Money-laundering is a legal way of describing the act of taking the money garnered from illegal activity and making it seem as if said money came from legal activity. In more simpler terms, it’s taking money from one source and making it seem as if it came from a different source.
There are a lot of reasons why people get involved in money-laundering. First, to be able to deposit money in the bank without being charged with tax evasion. Second, to be able to deposit illegal money in the bank without having it seized by the government. In New York, as well as every other state across the country, money-laundering is a serious crime that can result in jail time, fines, and other charges. Anyone who is accused of money-laundering needs to speak to our criminal defense attorneys immediately so that we can provide them the assistance they will need in court.
When the federal government pursues people accused of money-laundering, they do so using two statutes. The first is 18 USC 1956, and the second is 18 USC 1957. Both of these laws were created to help law enforcement agents fight narco trafficking. The goal of these laws is to make it difficult for criminal organizations to spend the money they get from illegal activities. As a result of the statues, an individual can be prosecuted for participating in the drug trade, but at the same time they could be prosecuted if they were simply caught laundering money that they earned by engaging in illegal activities.
Of course, drug-related money-laundering is not the only type of money-laundering that exists. Money-laundering is commonly associated with “white-collar crimes.” More recently, money-laundering has been linked to illegal terrorism and illegal campaign financing. When a person looks at the seriousness of the crimes and circumstances surrounding money-laundering, it is clear to see why the criminal penalties for this crime are so high. It is also clear to see why it is a must to have a criminal defense attorney defend anyone charged with money-laundering.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
As with any crime, when a person is charged with money-laundering, it is the government’s responsibility to prove them guilt. In the case of statute 18 USC 1956, there are four elements that the government must prove in order to convict someone of this crime:
• They must prove that the accused individual knowingly tried to conduct a financial transaction, or successfully conducted a financial transaction.
• They must prove that the accused was aware of the fact that the property involved in the transaction was earned as the result of illegal activity.
• They must prove that the money or property used in the transaction are actually proceeds from illegal activities.
• They must prove that the accused individual’s purpose for engaging in a financial transaction was to engage in a specific illegal activity, violate laws pertaining to the IRS code, engage in activity designed to hide the ownership of proceeds that resulted from illegal activity, or the person knew that the transaction they were engaging in was designed to avoid reporting income to federal or state agencies as required by law.
For an individual to be found guilty of 18 USC 1975, the government must prove that one of the following five elements are true:
• The accused engaged or tried to engage in a monetary transaction.
• The accused knew the property came from criminal activity.
• The illegally earned property exceeds $10,000.
• The alleged criminally derived property actually came from a particular illegal activity.
• The transaction happen within the United States or the individual being accused is a US resident or citizen.
There are clear similarities between section 1956 and 1957. They involve insurance fraud, tax evasion, terrorism, racketeering, and drug crimes. Penalties for money-laundering range from four years in prison to in excess of 20 years in prison. Fines can be up to twice the amount of the money that was laundered.
If you have been accused of money-laundering, you need the help of an experienced attorney who is able to negotiate with federal prosecutors on your behalf. When it comes to dealing with the complexities of money-laundering, not any criminal defense attorney will do. You need to have one who is prepared to defend you in a federal trial. Our attorneys have years of experience battling money-laundering charges in New York, and we are eager to put our skills to work for you.