William Marcus Wilkerson
Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson

don't give up your rights without a fight.
choose marcus wilkerson

Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson
Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson

Currency Structuring: What it is and Why Not to Do it

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Arranging a monetary transaction with a financial institution in such a way that you work around the compulsory reporting is prohibited by Texas law. These laws are written in a highly specific way to close off any potential loopholes — and to eliminate the temptation anyone might have to exploit them.

When does it count as currency structuring?

It doesn’t matter if the money was acquired legally or not. Either way, it’s still structuring. Currency structuring transactions are all felonies.

In basic terms, cash or currency structuring is when someone breaks up one major transaction into several comparatively minor transactions. This is done as an illegal way of skirting regulations and avoiding law enforcement’s attention. Industry insiders may refer to this illicit business practice as “smurfing”.

A prime example of structuring is breaking up a transaction of $10,000 or more into smaller transactions. By doing this, the reporting requirements can be illegally avoided.

What happens when you’re caught smurfing?

Currency structuring may lead to the financial institution filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), so you’d be putting yourself at risk by circumventing the reporting requirements. The resultant investigation may involve anything else that relates to the suspicious pattern seen in your transaction activity. It’s not something you want to have to endure, nor is it anything you want on your record.

Structuring is distinct from other types of suspicious transaction-reporting requirements, plus currency structuring is a felony. But when someone reports a structure attempt, it still falls under the classification of “suspicious transaction” when filing an SAR.

Currency structuring is something that can be done by one individual, a group of people in conjunction with one another or on behalf of someone else. It can be done in any amount, at any number of financial institutions, on any number of days and in any manner.