Money laundering is a complex process involving many moving parts. It is a complicated type of white-collar crime, which can happen in various ways in various industries.
The government and private organizations take money laundering extremely seriously. There are many government regulations in place to prevent money laundering, and most organizations have anti-money laundering policies in place.
Potential money laundering penalties
There are major criminal penalties for money laundering, including prison time and high fines. If you are convicted of money laundering, you may never regain your career or good reputation, even after you’ve completed all of your sentencing requirements.
The complex nature of money laundering means people sometimes find themselves facing money laundering charges when they had no intention of deceiving or defrauding. Therefore, it is important to understand exactly what money laundering is and ways to defend yourself.
How money laundering works
In its simplest form, money laundering is making illegally gained money appear legal by running it through a legitimate financial system. There are three stages to money laundering:
Placement involves putting the illegally gained or “dirty” money into some type of legal financial resource, such as a business bank account. The illegal money then mixes with the legally obtained money through accounting methods or different transactions, which is known as layering.
Integration occurs when the layered money, or a combination of the legally and illegally gained money, is withdrawn and can be used. Money laundering can happen without these three steps or by only using one or two steps.
The technology revolution has increased the ways money can be laundered. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that global money laundering transactions make up 2 to 5% of global gross domestic product.
Defending against a money laundering charge
A money laundering charge must be proven, and the intricate details involved in money laundering mean that proving each element of the charge can be challenging. A conviction requires strong evidence, and there may be ways to attack that evidence.
A federal criminal charge like money laundering can rob you of your freedom and future. Experienced criminal defense attorneys understand this and can help explore potential defenses and minimize the chance of a negative outcome.