Money laundering is using any banking facility in a transaction involving dollars that were derived from an illegal activity. Due to its association with organized crime, money laundering has severe penalties for the offender. If you have been charged with money laundering, contact a Clearwater money-laundering lawyer who could stand by your side and build a defense for your case. Call an experienced defense attorney today to schedule a consultation.
Different Types of Money Laundering Offenses
Money laundering offenses can occur in a variety of ways. There is the use of a banking facility to facilitate illegal activity. There is also structuring, which means making deposits of less than $10,000 in order to avoid the federal reporting requirements. If a person deposits $10,000 or more in cash into a bank account, they have to file an 8300 form with the Department of Treasury. Therefore, a person does not have to file an 8300 form if they deposit less than $9,999. This is why many money launders make a series of $9,000 transactions in order to avoid filing the form. If a person structures a transaction to avoid filing the form, it is a criminal offense.
Common Circumstances of Money Laundering Charges
When money laundering first started, it was far more involved in drug transactions. Drug dealers would have a lot of cash and they would deposit that cash into the bank in order to legitimize it. They would take it out of the bank and it would look like a clean transaction because the bank was used, but the origination of the cash was a drug deal. This act is money laundering. The cash reporting requirements of $10,000 deposits was a way of curtailing drug dealers from using banks.
Now, money laundering is considered more of a white-collar activity, with offenses like securities fraud. These may look legitimate on the outside, the banks may be used to deposit the money of the purchasers of the security, however, the security is actually a fraud. For more information, contact a knowledgeable money-laundering attorney in Clearwater.
The penalties for money laundering are usually 10 to 20 years of prison time as a maximum. Also, a person convicted of money laundering could have to pay a $250,000 fine or double the total amount of financial transactions. The sentencing guidelines depend on the amount of money actually laundered, therefore the more money a person launders, the higher their sentence recommendation is from the federal sentencing guidelines.
The judge gets three recommendations for penalties: one from the prosecutor, one from the defense lawyer, and one from the probation officer. The calculations are done through a grid known as the sentencing guidelines. Sentencing guidelines take into account prior convictions and the type of crime committed. A judge does not have to give the recommended sentence, but in most cases, judges do apply the sentencing guidelines and recommend the sentences arranged.
Common Misconceptions about Money Laundering Cases
Most people believe money laundering cases are only related to drugs and people trying to hide drug money, however, it has expanded far beyond that. It is also a misconception that money laundering cases are easy to prove. The public holds these misconceptions and they may not realize that some white-collar cases like bond or stock frauds also involve dirty money.
Money laundering cases are complex, which is why it is essential for someone charged with such a crime to hire a seasoned Clearwater money-laundering lawyer. If you have been charged, do not waste any more time and get started on your defense today by calling an attorney.