Money laundering is a fraud offense in which people take illegal money and attempt to launder or transform it into legitimate funds. The offense can involve a simple, local, one-person undertaking, or it can involve a complex, multi-person scheme to clean illegally obtained money. An individual can face both state and federal money laundering charges, so it can be essential to work with an Atlanta money laundering lawyer who has extensive experience at both levels and who could help you understand your rights throughout the legal process.
In a money laundering operation, a person takes money that was obtained illegally and turns it into legitimate money. People launder dirty money so that banks, financial institutions, state police officers, federal agents, and other law enforcement officials are not suspicious of the money’s source. Once the money has been turned into what looks like legitimate money, they can freely spend it without the fear of attracting unwanted attention.
Since money laundering involves the use of illegally obtained funds, people usually face money laundering charges in conjunction with other criminal charges. People launder money that they obtained from illegal sources, such as drug trading, gambling, tax evasion, insider trading, or extortion.
There are several different methods that people use to launder illegally obtained funds. Often, they create “shell companies,” which are fake businesses. People invest their fraudulently obtained money in these counterfeit companies to make the money look legitimate. People also frequently use offshore, overseas financial accounts to hide their assets and avoid paying income taxes. Since the federal government looks into financial transactions of greater than $10,000, money launderers may also separate their money into smaller deposits.
Money laundering generally occurs in the following three parts:
Generally, the prosecution needs to show that the defendant knowingly put illegally obtained money into a bank, took complicated actions to hide the money’s illegal source, and benefited by gaining wealth from those complicated transactions. A nearby money laundering attorney could demonstrate that the defendant did not know about the unlawful source of the money, that the money was obtained through legal channels, or that they did not benefit from the scheme.
Money laundering convictions carry harsh federal and state consequences. If convicted of federal money laundering charges, a person could face a maximum fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the illegally obtained property, and up to 20 years in jail. In addition, they could face charges relating to the underlying crimes. Georgia law also imposes harsh penalties for state money laundering charges, so it could be beneficial to speak with an experienced local lawyer about both the federal and state charges as soon as possible.
Money laundering is a serious charge, and a conviction could change your life. Fortunately, our attorneys understand the laws and would investigate all other avenues of defense to determine the best strategy to protect a defendant. Get in touch with an Atlanta money laundering lawyer today to protect your rights. Schedule an appointment with an attorney today.