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Name: People v. Mays
Case #: D046696
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/28/2007

(1) Sufficient evidence of money laundering exists where a defendant conducts a transaction involving a monetary instrument which exceeds $5000. which is derived from criminal activity. Appellant ran an escort service which provided sexual services. He was convicted of pimping and money laundering. He contended on appeal that his money laundering convictions in violation of Penal Code section 186.10, subdivision (a) had to be reversed because there was insufficient evidence to show that each count involved at least a $5000. transactional amount derived from or intended to promote criminal activity. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The statute punishes transactions conducted within a seven day period which involve a monetary instrument over $5000 with the knowledge that the monetary instrument is derived from the proceeds of a criminal activity. Therefore the monetary instrument must be composed of at least $5000 of proceeds of criminal activity. It is not sufficient to show that the transaction was of more than $5000. and from an account with co-mingled funds. There must be at least $5000. which is related, directly or indirectly, to criminal activity. Here, the prosecutor produced substantial evidence to support a finding that the minimum transactional amount of $5000. was met. The statute does not require that all funds directly result from criminal activity; a conviction is proper when a person conducts a transaction through a financial institution knowing that the monetary instrument represents the proceeds of or is derived directly or indirectly from the proceeds of criminal activity. (2) The money laundering statute is not void for vagueness. Appellant also contended that Penal Code section 186.10, subdivision (a) is unconstitutionally vague because it fails to specify what proportion of the $5000 must be “laundered” or what proportion must represent proceeds of criminal activity. The appellate court rejected that argument for the reasons explained above.