Indictment of top aides Manafort, Gates : Money laundering conspiracy outlined
14 Nov 2017

Stefan Cassella of Asset Forfeiture Law, LLC looks at a key case in which former Trump campaign officials are charged with conspiracy to commit international and domestic money laundering.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of all property involved in the money laundering offense.

United States v. Manafort and Gates, Cr. No. 1:17-cr-00201 (D.D.C.), filed Oct. 27, 2017.

D.D.C. * Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained an indictment charging former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Richard Gates with various offenses including conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h), and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), 22 U.S.C. §§ 612 and 618.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation. The money laundering count alleges that Manafort and Gates conspired to violate the money laundering statute in three ways.

First, citing the international money laundering provision in Section 1956(a)(2)(A), it alleges that they conspired to transfer money into or out of the United States with the intent to promote “a specified unlawful activity” (SUA), namely the FARA violation.

Second and third, citing the domestic money laundering provision in Sections 1956(a)(1)(A)(ii) and 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), respectively, it alleges that they conspired to conduct a transaction involving SUA proceeds for the purpose of committing tax evasion, and knowing that the transaction was designed to conceal or disguise the SUA proceeds.

The international money laundering charge clearly specifies that the object of the conspiracy was to promote the FARA violation.

Because Section 1956(a)(2)(A) does not require that the money involved in the transaction be derived from any other criminal offense, the indictment does not allege the source of the money.

On the other hand, the domestic money laundering statute, Section 1956(a)(1), does require the Government to prove that the money the defendants conspired to launder was the proceeds of an SUA.

Curiously, the indictment does not specify the nature of the prior offense that allegedly generated those proceeds.

It may be that the Government intends to prove that the defendants conspired to launder the proceeds of the FARA offense, or that the SUA was another offense altogether. No other offense constituting an SUA is alleged in the indictment, however.

The forfeiture allegation seeks the forfeiture of all proceeds of the FARA offense and all property involved in the money laundering conspiracy. See 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) and 982(a)(1), respectively.

The allegation lists four parcels of real property and a life insurance policy as specific assets subject to forfeiture under either or both theories.

Otherwise, it places the defendants on notice that the Government will be seeking a money judgment equal to the amount of money involved in the money laundering count or derived from the FARA violations.

It does not specify what that amount will be, but elsewhere in the Indictment, the Government alleges that Manafort laundered at least $18 million.

Accordingly, upon conviction, he could be liable to forfeit that amount.

SDC Contact: None

Comment: The full text of the indictment is posted on Steffan’s website at this location:


Stefan Cassella, Asset Forfeiture Law, LLC

Related topics:

How Manafort lost $600,000 in ‘money laundering’ shell company

Manafort pledges $12m in assets to avoid house arrest

Money laundering – why the traditional model of money laundering is obsolete


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