Texas Lawyer Indicted by Florida Federal Court
A Texas attorney along with another codefendant were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service on an indictment issued by a Florida federal court. The indictment alleges that the pair conspired with other individuals to commit wire fraud and money laundering, amongst other alleged criminal acts. In connection with the allegations of money laundering, the indictment alleges that the pair conspired with others to transmit money outside the United States with the intention to disguise the fraudulently-obtained funds. In addition to prison and/or fines, the Department of Justice is also seeking an order forfeiting nearly $9 million in funds alleged to have been used in connection with the pair’s activities.
What is Money Laundering?
The term “money laundering” is often heard in news stories and entertainment programs, but what exactly is money laundering? Simply put, money laundering is activity that is designed to obscure the source of illegally-obtained funds to make the funds appear as if they have come from a legitimate source. Under the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, money laundering is defined as engaging in a financial transaction with funds generated from certain “specified unlawful activities.”
Money laundering typically involves three steps: first, the illicitly-obtained funds are introduced into the financial system. Next, the funds are transferred from one account to another or one destination to another in an attempt to cause confusion as to where the funds originated. Parties may withdraw and redeposit the differing amounts of the funds or use parts of the funds for different transactions in order to further confuse government authorities. The final step is completed when the illicitly-obtained funds have been moved around so much that they appear “clean” and it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine where the illegally-obtained funds are located.
Money Laundering Focuses on the Source of the Funds
Some individuals confuse money laundering with other related crimes such as financing terrorism. While the latter type of crime is focused on where the funds end up – i.e., the ultimate destination of the funds – money laundering focuses on the source of the funds. It does not matter if the end user of the illegally-obtained funds was intending to use the funds for a legitimate or illegitimate purpose: the fact that the money came from some specified unlawful activity and the person engaged in some financial transaction to conceal the source, ownership, or control of the funds.
It is not a defense to money laundering to claim that a small amount of money was involved as a money laundering conviction can result from even a small transaction. Likewise, it is not required that the prosecution show the money laundering scheme actually worked.
Contact a White-Collar Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
If you find yourself charged with money laundering (either domestic or international), contact the law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. for assistance immediately. A solid defense will depend on a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of the monetary transactions at issue and an effective presentation of those facts. Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner in South Florida at (305) 670-9919 to discuss your federal criminal charges today.