Money laundering is a serious offense that may be prosecuted at the state or federal level. Often, the amount of money in question and related criminal activities will play a role in determining what level of charges are filed. Money laundering laws specifically illegalize activities that move money generated from criminal activities through a legitimate channel with the goal of concealing its source from authorities. Criminal activities that are often associated with money laundering range from organized crime and drug crimes to white-collar crimes and even terrorist activities. Because of the wide range of criminal activities associated with money laundering, numerous law enforcement agencies may be responsible for investigating the crimes and bringing up charges.
Penalties for a Federal Money Laundering Conviction
Regardless of the nature of the money laundering charges that you face, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Often, money laundering charges are brought in combination with charges for the related activities that the money was generated from. The specific penalties for a money laundering conviction may range from a year to more than 35 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or more. Keep in mind that a convicted individual may also face additional penalties related to other charges. Your federal money laundering defense lawyer should be involved in your case as soon as possible. In some cases, a subject may not be aware of the investigation. However, if you are aware of the investigation, this is the time to consult with an attorney.
Anti-Money Laundering Laws
Money laundering was officially defined as a crime more than 50 years through the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act. Under this law, banks are required to report large transactions to the authorities. Initially, this was established at $5,000 or more, but it has been raised to $10,000 or more. This law was followed by the Money Laundering Control Act in 1986 and the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1992. These defined the nature of a financial transaction to be any activity where money moves from one entity to another. This includes person-to-person transactions.
Under the USA Patriot Act, the International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001 requires financial institutions to verify the identity of individuals and entities when they open a new account. More than that, they must verify that these individuals are not on a list of suspected or known terrorists. Various other federal laws have been passed as well, and the laws impact money laundering activities in other notable ways. A money laundering defense attorney is a seasoned professional who has knowledge of all relevant laws and effective defense strategies.
Effective Money Laundering Defense Strategy
You may feel as though the prosecutor’s case against you is too solid to create an effective defense in your favor. However, there are a variety of strategies that defense attorneys have successfully used in similar cases. For example, in order for a crime to be classified as money laundering, the accused must take specific steps to conceal the money rather than simply to spend it. If the money is spent, the threshold for money laundering is not met. The method of concealment must also be taken into account. Money is not considered to be laundered if it was physically hidden from view. Instead, laundered money is related to the concealment of that money’s source, ownership and more. Effective defense strategies may use these requirements as a defense so that the prosecutor must prove that the money has actually been laundered by definition.
Likewise, the money that is derived from illegal activities cannot be paid to others without first being concealed in some way. If it is simply paid out, it is not considered to be laundered. In addition, the money must be from an illegal activity. For example, if you make money legitimately and try to hide that income from the IRS, money laundering has not occurred. These may also be used as the basis for a defense strategy.
Request a Consultation Today
Have you recently been arrested on money laundering charges, or are you being investigated for these charges currently? Your criminal defense attorney should be involved in your case as early in the process as possible. To discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, request a consultation today.
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