Investors were promised double their money back, but the funds disappeared. Defendants appealed, claiming that to be convicted, there had to be proof of an overt act in furtherance of the money laundering conspiracy. The trial court and appeals court held that was not the case; defendants appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 penalizes the knowing and intentional transportation or transfer of money from specific illegal activities. A 1992 amendment says "Any person who conspires to commit any offense defined in [the money laundering law] shall be subject to the same penalties…." The language of the statute does not require an overt act of money laundering to be convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

Citation Whitfield v. U.S., 125 S.Ct. 687 (Sup. Ct., 2005)

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