What Does the Crime of Money Laundering Involve?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in White Collar Crime

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois money laundering lawyerFor Lori Loughlin, her husband, and several others involved in the college admissions scandal, the news only gets worse. Now, these defendants and several others have been charged with money laundering in addition to the charges they were already facing. As something that is often only seen on television and in gangster movies, the news has some wondering what the crime of money laundering really involves.

What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering in its simplest form is taking money from one source and placing it into another to make it appear legitimate. The purpose is to hide money obtained from illegal activity, such as gang activity, and make it appear as though it was obtained through legal means. Moving this money is essentially “cleaning” it, which is where money laundering got its name.

One of the most common money laundering schemes involves setting up a business known as a “shell company”. This business will then deposit the money obtained illegally and create false receipts and invoices indicating the money was obtained legally. The shell company is really just a front for the money laundering scheme, although some shell companies also operate as a legitimate business, as well.

The Money Laundering Control Act

The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 made money laundering in the United States a federal crime. This statute deals with the proceeds derived from certain illegal acts, including RICO offenses, human trafficking, and certain types of fraud, to name just a few.

In order for someone to be found guilty of money laundering, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had knowledge that the funds came from illegal activity. Simply transferring “dirty” money without any knowledge of where it came from is not enough for money laundering charges to apply.

In addition to this element of proof, the prosecution must also prove the defendant had specific intentions for the dirty money. In order to prove this, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant intended:

  • To carry on with the illegal activity;
  • To commit tax fraud or tax evasion;
  • To conceal the illegal nature of the money’s source; or
  • To avoid reporting transactions as required by state or federal law.

Penalties for Money Laundering

Money laundering is a very serious federal crime. The penalties for those convicted include up to 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the property value involved, whichever is greater. The actual sentencing determined by a judge will take into consideration the amount of money involved.

Facing Federal Charges? Speak to a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Illinois

Money laundering, like any other federal crime, has very harsh penalties, but there are defenses available for those charged. An experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer can fully explain what they are, and which one may apply to your case. If you have been charged with money laundering or any other federal crime, it is natural to feel helpless. However, you are not. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we want to help you. Call us today at 312-629-0669 or fill out our online form for your free consultation. We will discuss your rights and build you a strong defense to help you retain your freedom. Do not face these charges alone. Contact us today so we can begin reviewing your case.


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