WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING?
This white-collar crime frequently occurs in the corporate world. You can be charged with this crime if you knowingly spend, keep, invest, transport, or transfer “dirty” money. Dirty money is any funds that you obtain from illegal activity. The crime is called money laundering because people must first “wash” the money before using it. This process helps conceal where they got the money. Oftentimes, perpetrators “clean” stolen money by banking overseas. Ultimately, this white-collar crime is characterized by knowingly deceiving a person or institution for monetary gain.
Texas takes money laundering seriously. If found guilty, you could find yourself incarcerated for up to 99 years. You don’t even need to know where the money came from. If you knowingly take control of money acquired illegally you can be charged with a felony.
Most people think of money laundering as skimming some cash at work and using it for yourself. Although it’s usually a lot more complex than that. Many different currencies can be involved in this white-collar crime. These currencies can include cash, securities, bonds, cryptocurrency, and more. If it holds monetary value and was taken from an unknowing and unwilling party– you will face a felony charge.
DEFENSES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING
There are two common ways to escape a money laundering charge. First, you can claim ignorance. You can’t be punished for a crime you were unaware was committed. If you could, anyone who handled the washed money could be tried and found guilty. Even the local grocery store cashier. So to be found guilty, the court must have proof that you knowingly handled stolen currency or assisted someone else in the laundering process.
You may also have charges dropped if you were assisting law enforcement with an investigation. If you can prove that you intended to recover and return illegally gained funds the court may excuse you.
MONEY LAUNDERING DEFENSE ATTORNEY
There are three stages of money laundering. If you are charged with this white-collar crime, chances are that law enforcement believes you participated in the process at some point. The three stages of money laundering that you may be accused of include:
- Theft– During this time, the currency is taken from the original owner and written off in some way. This could include saying the money was stolen, misplaced, numbers were misreported, or just taking small amounts so no one notices discrepancies in the reports.
- Laundering– This process is meant to make it difficult for law enforcement to determine that the money was stolen. This stage of money laundering protects the perpetrator from getting caught when they’re ready to spend the stolen money.
- Integrating– This is the final step in the money laundering funnel. The money has been laundered and the person who stole the money appears to be the rightful owner of the funds. This money would now seem to be coming from a legitimate business (i.e. the front) or investments. Now, the people who stole the money would be able to spend it freely.
A money laundering charge is a serious accusation. If found guilty, you could spend anywhere from 180 days to 99 years in jail. Not to mention, you’ll be saddled with hefty fines. If you stand accused of this white-collar crime, contact Davis, Ermis, and Roberts in Arlington, TX to secure an experienced legal aid team.