If you are facing federal criminal charges for money laundering, Bristol C. Myers is the experienced federal criminal defense attorney you can trust to thoroughly investigate your case and provide an innovative and relentless defense. Call now 512-478-2100 or connect online.
Money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained proceeds (“dirty money”) appear legal (“clean”). The laundering process involves placing the dirty funds into a legitimate business, often followed by a series of transactions designed to obscure the original source of the funds, ending with integration into non-cash instruments commonly accepted in legitimate financial transactions.
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956 and 1957, prohibit money laundering. Section 1956 focuses on transactions that promote illegal activity or that are designed to conceal criminal activity, and Section 1957 prohibits financial transactions in dirty money exceeding $10,000.00.
Defenses to Money Laundering
One area the criminal defense lawyer can attack is the defendant’s knowledge of whether the funds involved were proceeds of criminal activity. In many federal circuits, it is enough that the defendant was “willfully blind” to the true nature of the funds. This fact-specific inquiry also spills over into whether the defendant had the specific criminal intent to conceal the funds or avoid reporting requirements.
Also, while tracing is not required when dirty and clean money is co-mingled, if the defense attorney can show that the specific funds at issue have a legitimate source or were not derived from the types of unlawful activity specified in the statute, it may bolster the case for the defense.
Charging a defendant with Money Laundering often results in sentences longer than those imposed in most other white-collar crimes. The punishment is often determined by reference to the underlying criminal offense that generated the funds, with upward adjustments for sophisticated laundering schemes and use of offshore accounts. Large fines (up to twice the value of the funds laundered) and property forfeiture are significant considerations.