Money laundering occurs when someone conceals the origins of illegally obtained money, usually through the means of a legitimate business or a foreign bank. Money laundering is a serious crime that can carry harsh consequences for offenders. If you have been arrested for money laundering, you should seek the services of an accomplished lawyer who is experienced with Clearwater money laundering investigations. An attorney can review your case and see what legal options you may have going forward.
Prosecution Burden of Proof
When prosecuting a money laundering case, the state needs to prove the money deposited in the bank are the proceeds of an illegal activity and that the money is used to facilitate the illegal activity. Depositing the money becomes a crime when the money itself was accumulated from a criminal activity. The prosecution attempts to prove the initial illegal activity that resulted in defendant obtaining the money, then they try to trace the money from the crime directly into the bank.
The evidence the prosecution relies on is from witness testimony. The prosecutors bring in co-defendants who may give up information in exchange for a lighter sentence, informants, and undercover officers. In money laundering cases involving drugs, it is common for an informant or co-defendant to flip and testify against the other defendants.
In white-collar crimes, the prosecution will also try to obtain documents that show how the transactions are illegal. It is imperative that someone facing money laundering charges obtains a well-established defense attorney who can refute the prosecution’s accusations.
Agencies Involved in Money Laundering Investigations
Most of the time in Clearwater money laundering investigations, the prosecution brings in the treasury department. The treasury department is there to help with tracing transactions and providing their technical expertise in tracing the money. Other agencies involved in money laundering cases may be the FBI, Customs, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Most money laundering agencies are federal. There is a state money laundering statute, however, they usually do not have the expertise, resources, or agent skills necessary to conduct a money laundering investigation.
Tracking the Crime
When doing a money laundering investigation in Clearwater, one must first determine if the crime was actually committed and whether or not money deposited in the bank was from the proceeds of the crime. This is the most important aspect of the case. Then one must find out whether or not those dollars entered the banking system or whether the money was just put into the person’s pocket. It is not a money laundering crime unless the money ends up in a banking system or business. Once there is a determination that there was illegal money deposited, then the prosecution has to trace the illegal proceeds. It is difficult for the government to trace the proceeds directly because often the proceeds are intermingled with legal business.
How an Attorney Could Help
When someone is facing Clearwater money laundering investigations, they should hire an experienced lawyer immediately. A dedicated attorney is going to be very detailed-oriented and will go into every aspect of the case to prove that the transactions were not derived from illegal activities. A lawyer has the expertise to trace the money before and after the transaction in order to show that the cash is in fact not dirty money.