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CAMING v. UNITED STATES

June 14, 1995

STANLEY CAMING, Petitioner, against UNITED STATES, Respondent.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM

 SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM, U.S.D.J.

 Petitioner Stanley Caming ("Caming") moves, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, to vacate his judgment of conviction, convicting him of violating 31 U.S.C. § 5324, on the ground that the conduct for which he was convicted is no longer unlawful pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Ratzlaf, 126 L. Ed. 2d 615, U.S. , 114 S. Ct. 655 (1994). For the reasons set forth below, Caming's motion is denied.

 BACKGROUND

 On August 27, 1990, a grand jury indicted Caming on two counts arising out of an alleged money laundering scheme. Count One of the Indictment charged Caming with structuring currency transactions to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements, in violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5324(3) *fn1" and 5322(b). *fn2" Count Two charged Caming with causing or attempting to cause financial institutions to fail to file currency transaction reports, in violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5324(1) and 5322(b). *fn3"

 In July 1991, Caming proceeded to trial. At trial, the Government presented evidence that Caming had created fictitious bank accounts and social security numbers, and used a post office box in furtherance of a scheme to launder approximately $ 700,000 over a sixteen-month period between 1988 and 1990. The proof at trial established that Caming had made nearly 100 deposits of cash or money orders into bank accounts at six different banks, and that each of the deposits was for an amount under $ 10,000. Testimony and documentary evidence established that the vast majority of the deposits were for amounts between $ 9,000 and $ 10,000.

 The Government's witnesses included several bank employees who had dealt with Caming during the relevant time period. For example, Marcia Harding ("Harding") and Florence Melesky ("Melesky"), tellers at the Bank of New York (the "Bank"), testified that Caming had made numerous cash deposits in amounts over $ 9,000 into accounts under various names. Tr. at 148-49, 161-62. Bank operations manager Courtland Carter ("Carter") specifically recalled one instance in which Caming attempted to make two separate $ 9,000 deposits because he informed Caming at that time that a transaction report would have to be filed for the total deposit of $ 18,000. Id. at 65-66.

 Carter also testified that he personally had posted three signs (the "Signs") inside the Bank, which read as follows:

 
NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS
 
THE BANK OF NEW YORK is required by the BANK SECRECY ACT to report to the Department of the Treasury: deposits, withdrawals, exchanges of currency, or other payment or transfer, by, through, or to the bank involving more than $ 10,000 in currency.
 
It is illegal for any person: To cause or attempt to cause the bank to fail to file a report required under the BANK SECRECY ACT.
 
To cause or attempt to cause the bank to fail to file a report required under the BANK SECRECY ACT that contains a material omission or misstatement of fact. To structure, attempt to structure or assist in structuring transactions in currency for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements under the BANK SECRECY ACT.
 
SUCH ACTIONS MAY BE REPORTED TO APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES.

 Id. at 66-69; Gov't Trial Exh. "49." Carter stated that two of the Signs were placed "in the tellers' area, one at each end of the tellers' cage . . . , facing the customer as the customer would stand in line looking at the tellers." Tr. at 67-68. Bank manager Janice Mattei Fischetti ("Fischetti") confirmed Carter's testimony, stating that she had viewed the Signs in the teller windows on a regular basis. Id. at 244. Fischetti testified that she specifically remembered the Signs because she had been ...


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