The Different Levels of Money Laundering

Money laundering is happening all around us. Whether you were intentionally involved with it or accidentally brought along, it’s a serious crime under federal law. Authorities will charge money laundering along with a number of things, such as a drug crime, theft, fraud, or embezzlement. You can serve up to 20 years in prison, and the fees are steep. Expect fines up to $500,000 or double the amount of money that was laundered, whichever is greater. Federal money laundering laws can be incredibly complicated. Let Davis, Ermis, & Roberts, P.C. help you combat these charges.

What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the process of turning money that was earned through illegal activity (dirty money) and making it appear legit (clean). This crime occurs whenever illegal money is deposited into a bank or other financial institution. It also occurs whenever you spend that illegal money in ways to conceal or promote the illegal activity. There are three stages to money laundering. 

Stage 1: Placement

Money launderers “place” illegally earned money into the legal, financial systems. They move the money away from its source. Launderers “wash” the money to disassociated from where it came from. Now, it’s disguised within the financial systems.

This stage is where money launderers are most vulnerable to getting caught. That’s because placing large numbers of money into the legitimate financial system can raise suspicions of officials.

Stage 2: Layering

This stage is a complex web of transactions to move money into the financial system. Once the funds have been placed into the system, money launderers make it difficult for authorities to detect the laundering. These launderers obscure the audit trail through strategic layering of transactions and bookkeeping. This stage conceals the original source.

Stage 3: Integration

In this stage, the dirty money is now absorbed into the economy, for example in real estate. Once the money is placed and layered, the funds will be integrated back into the financial system as “legal” tender. This stage creates a plausible explanation for where the money came from. Now, a legitimate source is established, and the money is reunited with the money launderers. It’s quite difficult to distinguish between illegal and legal wealth at this stage. However, no matter how far along you were in the stages or how big of a role you played, authorities can eventually track you down.

Davis, Ermis, & Roberts, P.C.

So, whether you’ve been a part of the money laundering business, or got tricked into it, our team of professionals can build your defense case. It’s important to seek legal advice from one of our fraud lawyers as soon as possible to avoid facing penalties or charges. If you have been convicted already, we will work out a strategy to minimize your punishments. Davis, Ermis, & Roberts, P.C. believes that everyone deserves high-quality, experienced legal representation. Contact us today, to schedule your initial consultation, and let us help you get your life back on track.