Money laundering occurs on a worldwide basis by all types of criminal organizations and individuals. This crime is used to cover up monies obtained illegally and make it look as if the funds were acquired through a legitimate business venture. Any number of ways can be used to commit the crime of money laundering, limited only by the resourcefulness of the launderer. The reasons for this illegal activity is to hide any way for the illegally-obtained funds to be traced and to protect them from being confiscated by government authorities. It may also be a form of tax evasion.
Money laundering is generally accomplished in three steps. First, the funds are transferred away from their source of acquisition which is the illegal activity. This generally involves breaking the funds up into smaller quantities or investments where they can be then be safely deposited or distributed. The second step involves layering the ill-gotten funds into the business or system that is being used to disguise the funds. This causes their connection and trail to their original source of criminal activity to be broken. The final step is to return or integrate the funds back to the offenders as “clean” money that appears to have been legally obtained.
Funds being laundered can be circulated into the financial system through financial institutions, through small businesses, casinos, restaurants, racehorses, charity foundations, hotels, and more. A recent example portrayed on television involved the methamphetamine-maker Walter White on “Breaking Bad” laundering his money through a family-owned car wash business.
Once the funds have been introduced into the financial system, they can be moved around electronically in any number of ways making the funds virtually untraceable. A common practice is to deposit them in off-shore accounts.
Money Laundering Laws
Both states and the federal government have enacted laws against money laundering. This crime is commonly associated with federal crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and counterfeiting. It can be charged on its own or along with charges for the above crimes or other crimes, such as bank fraud, identity theft, securities fraud, credit card fraud, RICO violations, tax evasion, and other white collar crimes.
In general, the penalties for money laundering can be severe including fines that can range up to $500,000 or be assessed on the amounts of money involved in one money laundering instance. You can also face up to 20 years in prison per each count of money laundering. Therefore, if you engaged in numerous money laundering transactions, you could face multiple counts along with multiple penalties.
Turn to Martin G. Weinberg Attorney at Law Serving Clients Nationwide
If you are facing an investigation or charges of money laundering, you will need an attorney who is not afraid to take on tough cases, especially those at the federal level. At our law firm, you can bring your case to a criminal defender with four decades of handling both state and federal crimes. Attorney Weinberg is one the nation’s leading white collar defense lawyers who has been included in The Best Lawyers by U.S. News for 33 years.
Contact us at (617) 227-3700 to arrange to speak with our attorney today.