Safeguarding Your Rights Against Money Laundering Charges
Today, the U.S. attorney’s offices across the country routinely prosecute individuals and organizations for money laundering in many more situations than in the context of the war on drugs. Prosecutions for money laundering often occur in the context of white collar crimes.
Successfully defending against money laundering charges takes substantial courtroom experience and a command of federal criminal statutes. Our lawyers at Konta, Georges & Buza, P.C., have the knowledge required to handle these complex issues. They have skillfully represented thousands of clients over the course of their careers, and they are ready to represent you.
Contact our office to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Understanding Money Laundering Statutes
Money laundering is the act of taking the proceeds of illegal activity and making it appear as though it originated from legal activity. It is essentially taking money from one source and making it appear as though it is actually from a different source. People launder the proceeds of illegal activity, so they can deposit or use the money without fear of tax evasion charges or seizure by the government.
There are two statutes the federal government uses to prosecute people for money laundering. They were both enacted to combat narcotic-trafficking organizations. The goal was to make it harder for members of these organizations to spend the money generated from illegal activity. So as a result of these statutes, not only could people be prosecuted for participating in the illegal drug trade, but they could also be independently prosecuted for laundering the money they generated from the illegal activity.
Elements Of A Money Laundering Charge
To be found guilty of money laundering, the government needs to prove the following four elements:
- The person knowingly carried out or tried to carry out a financial transaction;
- The person knew the property involved in that financial transaction was illegal;
- The proceeds were actually from an illegal act; and
- The person engaged in the financial transaction with the intention of carrying out or trying to carry out an illegal activity
The government needs to be able to prove different charges in order to prosecute an individual accused of breaking other money laundering laws.
At Konta, Georges & Buza, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys can help you fight all charges of money laundering. The operative difference between these laws is that section 1956 covers financial transactions while section 1957 covers monetary transactions. The legal definition of financial transactions is much broader than monetary transactions.
Providing Knowledgeable Legal Services
Financial transactions encompass most transactions in life, whereas monetary transactions occur when a financial institution, like a bank, is involved. For a person to be guilty under section 1956, they need to actually intend to launder the money for a specified purpose. However, with section 1957, they just need to know the money was gained from unlawful activity.
The goal of section 1956 is to prohibit the actual act of laundering the money, whereas the goal of section 1957 is to criminalize the act of depositing this illegal money into a financial institution. These charges are often brought in conjunction when applicable. The significance of a money laundering accusation is that the person who is accused of laundering the money need not be accused of the underlying criminal activity to be guilty under either of these provisions.
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