1996-12-25 - Re: Legality of requiring credit cards?

Header Data

From: jim bell <jimbell@pacifier.com>
To: “Brian A. LaMacchia” <bdavis@thepoint.net>
Message Hash: c18360c0f36e7a97d93991c6ba2772cf4a645469e4a2b2d407d6789b9e8426a7
Message ID: <199612250547.VAA27540@mail.pacifier.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-12-25 05:47:27 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 21:47:27 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: jim bell <jimbell@pacifier.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 21:47:27 -0800 (PST)
To: "Brian A. LaMacchia" <bdavis@thepoint.net>
Subject: Re: Legality of requiring credit cards?
Message-ID: <199612250547.VAA27540@mail.pacifier.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 12:12 AM 12/25/96 -0500, Brian A. LaMacchia wrote:
>At 07:17 PM 12/24/96 -0800, jim bell wrote:
>>At 09:39 PM 12/24/96 -0500, Brian A. LaMacchia wrote:
>>>Why, of course, the fact that the guy attempted to structure the
>>>transaction to evade the reporting requirements in the first place.  31
>>>U.S.C. 5324(a). 
>>Who says?  He eventually reported it within the legally-defined time.  The 
>>evidence of intent to COMPLY with the law is far stronger than the evidence 
>>of the opposite.  
>Bzzt, wrong answer, thanks for playing.  "Reporting" here doesn't mean
>"report the income to the IRS on your tax return."  It refers to the report
>the bank is required to file by law on every transaction in excess of

Bzzt, wrong answer!  By definition, if the report was filed as a consequence of the transaction, then the transaction was reported IN FACT and the person didn't evade it!   (whether he wanted to evade it is, of course, pure speculation on your part.  It is, obviously, questionable whether the government can make a person's mere _desires_ criminal.)

Let's suppose, hypothetically, that there is a rule which states "If anybody comes in and does three separate $9,000 transactions, they get reported."  In that case, anybody who does those transactions is already aware that doing them does NOT "evade the reporting requirements."

Okay, maybe no such explicit rule exists.  However, can you prove that anyone really believes that he is "evading reporting requirements"?  Having read of this incident, it is quite obvious that the government doesn't obey its own rules and doesn't limit itself to logic and reasonable positions. It is also obvious that banks can't be trusted to follow reliable rules.   Once aware of this, how can you show that a person really thought he was getting away with anything?  (which is, after all, an essential element of the crime of "structuring", I suppose.)

Gotcha!  Catch-22 situation.  

Jim Bell