The "Travel Act" is a federal law that makes it a crime to travel between states or international boundaries or use "interstate facilities" with the intent to conduct illegal business activities there. Specifically, the Act proscribes three areas of illegal activity: (1) gambling, liquor sales on which the excise tax has not been paid, narcotics, controlled substances, and prostitution; (2) bribery, extortion, arson; and (3) illegal monetary transactions. Further, the Act may be triggered when a person travels across states lines and violates another state's law, even though there is no corresponding federal law proscribing the person's conduct.
The Travel Act is sort of a misnomer. Often times, a person may trigger the Travel Act by simply using intestate facilities, such as the telephone, email, fax, and mail. That means a person may violate the Act without physically crossing interstate or international boundaries. For online sellers of goods or services, the Travel Act could be a serious concern.
A closely related statute, the Hobbs Act, is even broader as it is triggered when a person's conduct obstructs or causes effects on interstate commerce. The Hobbs Act is sometimes used by federal prosecutors to pursue public corruption cases.
How the Travel Act or Hobbs Act relates to a business enterprise can only resolved by a legal expert's close look at the specific facts on the ground.
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