WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court agreed Monday to review a case that would undercut the federal money laundering law used to prosecute thousands of defendants every year.
The Justice Department asked the court to overturn an appeals court ruling that increases the burden of proof for convictions in such cases by requiring prosecutors to demonstrate the profitability of illegal activity.
The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ``removes a large class of routinely prosecuted money laundering cases from the reach of the statute,'' the department's solicitor general said in a brief asking the justices to take the case.
How, the government asked, is it supposed to find hard evidence of profits when ``criminals rarely keep accounting records, much less accurate ones.''
Efrain Santos and Benedicto Diaz successfully challenged their money laundering convictions involving a gambling ring, arguing that the money Santos used to pay couriers in the gambling operation were gross proceeds rather than profits.
The case is U.S. v. Santos and Diaz, 06-1005.