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Criminal Resource Manual

2167. Jury Instruction -- Conspiracy -- 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)

The defendant is charged in Count(s) __, with ________________, in violation of _______________, and in Count ___ with Conspiracy to Launder Money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).

A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to join together to attempt to accomplish some unlawful purpose. It is a kind of "partnership in crime" in which each member becomes the agent of every other member. It does not matter whether or not the conspiracy was successful. The essence of the offense is that two or more persons have combined, or mutually agreed, to do something illegal.[FN1]
  1. FN1. Iannelli v. United States, 420 U.S. 770, 777 (1975).
For you to find the defendant(s) guilty of this crime, you must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the government has proved each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. FIRST: That two or more persons agreed to try to accomplish a common and unlawful plan, as charged in the indictment; and,

    SECOND: That the defendant knew the unlawful purpose of the agreement and joined in it willfully, that is, with the intent to further the unlawful purpose.

One becomes a member of a conspiracy by willfully participating in the unlawful plan with the intent to further some object of the conspiracy.[FN2] One may become a member of a conspiracy without knowing all of the details of the unlawful plan or the identities of all of the other alleged conspirators. If the defendant, with an understanding of the unlawful character of a plan, knowingly joins in an unlawful scheme on one occasion, that is sufficient to convict him of conspiracy, even though he had not participated before and even though he played only a minor part in the conspiracy.
  1. FN2. Blumenthal v. United States, 332 U.S. 539, 557 (1947).
One who has no knowledge of the unlawful plan does not become a member of a conspiracy simply because one happens to be present at an event or transaction or because one happens to commit an act which inadvertently furthers some object of the unlawful plan or conspiracy. One does not become a member of a conspiracy through an association with members of the conspiracy or by the mere knowledge that a conspiracy exists.[FN3]
  1. FN3. United States v. Falcone, 311 U.S. 205, 210(1940).
The evidence in the case need not show that the alleged members of the conspiracy entered into any express or formal agreement, or that they directly stated between themselves the details of the scheme and its object or purpose, or the precise means by which the object or purpose was to be accomplished. Similarly, the evidence in the case need not establish that all of the means or methods which were agreed upon were actually used or put into operation. Nor must the evidence prove that all of the persons charged were members of the conspiracy.

In your consideration of the conspiracy offenses alleged in Count(s)___ of the Indictment, you should first determine, from all the evidence and testimony, whether or not a conspiracy existed at all. If you conclude that a conspiracy did exist as alleged, you should next determine whether or not each defendant knowingly or intentionally became a member of the conspiracy.