What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering, generally, is the practice of using a business to conceal cash or other assets that are products of criminal activity. As an example, a business would be established so that it appears legitimate. However, the cash deposits from this business would not come from business sales, but rather money generated through illegal activity such as sales of illegal drugs.
The term “money laundering” is generally understood to mean washing dirty money to make it seem clean.
It is a federal offense to engage in money laundering and the penalties can include a substantial prison sentence. The laws that make money laundering a criminal offense are found at Title 18 United States Code sections 1956 and 1957.
What are the consequences of a Money Laundering conviction?
The potential punishments for money laundering are severe, and may include a prison sentence of up to 20 years, fines of up to $500,000, and a civil penalty lawsuit filed by the government for the value of funds or property involved in money laundering.
What are some defenses to a Money Laundering charge?
Common defenses for a charge of money laundering include the absence of intent to commit a crime, duress (being forced to commit the crime), or insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Money laundering is a crime of specific intent. Professionals dealing with money (such as accountants or bankers) may be charged with money laundering without even knowing they committed a crime. If the defendant can prove he or she was unaware that the money in question was illegally obtained, then it may not be possible to prove the intent to commit money laundering.
Criminals often force accountants or bankers to launder illegally obtained money by threatening to harm them or their loved ones. In this situation, duress may be a suitable defense, as there is the threat of danger or harm if they do not participate in the crime.
A criminal charge can be dismissed if there is insufficient evidence to prosecute. In money laundering, a conviction requires proof that there was an intention to prevent illegally obtained funds from being traced to the point of origin. It also requires proof that the money laundering came from a specific illegal activity. If either of these points is not provable, then there is a possibility that insufficient evidence is a suitable defense.
Contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles
If you are accused of money laundering, you should contact Ken Behzadi immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the legal system process.