Federal Money Laundering Charges

 Posted on October 31, 2023 in Money Laundering

IL defense lawyerMoney laundering is earning money from illegal activity. The severity of the charge you will be facing will depend on the amount of money that is laundered.

Federal money laundering carries serious consequences, including jail time, hefty fines, and even asset forfeiture. If you have been charged with federal money laundering, it is time you contact an Illinois federal crimes lawyer.

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the act of concealing money that was gained through illegal activity by pretending that the proceeds came from a legitimate business. Money laundering is a person’s attempt to make the money look “clean.”

Money laundering is considered a “white collar” crime because it is a non-violent crime that is committed by businessmen and government officials to gain a financial advantage. To conceal unlawful money, the offender must make it difficult to trace the source of the money. This may be done by making money transfers through offshore bank accounts. 

An example of money laundering would be conducting a crystal methamphetamine business but opening a car wash so that it appears your revenue source is derived from a legitimate business. 

While a crime in itself, money laundering is often closely tied to other crimes, such as drug trafficking, sex trafficking, extortion, fraud, and tax evasion.

Prison Time and Fines

The Money Laundering Act of 1986 established money laundering as a federal crime. It consists of two sections: 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 18 U.S.C. § 1957.

According to 18 U.S.C. § 1956, whoever takes part in a financial transaction knowing that part of or the entirety of the money was gained through illegal means is guilty of money laundering. If you violate 18 U.S.C. § 1956, you may spend up to 20 years in jail, have to pay a maximum fine of $500,000 or twice the value of laundered funds (whichever is greater), or a combination of both. 

18 U.S.C. § 1957 states that anyone who knowingly takes part in or attempts to take part in a transaction that is greater than $10,000, and that was acquired through illegal means, may face up to 10 years in prison.

While a serious crime, a Chicago money laundering lawyer will know the tactics available to defend the charges against you. 

Asset Forfeiture

The U.S. Department of Justice began its Asset Forfeiture Program in 1994. Asset forfeiture serves to deprive criminals of the proceeds of their crimes, to compensate victims, and to be a general crime deterrent.

Under Federal statutes, there are three types of federal forfeiture: criminal, civil judicial, and administrative. Money laundering assets are acquired through either criminal or civil judicial forfeiture. While criminal forfeiture requires a criminal indictment to secure property, an indictment is not required for civil judicial forfeiture. Civil judicial forfeiture allows anyone who has an interest in the property to make a claim.

Other bonuses of civil judicial forfeiture: it allows the government to access property outside of the United States and for property held by deceased defendants to still be taken back. 

Contact a Chicago, IL, Money Laundering Lawyer Today 

If you are charged with federal money laundering, multiple government agencies will be investigating your case, with the odds not being in your favor. With possible severe penalties if you are convicted, you should have skilled counsel working hard for you. 

Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation with a Chicago, IL, money laundering attorney from Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney right away. 

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