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Name: People v. Noori
Case #: B181950
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/14/2006

A party in the business of transmitting money to Iran possessed the necessary general intent to be found guilty of non-compliance with the statutory licensing requirements. California Financial Code section 1800.3, subdivision (a), makes it a crime for any person other than specified financial institutions to engage in the business of receiving money for the purposes of transmitting that money or its equivalent to foreign countries without obtaining a license from the appropriate state authority. A person who lacks such a license is guilty of a felony under section 1823 of that code if he represents that he is authorized to receive money for transmission to a foreign country. The defendants here were convicted of violating section 1823, after the trial court rejected defense arguments that the prosecution was required to prove to the jury that the defendants were aware of the licensing requirement and made their representations with the knowledge that doing so was against the law. The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that section 1823 is a general intent offense, and that due process does not require the court to read a specific intent into the statute. The court further rejected the argument that the defendants should have been permitted to introduce the testimony of one defendant’s business attorney, who would have testified that he had assured that defendant that he was in compliance with the law. This testimony would have only supported an improper mistake of law defense and was thus properly excluded.