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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Evade Reporting Requirements

By Spodek Law Group | February 14, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:22 pm

Uncovering the Dark Side of Structuring Transactions: How to Evade Reporting Requirements

The High Stakes of Evading Reporting Requirements

Financial institutions and businesses across the United States are mandated by law to report all cash transactions exceeding $10,000 to the federal government. This crucial measure aims to track financial activities and detect illegal practices such as money laundering, drug trafficking, and tax evasion. However, attempting to structure a transaction to bypass this requirement is a federal crime that violates Title 31 U.S. Code 5324. If convicted, one can face up to five years in prison.

What is Structuring and How Does it Work?

Under the law, banks must report all cash deposits of $10,000 or more by filing a Currency Transaction Report (CTR). Additionally, non-financial businesses must report any cash payments of $10,000 or more by filing Form 8300. Illegal structuring, in this case, refers to setting up a large cash transaction in a way that avoids triggering the reporting requirements. One of the most common ways of achieving this is through “smurfing.” Smurfing entails breaking down a substantial cash deposit into smaller transactions to evade bank detection.

The Consequences of Violating 31 U.S.C. 5324

Title 31 U.S.C. 5324 makes it a federal crime for individuals or entities to knowingly structure or attempt to structure any transaction with the intention of evading reporting requirements. It highlights the following practices:

  • Structuring a transaction with a financial institution to avoid filing a report;
  • Structuring a transaction in a way that the financial institution files a report that includes false information;
  • Structuring a transaction between multiple financial institutions, such that neither institution reports it;
  • Evading reporting requirements with a non-financial business, such as splitting a transaction between several smaller ones, causing an erroneous report, or spreading a transaction between companies.

Defenses for Violating 31 U.S.C. 5324

As with most crimes, prosecutors must prove that the accused acted with intent to evade reporting requirements. Proving this intent can be challenging, making it the most common defense strategy in structuring-related charges. Individuals may also argue that their actions had a legitimate reason for breaking up the transaction.

Examples of Structuring Transactions

For instance, Bob generates $20,000 in cash sales at his flea market booth, which he wishes to conceal from the government. He decides to split the amount into three separate deposits at his bank, with two deposits of $7,000 each and one deposit of $6,000, to avoid detection.

In summary, attempting to evade reporting requirements by structuring transactions is a severe federal offense that carries hefty consequences. It’s essential to stay compliant with the law and report all cash transactions exceeding $10,000 to avoid criminal charges and imprisonment.

Financial Institutions Beware: Avoid Evading Reporting Requirements

Domestic Coin and Currency Transactions

As the saying goes, “money talks,” and domestic financial institutions must listen carefully. Any attempt to evade reporting requirements can have severe consequences. Under no circumstance shall any individual cause or attempt to cause a domestic financial institution to fail to comply with the reporting requirements of section 5313(a) or 5325, or any regulations prescribed under any such section.

Consequences of Noncompliance

Financial institutions must not only file reports, maintain records, and comply with orders issued under section 5326 but also keep records required by any regulation prescribed under section 21 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act or section 123 of Public Law 91-508. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to dire consequences, and no attempt to circumvent or misrepresent any fact shall be made while filing any report or maintaining any record.

Prohibition Against Structuring Transactions

Additionally, no individual shall structure or assist in structuring any transaction with one or more domestic financial institutions. Attempting to do so is a grave offense that can result in severe penalties.

Compliance is Key

It is essential for financial institutions to comply with all regulations and reporting requirements. Any failure to do so can result in significant legal and financial consequences. Remember, the importance of transparency and honesty cannot be overstated when dealing with financial institutions.

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