June 3, 2009
Overbey bill cracks down on those convicted of money
(NASHVILLE, TN), June 3, 2009 — The Tennessee State Senate has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) that allows a court to take the ill-gotten gains of criminals who are convicted under Tennessee’s money laundering law. The bill, SB 784, defines the term “proceeds” of the criminal activity as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision U.S. v. Santos.
“Currently, our state law does not provide for a definition in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Santos decision that would allow for law enforcement to go after the gross proceeds of ill-gotten gains of criminals who are convicted of laundering money,” said Senator Overbey. “This bill cures that problem by defining the term “proceeds” and gross proceeds” used under the law, so that criminals cannot keep assets gained by their illegal activities and can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The legislation defines “proceeds” to include “gross proceeds” to make it a crime to engage in a financial transaction of certain specified unlawful activities with the intent to promote those activities or to conceal the proceeds. The proceeds include any real, personal or intangible property of any kind connected to the illegal activity.
The Santos case involved the conviction in Indiana federal court of running an illegal gambling business and money laundering. Because Santos’s conviction was based on evidence that he used gross receipts, not profits, to promote his gambling ring, the District Court overturned his money laundering conviction, which was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruling meant that to prove money laundering, the government is required to show that profits from the underlying illegal activity were used to further promote or conceal that activity.
“We cannot allow criminals to run a money laundering operation, shelter their profits, and get away with their crime,” said Senator Overbey. “This bill cures a defect in Tennessee law and gives it the teeth it needs to crack down on these criminals. .