If you are suspected of conducting transactions that hide the source of money gained through criminal activity, you may face federal money laundering charges. Most commonly, this is filed as an additional charge in a prosecution arising primarily from alleged drug trafficking or some type of business fraud. If you are facing money laundering, financial transaction structuring or other federal felony charges, contact an Albany criminal defense lawyer for experienced counsel and representation.
Your federal indictment may cite a wide range of charges and counts to strengthen the chance of obtaining a conviction on at least one — and to apply additional pressure on you to plead guilty. Even on its own, however, money laundering is a serious federal felony with a maximum sentence including fines up to $500,000 and 20 years in prison.
At The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC we have taken federal cases to trial — and won. Our experience extends from obtaining acquittals in murder trials to positive outcomes in complex conspiracy and enterprise corruption cases. We are well equipped to handle your defense in a major drug or white collar crime case, whether negotiation for reduced consequences is the best path or taking your case all the way to jury trial is the only way to protect your interests.
Once applied almost exclusively in organized crime investigations, money laundering charges are now also commonly filed in cases of alleged fraudulent business accounting. In today’s “anti-terror” era, the U.S. Treasury Department and other agencies have advanced their methods of tracking and investigating suspicious financial transactions. This leads to a growing threat of prosecution for business people and professionals throughout the United States.
Combating these charges can require thorough investigative skills and extensive legal knowledge on the part of your defense attorney. The earlier you contact us to help defend you, the better chance we have of getting your money laundering charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, like structuring. Whether you have been indicted or contacted in relation to an investigation into money laundering, we encourage you to email us directly or call 518-783-3800.
Money laundering is a very specific process with distinct stages. First, the money is initially placed into the financial system through illicit means. Next, the source of the money is disguised and the money is “washed clean” through a method known as “layering.” Finally, when the money is re-integrated into the financial system, it no longer has any obvious ties to criminal activity. As a result of these stages, a typical money laundering charge has three elements:
Criminal Predicate: The prosecutor needs to show that the laundered money had a criminal source. A prosecutor can establish the criminal source of the money without necessarily needing to prove that a specific crime occurred; it is enough to show that the money was generated by general criminal activity. This element also requires the prosecutor to prove that the money moved between multiple sources – from a criminal source to a legitimate institution.
Knowledge: Although the money needs to have been generated by an unlawful activity, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the person laundering the money knew of the underlying criminal activity. Instead, the prosecutor merely needs to prove that the person laundering the money believed that the money was dirty.
Intent: The prosecutor must prove that the money launderer either intended to conceal the source of the money or intended to use the money to promote a specified unlawful activity.
Money laundering charges are often accompanied by additional charges of bank fraud and/or wire fraud. A conviction for any of these offenses can result in serious penalties, including prison time and heavy fines. As a result, if you are under investigation for money laundering, it is imperative that you speak immediately with an attorney who is experienced in handling money laundering cases.