July 30--A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss charges against a Scranton woman accused of illegally structuring bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements.
Ann Pelicci and her husband, Leroy, now deceased, were indicted on March 1. Federal prosecutors said Dr. Pelicci, owner of Pelicci Pain Relief Center, and his wife intentionally withdrew $431,500 in mostly $9,000 increments to evade laws that require banks to report any transaction of $10,000 or more to the Internal Revenue Service. Mr. Pelicci died on March 20, but the case remains against Mrs. Pelicci.
Mrs. Pelicci's attorney, Christopher Powell, argued that the statute was unconstitutional because it was too vague. He also argued that the Legislature intended the law to be utilized against people who structure transactions to conceal the source of money earned through illegal activity. Mrs. Pelicci is not charged with any underlying crime related to the source of the income.
Senior U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik on Friday denied the motion. Judge Kosik said the statute is not too vague because it requires prosecutors prove a defendant had intent, thereby putting them on notice of the alleged criminal conduct. While acknowledging the law's principal intent is to target defendants who seek to conceal other crimes, Judge Kosik said the statute law does not preclude prosecution of people who legitimately earned the money in question.
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