Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, May 14, 2021


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Delivering Money to Gambler’s Bookie Is Money-Laundering, Ninth Circuit Says


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A man who acted as a go-between, taking money from a gambler to deliver to his bookie, was properly convicted of money-laundering, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday.

The opinion, by Circuit Judge Daniel P. Collins, affirms the denial of a motion by Gregory Silveira to vacate his conviction and sentence of one year and a day based on his assertion that he pled guilty based on ineffective assistance of counsel, saying his lawyer never discussed with him the meaning of the word “proceeds,” which appears in the money laundering statute, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1955(a). The motion was denied by Chief Judge Virginia A. Philips of the Central District of California.

The funds he carried, Silveira argued, were not “proceeds” of gambling. Rather, he said, they were funds being proffered in satisfaction of a debt.

Collins rejected the distinction. He said that Silveira, “by knowingly receiving these funds as a ‘conduit’ from the gambler for forwarding to the bookmaking operation,” he became a party to an unlawful gambling transaction.

The defendant also argued that the statute exempts from its reach a “bettor,” and, as the agent of a bettor, he, too is exempted. Collins responded:

“We disagree. Where, as here, a person knowingly acts as a financial intermediary between the gambler and the bookmaker, he or she is not a mere bettor.”

Such a person, he said, “plays an integral part” in the illegal gambling transaction and comes under the statute.

“Accordingly, even if Silveira’s lawyer conducted an inadequate legal analysis and failed to properly explain “proceeds” to Silveira, there is no prejudice… because Silveira has not shown that the lawyer thereby overlooked a viable defense to the charges.”

The case is United States v. Silveira, 18-56509.


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