In a major win for the criminal defense bar, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the stiff sentences for money laundering should be imposed only in cases of “large scale drug money laundering or serious crime,” but not in run-of-the-mill fraud cases.

The ruling in United States v. J. David Smith and Steven Dandrea promises to radically change the way white-collar crime is litigated in many cases by depriving prosecutors of one of the most formidable weapons in their arsenal.

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