Bittner v. United States

Case Movement

Case Details

  • Case Status: Decided
  • Docket Number: 21-1195
  • Category: Workforce and Benefits


Whether a “violation” under the Bank Secrecy Act is the failure to file an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (no matter the number of foreign accounts), or whether there is a separate violation for each individual account that was not properly reported.

August 23, 2022

The Restaurant Law Center and co-amici filed a brief, arguing that courts should not determine the “unit of violation” by relying on the wording of an implementing regulation and should, instead, rely solely on the language of the statute. The term “unit of violation” is used by courts to describe how one counts the number of violations for which a defendant may be penalized. Here, the issue is form versus account. We highlight how OSHA has already artificially manipulated the wording of its own regulations expressly to increase the number of penalties. Courts should hold that the issue turns on the wording of the statute that makes the act illegal.

February 28, 2023

A majority of the justices (5-4) agreed with our conclusion and found in favor of the Defendant. The majority held that the Bank Secrecy Act’s maximum penalty for failure to file a report accrues on a per-report, not a per-account basis.