The federal 'structuring' laws are smurfin' ridiculous

Washington Post
Mar. 25, 2014

It seems appropriate that the crime of structuring is also sometimes called smurfing. Generally speaking, structuring is the act of breaking up financial transactions to get around the federal reporting requirements that kick in for transactions over a specific amount of money. The alternate term smurfing is a reference to the childrenís cartoon in which a large entity (the Smurf Village) is made up of several smaller ones (the Smurfs themselves).

But if you grew up on the cartoon in the 1980s, or were unfortunate enough to have seen the 2011 movie, youíll also know that the word smurf itself is rather ambiguous. It can mean whatever the person using the word wants it to mean. And thatís a pretty decent metaphor for how structuring laws function in the hands of federal officials.

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