Expert Article Library

Money Laundering Explained by Expert Federal Agent

Case Name: United States v. Nektalov (Click here for the full text of the case)

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Date: August 25, 2006

Expert: Criminal Expert. Miguel Herrera, Federal Agent

Issues: Can an expert witness be used to explain the process of money laundering to make a conviction

Summary of case: Nektalov was a jeweler. Herrera, an undercover agent, arranged with Nektalov to exchange money for diamonds. Herrera made comments to Nektalov that the diamonds were a way to convert small-denomination bills into something else. A jury convicted Nektalov for money laundering.

Role of the expert: The government’s expert was used to explain the concept of money laundering and how it was used by criminals.

Challenges to the Expert's testimony: The defendant objected that he was aware that the diamonds were being used to launder money. The defendant claimed that he had a limited comprehension of English and did not know that the agent was alluding to money laundering before the transaction was completed. Defendant argued that because he didn’t know that the agent intended to launder money, the expert’s explanation of how money laundering works was improper. The court found that the testimony was valid to explain money laundering to jurors because the concept was not one that the average juror would have experience in.

Summary prepared by Christopher P, Stafford, Student, Golden Gate University, School of Law