Understanding Money Laundering Charges

If you’ve ever watched a crime show on TV or a movie about organized crime, then you’ve probably at least heard of the term “money laundering.” For the unfamiliar, the term may elicit thoughts of bringing one’s cash to a laundromat to have it cleaned. Though this may sound comical, it is not all that far from the truth if you don’t think about it in the literal sense.
Money laundering is a criminal enterprise whereby someone takes assets that were obtained through illicit methods, and disguises this “dirty” money by sending it through a legitimate financial system in order to make it seem “clean.”
Doing so makes the illegally obtained funds harder to track, and thus makes it much more difficult to prove that a crime was committed and by whom. Think of it as a method used by criminals to cover their financial tracks and protect themselves from prosecution.  
The legitimate financial system through which the illicit assets are funneled could range from a bank, to a casino, to just about any type of business that handles its customers’ money.
The US Treasury Department defines three steps to the money laundering process, including placing the money into the legitimate financial system, then moving it around within the system in a process called “layering” where the funds may pass through various accounts to cause confusion, and finally integrating the funds into the legitimate financial system through additional transactions.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that between 600 billion and 1.5 trillion dollars are laundered every year.
The penalty for money laundering in the US can vary from state to state, and based on whether the charges are federal or at the state level. However, this crime is almost always considered a felony, and it can result in a prison sentence of 35 years or more and fines of up to $500,000 or double the amount of money that was laundered (whichever is greater).
Money laundering charges are incredibly severe, and it is absolutely vital that you immediately seek out qualified legal counsel to help prevent these charges from ruining your life. False accusations of money laundering are certainly possible, and your lawyer will need to move swiftly to interview witnesses who could exonerate you or find other ways to disprove underlying aspects of the charges upon which the government’s case is predicated. If you’ve been charged with money laundering, or you’d like to learn more, please contact the law firm of Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL today.

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