Federal Money Laundering Defense Lawyer
Money laundering is a serious federal crime that often involves organized crime. If you have been indicted for money laundering, you are facing severe penalties including up to 20 years in a federal prison, huge fines, and seizure or forfeiture of your assets.
If you are under investigation or asked to answer questions for an illegal money laundering scheme, you will need an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who knows the federal anti-money laundering laws and how apply to your case.
Money laundering statutes make it a crime to transfer money that came from criminal activity into legitimate channels, in an attempt to disguise the origin of the funds. 18 U.S.C. § 1956 penalizes anyone who knows property involved in a financial transaction came from proceeds of unlawful activity or conducts a financial transaction involving money from unlawful activity. If convicted of money laundering you may be facing fines of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, and/or imprisonment for up to twenty years.
Money laundering is a specialized area of the law and defending clients against this type of crime means you will need a defense lawyer who has experience handling federal criminal cases. The federal criminal defense law firm at Eisner Gorin LLP has represented defendants who have been charged with all types of of money laundering schemes and other white collar crimes in California and in federal criminal courts throughout the United States.
Description of Money Laundering
Money laundering is essentially an act of disguising the source, amount of money, or the destination of the money obtained by illegal means. This is normally accomplished by using several bank transfers or transactions with legitimate businesses. The money is often obtained through fraud, embezzlement, or drug trafficking.
The main purpose of money laundering is to make the money appear “clean,” and that it was earned through legitimate sources – to avoid a potential criminal investigation or to be prosecuted for the underlying crime. Additionally, money laundering is used in an effort to make it difficult for federal law enforcement agencies to discover the real source of the of the income.
There are different stages that people will use to conceal their unlawful money. First is the placement of the money, where the unlawful funds are discretely placed into a legitimate financial institution. Next, is the layering of the money, which is complex financial transactions that move the unlawful money around to disguise the source in an effort to make it hard to trace the source – such as making money transfers through offshore bank accounts. Finally, there is the integration of the money, which is withdrawing the laundered money from what now seems like a legal legitimate account.
Money Laundering Statutes
After the passage of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, money laundering is a federal crime that can be punished with a substantial prison sentence. This federal statute contains 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 18 U.S.C. § 1957 Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1956, any person or business executive can commit money laundering if they intentionally and knowingly promote carrying on illegal activity – avoid paying taxes or transaction reporting requirements – or they conceal the nature, ownership, location, source – or commit a variety of different acts, including conducting, or attempting to conduct as a financial transaction involving money when they know it was earned from unlawful activity; Transport, transfer or transmit, (or attempts) any funds to or from foreign country; or conducts (or attempts) a financial transaction involving money represented to be proceeds of unlawful activity or property used to conduct unlawful activity.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1957, any person or business executive can commit money laundering when they knowingly engages or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000.
Money Laundering Connection to Other Crimes
It should be noted that while money laundering can be charged by itself, it's often closely connected to other federal crimes.
It's not uncommon for people to find themselves under a federal criminal investigation for money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud, securities fraud, credit card fraud, bank fraud, drug trafficking, cryptocurrency crimes, counterfeit goods, or other fraud crimes.
Evade reporting requirements are defined under 31 U.S.C. 5324. 18 U.S.C. 1960 defines the prohibition of unlicensed money-transmitting businesses. Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity are defined under 18 U.S.C. 1959.
Additionally, money laundering criminal charges are often associated with other type of federal crimes that involve organized criminal activity.
This type of crime is usually a complex and time-consuming federal offense that involves taking money which was illegally obtained and to make it appear that the source was legitimate. It can be achieved through a number of complicated financial transactions and transfers.
As stated above, it's important to note money laundering normally involves several steps to complete – money is placed into a financial institution – a series of complex financial transactions to conceal a paper trail – then the “clean” money is placed back into society by concealing the money in a legal financial transaction.
This is considered a federal fraud crime that is punishable by time in prison and large fines. If you have been arrested for this type of crime, you will need a skilled attorney to have any chance of avoiding a conviction.
Fighting Money Laundering Charges
In order to beat a money laundering case, our federal defense lawyers will challenge the federal prosecutor's evidence and provide a different story to create reasonable doubt. Money laundering is a “specific intent” crime, meaning you had to have had a desire to commit the act with intent to achieve a specific result to be found guilty. Our are several potential defense strategies we could use to secure an acquittal at trial or that could result is lesser criminal charges:
- You didn't know the money was obtained from unlawful activity, known as a “lack of intent” defense
- The money wasn't obtained from unlawful activity
- You didn't engage in any unlawful conduct
- You were coerced or under duress to participate in a money laundering scheme
- The federal prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt
It's important to not that every federal money laundering case is unique and will require a thorough review of all the details in order to develop a strategy best suited for your case. Forfeitures and seizures of money and property are typically directly connected to federal criminal investigation into organized crime, such as money laundering and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Contact a defense attorney at Eisner Gorin LLP today, if you or a member of your family are facing allegations of money laundering. Federal charges usually means the involvement by large federal agencies that have virtually unlimited resources to pursue a conviction.
It also means they will conduct a lengthy investigation where they will have a chance to find extensive evidence against you. By working with our law firm immediately, your chances for a positive outcome to your case are greatly increased. Call our law firm at 877-781-1570 for your face-to-face consultation.