If you or someone you know has been charged with or are the target of an investigation regarding money laundering under federal law, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is a necessity and not a luxury.  Federal money laundering charges are serious legal matters that can have severe consequences for individuals and businesses, including incarceration and hefty fines. In short, being convicted of such a crime has serious long-lasting consequences.

To be sure, money laundering is a crime that can be charged at the state level.  However, this blog addresses money laundering charged under federal law.

So, what exactly is money laundering under federal law?

What is Money Laundering Under Federal Law?

What is Money Laundering Under Federal Law Find Out What You Need to Know (1)You may have heard the term before, but what exactly is money laundering? Money laundering is a federal crime defined under 18 U.S.C. § 1956. There are several ways money laundering can occur. However, they all involve the process of knowingly concealing the origins of illicitly obtained funds for the purpose of making the funds appear to have come from legitimate means. Thus, money laundering occurs in conjunction with other criminal activity (e.g., illegal drug sales, human trafficking, counterfeiting rings…etc.) and requires intent.

Money laundering typically occurs in three stages:

  1. Placement: The initial stage where illegal funds enter the financial system.
  2. Layering: transactions with varying degrees of complexity designed to obscure the source of the money.
  3. Integration: The final stage where “cleaned” funds re-enter the legitimate economy.

There are various types of financial products and entities that have been used to commit money laundering. Historically, such financial products and business entities have included brokerage accounts, insurance products, and various types of businesses that typically engage in cash transactions. More recently, the rise of cryptocurrencies has created another medium for money laundering.  As a result, transactions involving these types of products and business are heavily scrutinized by various governmental agencies.

Penalties for Money Laundering

The penalties for a conviction of money laundering are significant. Indeed, the maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $500,000.00, or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds.

Moreover, the person will be subject to a civil penalty of not more than the greater of 1) the value of the property, funds or monetary instrument, or 2) $10,000.00.

The extent of the ultimate penalties imposed is determined by the federal sentencing guidelines, which takes into consideration several factors. Such factors include but are not limited to:

  • The person’s criminal history (i.e., criminal record);
  • The amount of victim monetary loss;
  • The existence of mitigating circumstances; and
  • The existence of aggravating circumstances.

Defense Strategies

When facing money laundering charges, a robust defense strategy is crucial. Such a defense necessarily includes the following:

  • Challenging the Evidence: Scrutinizing the prosecution’s evidence. This includes examining financial records, transaction histories, and witness statements. Any inconsistencies or gaps can be used to weaken the case.
  • Proving Lack of Intent: Money laundering charges require intent. Moreover, complex financial regulations and reporting requirements can lead to inadvertent violations. Thus, it is necessary to meticulously investigate whether the accused knowingly engaged in money laundering or if their actions were inadvertent.
  • Negotiating Plea Deals: In some cases, negotiating a plea deal may be the best option. Thus, it is necessary to be able to properly assess the strength of the case to determine the most favorable outcome.

Have You Been Charged with Money Laundering?

If you or someone you know has been arrested for, or are the potential target of a money laundering investigation, call the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. at (646) 792-2156 for a free consultation. The results of all prosecutions are determined by the facts and circumstances of the specific case and the skill and experience of the defense attorney. The Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. has an extensive criminal and securities law practice.  With over 30 years of experience on Wall Street the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. understands the nuances of various types of financial transactions, products and their associated legal intricacies.