Can Money Laundering Be Charged By Itself?

 Posted on October 15, 2021 in White Collar Crime

chicago defense lawyer Money laundering is the crime of hiding money earned through criminal enterprise by filtering it through what appears to be a lawful business in order to make the money look “clean.” But for money laundering to take place, there must have been some other crime committed that resulted in a profit in the first place. Yet, some people find themselves charged with federal money laundering alone. How does this happen? 

If you are facing federal money laundering charges, it is important that you take the matter very seriously, even if you do not feel that you did anything wrong. Federal charges can lead to years in prison, steep fines, and far-reaching social and economic consequences. You will need to work with an experienced and qualified attorney to minimize your chances of suffering these harsh consequences. 

How is Money Laundering Committed as a Crime by Itself? 

For money laundering to take place, there must be “dirty” money in the first place. This means that a second, profitable crime was committed before the money could be laundered. So how exactly does someone commit money laundering without committing a different offense first? 

The key is that to launder money, you do not need to be the person whose criminal activity brought in the “dirty” money. Often, one person commits the initial crime and then a second person launders the money. This launderer may or may not be involved with the initial, profitable crime - and in some cases may not even be aware that what they are doing amounts to money laundering. 

For example, let us say that Alice runs a bar. Alice’s co-owner Dave earns illegal profits in a banking fraud scheme, which Alice does not participate in. Dave then brings his illegal profits to Alice’s bar and launders the money through the bar. In this case, if Alice knew where Dave’s money was coming from and helped him launder it in the bar, then Alice is guilty of money laundering, but probably not of anything else. There is also a chance, in this situation, that Alice was completely unaware of Dave’s money laundering and is guilty of nothing. Yet, Alice could easily find herself charged with money laundering - or even bank fraud - anyway. 

What Other Crimes Are Often Charged With Money Laundering? 

Often, a person who is charged with money laundering is also charged with the initial profitable crime. Some crimes that often serve as a precursor to money laundering include: 

  • Bank Fraud

  • Mortgage Fraud

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Tax Evasion

  • Credit Card Fraud

  • Identity Theft

Call a Cook County Money Laundering Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of federal money laundering or another connected crime, it is very important that you contact a qualified attorney quickly. Your freedom as well as social and financial health going forward may depend on it. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel represents clients charged with all types of federal white-collar crimes. Contact a Chicago money laundering lawyer at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 


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