Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew King in June of 2016 was convicted of money laundering for a person he believed to be a ‘cocaine dealer’. Unfortunately for King the ‘cocaine dealer’ was actually a confidential informant for the Norther Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. King had approached the informant at an Ohio strip club and told the informant that he could launder money for him.
King must have watched too many ‘Breaking Bad’ episodes as he suggested to the informant that he could set up sham corporations to launder the funds as Saul Goodman (fictional attorney on Breaking Bad) had done. The other approach was funneling the funds through King’s IOLTA account (an interest-bearing trust account used by attorneys to hold client money for future use). With this approach King would bill the informant for fictitious legal services, deduct payment from the account and return whatever money was left to the informant. King and the informant agreed on the IOLTA account route.
King met with the informant several more times and took $20,000 cash from the informant with the intent to launder the money through his IOLTA account (trust account). King would then write checks back to the informant starting with a $2000 check. King’s conversations were recorded and King admitted to investigators that he had actually stolen some of the money.
The US 6th Circuit of Appeals upheld the conviction.
According to the court:
“This did not end well. A jury convicted King of two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering. King appeals his convictions on two grounds: (1) that the introduction of recorded conversations between him and the informant violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him, and (2) that the district court improperly allowed the prosecution to ask him about his prior arrest for cocaine possession. We affirm.”