In United States v. Bird, No. 22-10947 (Aug. 17, 2023) (Wilson, Newsom, Lagoa), the Court affirmed Mr. Bird’s convictions for structuring.
Mr. Bird was convicted of illegally structuring two separate land-sale contract payments of around $270,000 each. On appeal, he challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions as well as a jury instruction.
The Court found the evidence more than sufficient to support Mr. Bird’s structuring convictions. He made 22 cash deposits below $10,000 over seven days to satisfy the first payment, and then made 38 cash deposits under $10,000 over the course of seven and a half months to satisfy the second payment. The Court held that a jury could certainly look at this flurry of deposit activity and reasonably infer that Mr. Bird made these staccato payments for the purpose of evading reporting requirements.
With regard to the Mr. Bird’s challenge to the jury instructions, the Court found that he invited any error. He proposed the jury instructions jointly with the government, and the court used them. Thus, even if the instructions were plainly erroneous, the Court declined to review his challenge.