What You Should Know About the Federal Crime of Money Laundering

Chicago federal crime defense lawyerIf you have ever watched crime shows on television, you are probably familiar with the term “money laundering.” While most people know that money laundering is illegal, many are not sure about what it actually means. Money laundering is a very serious offense that is prosecutable at both the state and federal level, and as a federal offense, it carries the possibility of severe criminal penalties.

Understanding Money Laundering

Money laundering, in general, refers to a process through which a person or group of people attempts to conceal the sources, control, or ownership of money that was generated from certain crimes. It is common for money to be “laundered” by moving it to and from separate accounts, including foreign accounts, or by concealing funds amidst the revenue of seemingly legitimate businesses.

Many different types of crimes could generate funds that a person or criminal enterprise would wish to launder, including but not limited to:

Money Laundering as a Federal Offense

There are several different types of money laundering offenses that are prohibited by federal law, and they are largely similar. The most common form of money laundering is addressed in Title 18, Section 1956 of the United States Code. It occurs when a person conducts a financial transaction using the proceeds of criminal activity, with the intent to conceal the money or the money’s origin or to avoid reporting requirements. In this context, the law does not provide a clear definition of a “financial transaction,” and in some cases, simply giving money to another person with the intent to hide the money or disguise its source has been considered a financial transaction for the purposes of prosecuting a money laundering offense. A conviction under this portion of the law could result in a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Section 1957 of Title 18 describes another common type of money laundering. Under this section of the law, a person commits a crime by conducting a financial transaction of more than $10,000 using money generated by certain illegal activities, regardless of whether the person intended to conceal the source, ownership, or control of the money. To be considered a crime under this section, the transaction must involve some type of financial institution, such as a bank, investment house, or a securities company. A conviction on charges of this type of money laundering could result in up to 10 years in federal prison.

An Illinois Federal Crimes Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing federal charges for money laundering, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands the law and who is equipped to help you build a strong defense. Contact an experienced Chicago money laundering defense attorney at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel to get the help you need. Call 312-270-0999 to schedule a free consultation and case review at our firm today.

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-2101-money-laundering-overview

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1956

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1957

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