The Willful Standard in Bank Criminal Statutes: Ratzlaf Revisited

Victor Williams, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law


The author discusses the Bank Secrecy Act's currency reporting requirements and its structuring provisions, the Supreme Court's opinion in Ratzlaf v. United States, and the Congressional response to that decision- which was to delete the term "willful" from the currency structuring law. In spite of Congress' reaction to Ratzlaf, the author argues that Ratzlaf's heightened scienter requirement for proving other "willful " violations remains and may well be applied to a variety of other financial, white collar criminal, and regulatory offenses.