United States v. Hatum, No. 18-11951 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
If a defendant is convicted of a money laundering scheme that caused no financial harm to an innocently involved bank, an order of forfeiture is still mandatory.
The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the government's forfeiture motion. The court held that the definition of property in 18 U.S.C. 982(a)(1) is distinct from that in the other subsections of section 982(a), as well as 21 U.S.C. 853(a). The court's ruling allows forfeiture in the amount of property that defendant transferred as a part of his laundering scheme. The court explained that this outcome is what Congress intended when it used the broad term "any property, real or personal, involved in such offense" and instituted a scheme of substitute forfeiture. Therefore, the district court was under an obligation to order forfeiture against defendant.