What Types of Offenses Qualify as Money Laundering?
Money laundering involves taking the funds gained from a criminal enterprise and making them seem as though they originated from a legitimate source. Money laundering-related offenses are considered extremely serious and are punishable by jail time and expensive fines, so it is important for those who have been accused of this crime, to have a thorough understanding of what their charges entail. Please contact an experienced white collar crime lawyer to learn more.
Elements of Money Laundering
The first step in any money laundering enterprise is to take profits from a serious criminal activity and then deposit them into a legitimate bank account. Once this has been established, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant then moved the funds around in an effort to create confusion. In some cases, this takes the form of wiring or transferring money through multiple accounts, under different names, or different locations. In other situations, the form of the funds is changed by making large purchases, such as real estate, vehicles, or jewelry. Proof of these complex transactions, frequent transfers, and multiple accounts must be provided by prosecutors in order to obtain a conviction for money laundering.
The last element of money laundering that must be fulfilled to support a conviction is integrating the ill-gotten funds with legitimate funds. In some cases, this takes the form of developing a legitimate, cash-only business that allows a party to slightly inflate his or her daily income and so hide the profits being made by a criminal organization. Defendants who are charged with money laundering are also often accused of disguising illegally obtained funds by making a bank transfer from a local business, ostensibly in the name of investing. Proof that a defendant sold large assets or purchased something from a company that it owned at inflated prices, in order to integrate funds into legal currency, can also be used to convict someone of money laundering.
Federal and State Money Laundering Charges
Money laundering is unlawful under both federal and Florida law. However, most money laundering cases are tried in federal court, as they usually involve allegations that a defendant undermined a U.S. financial system. These types of cases are thoroughly investigated by a number of different federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS, DEA, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It is also not uncommon for those who have been charged with money laundering to face additional charges of drug trafficking, securities fraud, tax evasion, or mortgage fraud.
Defendants who are charged under federal law face serious penalties. This is true even in cases where few funds are involved, as there is no minimum threshold of funds that must be met before charges can be filed. However, the penalties that a defendant faces will depend partially on the amount of money in question, the defendant’s level of knowledge, and the degree of sophistication involved in the scheme. Fines can reach as high as $500,000, or double the amount of money that was laundered, whichever is greater. Additionally, a defendant could also face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and civil asset forfeiture of the funds or personal possessions that were allegedly involved in the money laundering scheme.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
If you have been charged with money laundering, please contact dedicated Miami white collar crime lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at 305-670-9919. Understanding your charges and obtaining a qualified defense team could prove critical to protecting your future.