A person who illegally acquires a large sum of money may use money laundering to conceal the source or origins of the funds. At its most basic level, money laundering is the transfer of illicit capital between multiple legitimate bank accounts, thus making it difficult to determine where the funds come from.
Examples of Money Laundering Crimes
Money laundering crimes arise from a variety of circumstances. Money can be laundered in these ways:
- The funds are placed in offshore tax havens before they are sent back as tax-exempt foreign investments.
- Illegal assets are deposited in small amounts over time to avoid detection by authorities.
- Shell companies or trusts are used to keep the owner’s identity a secret.
- Illegally acquired capital is used to purchase real estate and private properties.
- Drug dealers maximize their profits by depositing their funds in foreign banks.
Money laundering charges are very serious. Those who are charged with money laundering should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help them avoid the severe consequences of a conviction.
Potential Penalties for Money Laundering
Money laundering is a state and a federal crime. Because a defendant may be subject to federal sentencing guidelines, he may face a significant amount of time in confinement, including a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. He may also have to pay large fines, up to $500,000 or a percentage of the value of the property that is involved in the case. Under state laws, a defendant may also face charges such as conspiracy. Any additional charges may carry extra time behind bars. An experienced money laundering lawyer may be able to mitigate these charges and secure less punishments for his client.
Proving a Money Laundering Case
Many money laundering cases are brought forth in federal court. In order for the U.S. Attorney to prevail, he must prove that the defendant acquired funds in an illegal manner, such as drug dealing, gambling or using businesses that evade taxes. He must also prove that the defendant had actual knowledge that the funds were procured in an illegal fashion. Additionally, he must prove that the defendant attempted to hide the crime from the IRS or that he avoided reporting the money in accordance with state or federal law.
Contact a Money Laundering Attorney in Houston
Attorney James Alston formerly worked as an Assistant United States Attorney and a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney. He will use his knowledge of prosecutor’s tactics in order to best prepare for his client’s defense. He will aggressively defend his client to protect his freedom. To schedule a confidential consultation, please call the Law Office of James Alston today.
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