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I’ve Been Accused of Money Laundering. What Happens Next?

Money laundering is a nefarious scheme, designed to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illegally obtained funds. It transforms “dirty” money into “clean” money, making it appear as if it came from legitimate sources. But make no mistake, the crime of money laundering is far from simple. According to the 2018 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, an estimated $300 billion in proceeds from domestic financial crime, excluding tax evasion, is generated for potential laundering.

Money launderers use various instruments to conceal the illicit origins of their funds, such as life insurance policies, securities, and real estate. They also often use small-to-medium-size businesses that are cash-intensive, such as restaurants, bars, beauty salons, laundromats, used-car dealerships, and casinos. These establishments may have been legitimate businesses before they were purchased for the sole purpose of laundering money, with the unsuspecting former owners and staff remaining unaware of the illegal activity.

As stated in a 2019 Bloomberg News article, “it’s difficult to tell the difference between legitimate business and illicit flows from criminal activity.” Criminals depend on this, merging their illicit funds with those of real companies before they head to the bank. The crime of money laundering is a complex, multi-faceted, and ever-evolving problem that requires constant vigilance and effort to combat.

Facing money laundering charges can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. As you navigate this legal terrain, it’s crucial to understand that powerful federal agencies, such as the FBI, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and ICE, have likely been investigating your case for some time. These agencies will be looking for evidence of the “three stages” of money laundering as they build their case against you.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Placement, the first stage, involves moving illegally-gotten gains into a legitimate economy through means such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal gambling. Layering, the second stage, is the act of obscuring the origin of these funds through multiple financial transactions and methods such as “smurfing,” breaking down large amounts of cash into small deposits. Finally, integration is the process of putting the “clean” money back into the economy, such as through real estate purchases.

It’s important to note that financial institutions are also subject to strict regulations and scrutiny under laws such as the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering regulations, as well as the USA Patriot Act. Even Bitcoin and blockchain transactions are under watch by the IRS.

As you navigate the legal system, it is crucial to work with a team of experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of money laundering cases and can help you mount the strongest defense possible. Don’t let the gravity of the situation weigh you down, take action and protect your rights.

What happens next, after being accused of money laundering

Have you ever heard of a money mule? They are individuals who illicitly transfer or move money on behalf of others, often for the purpose of money laundering. These criminal masterminds prey on unsuspecting individuals, recruiting them to help launder the proceeds of their illegal activities such as online scams, frauds, human trafficking, and drug trafficking.

Money mules add layers of distance between crime victims and criminals, making it incredibly difficult for law enforcement to trace money trails and bring these criminals to justice. They can move funds through various channels, such as bank accounts, cashier’s checks, virtual currency, prepaid debit cards, or money service businesses.

It’s crucial to understand that not all money mules are aware that they are supporting criminal enterprises. Some may believe they have a trusting or romantic relationship with the person asking for their help, while others may receive a commission for their services. However, regardless of their intent, serving as a money mule is illegal and punishable by law.

The consequences of being a money mule are severe. You could face prosecution and incarceration as part of a criminal money laundering conspiracy, with federal charges such as mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. Furthermore, serving as a money mule can damage your credit and financial standing, and you risk having your own personal information stolen and used by the criminals you are working for. You may also be held personally liable for repaying money lost by victims.

Don’t be fooled by the allure of easy money, the risks and consequences are simply not worth it. If you find yourself moving money at the direction of another person, it’s essential to question their intentions and avoid becoming a pawn in their illegal activities.

Money laundering is a sinister and elusive crime, where illicit funds are cunningly laundered through a web of financial transactions in order to conceal their illegal origin. The practice of disguising the proceeds of criminal activity as legitimate funds is not only a federal offense, but a serious threat to the integrity of our financial system. The federal government has the power to prosecute individuals for money laundering, even if they were unaware of the illegal source of the funds, under 18 U.S.C. § 1956, 1957.

The scope of “specified unlawful activity” is broad, encompassing a wide range of underlying crimes such as drug trafficking, bribery, gambling, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, and fraud, as well as violent crimes like murder, robbery, and arson. Prosecutors have a relatively low burden of proof when it comes to demonstrating that money constitutes proceeds from a specified unlawful activity, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1956(c)(9).

Unfortunately, ignorance is not always bliss when it comes to money laundering, as federal law permits the government to prosecute individuals who exhibit “willful blindness” to the source of the funds. This often-disputed issue can arise in many money laundering cases and can lead to severe penalties, including substantial prison sentences and hefty fines, as well as asset forfeiture, where the government can seize real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and other assets belonging to the accused.

If you or someone you know has been accused of money laundering, it is crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights. The first step is to retain an experienced attorney who can provide expert legal guidance and help prepare a defense. It is also essential to keep the lines of communication open with your attorney and to refrain from discussing the case with anyone else, as the attorney-client privilege protects the privacy of communications between you and your legal counsel.

In addition, it is important to be proactive in your defense by providing your attorney with access to documents and information concerning your business activities. Having access to relevant financial records can be extremely valuable in an accounting of the allegedly illegal financial transactions. Remember, being accused of money laundering is a serious matter, and taking the necessary steps to protect yourself can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

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