Money Laundering Defense Attorneys
There is a wide variety of statutes that correspond to what we’d call money laundering. These statutes include but are not limited to 31 USC Section 5311, the Money Laundering Control Act, the Bank Secrecy Act, the Patriot Act, and many more similar statutes, laws, and regulations. It’s not uncommon for these cases to simply be prosecuted at the state level, as many states actually have their local laws that they can prosecute under.
Along with this, though, money laundering is also investigated and prosecuted at the federal level. The FBI typically heads up investigations into money laundering, and the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section can also become involved, along with the IRS Criminal Investigation section. Another aspect of money laundering cases is that when drugs are somehow involved, the DEA will typically handle the case. Similarly, ICE will tend to deal with any cases that involve cross-border smuggling and the like.
With all of this in mind, and considering the steep penalties and harsh prison sentencing that can often come along with convictions of money laundering, you need to be sure that the legal firm or defense attorney you’re going with has the resources, skills, and experience needed to ensure the best result possible for you. The Norman Spencer Law Group is just such a legal firm.
What is Money Laundering?
As you might imagine, there are a number of activities that the statutes consider to fall under the criminal charge of money laundering. Among them, one of the most common examples is when someone carries out some kind of financial transaction in which they either know or should reasonably know that the money involved was gained through some sort of illegal activity. At its base, money laundering is the act of covering up financial wrongdoing and criminal activity.
International money laundering is the same crime, just performed at the international level. This could involve physically moving money over some sort of border, but it could just as easily be done through electronic means. What’s more is that if it is done electronically, defendants might also have to contend with federal charges of mail and wire fraud, as these charges cover communications involved in the commission of a crime.
An important thing to consider too is that sting operations are commonly done in the process of investigations. If the defendant attempts to take that money and utilize it in some sort of illegal scheme, then the charge can still be brought.
What Are the Criminal Penalties Involved?
Along with things like restitution and steep fines that someone might have to pay as a result of being convicted of money laundering, it’s just as common for defendants to be faced with harsh prison sentences as well. When you consider that money laundering has an element of white-collar crime to it, the consequences can get even worse for those found guilty.
Courts and prosecutors tend to come down hard on white-collar crime, especially in recent years now that there’s been extensive media coverage of such crimes. As a result of all of that, judges will tend to pass down harsh sentences as a way to deter anyone else from doing something similar in the future.
Even if prison sentencing isn’t involved, it’s not uncommon for corporate defendants to face fines in excess of $1 million. When prison sentencing is involved, the amount of time will depend greatly on a number of factors, such as how much the defendant knew about the scheme, what their level of involvement was, what their criminal record is (especially when it comes to white-collar crime), the degree to which they cooperated with investigators, etc. Plea deals can similarly affect sentencing, with those defendants who cooperate and help identify other guilty parties tending to get lighter sentencing as a result.
Other Factors Involved in Money Laundering Legislation
Other factors that will affect the sentencing will be things like how much money has been laundered, and for what purpose. For instance, criminal penalties will increase by a commensurate level as the total amount laundered increases. With that said, if the money was obtained via a terrorist act or was laundered in order to help support a future terrorist act or plot, then the actual amount laundered doesn’t have to be very high at all for the penalties to be severe.
There are different degrees to charges, and those can be broken down based on the money involved. So for the fourth degree, the amount can range from $5,000-$50,000. The third degree then corresponds to $50,000-$100,000, the second degree covers amounts of $100,000-$1,000,000, and the first-degree charge of money laundering corresponds to amounts above $1,000,000. As you can imagine, the penalties for a first-degree charge of money laundering can be quite severe, including the potential for decades of prison for a convicted defendant.
Where Can I Turn?
When you’re facing an investigation into or even criminal charges of money laundering, the first and most important thing for you to do is get in touch with competent legal counsel immediately. Before you talk to authorities, before you get pressured into a plea deal that isn’t in your best interest, you should find a defense attorney who has the requisite experience, skill, and resources necessary to successfully defend you in and out of court.
The Norman Spencer Law Group has a combined 70+ years of experience representing cases just like these, and no case is too big or small, too simple or complex for us to take on. We have what it takes to get you the results you deserve. So get in touch today, and a member of our team will get in touch as soon as possible so that we can get you the help that you need.