“Money laundering” refers to financial transactions aimed at concealing the identity, source, or destination of the profits of, or money used to fund, criminal activities. Money laundering is typically carried out in three stages. First, the launderer obtains money via illegal activities. Next, the launderer engages in a series of transactions designed to obscure the illegal source of this money. Finally, the money is returned to the launderer in a “clean” form. Common vehicles used to launder money include tax evasion schemes, shell/holding companies, and offshore bank accounts.
In 1970, Congress passed the Bank Secrecy Act, which was aimed at preventing and detecting money laundering. Pursuant to this Act, banks and other financial institutions are required to report “suspicious transactions,” including transactions of more than $10,000.00 in cash. These reports are centralized in a database, which is monitored by the federal government. Financial institutions are also required to “know their customers” by obtaining proper identification and other information when an account is opened. These reporting requirements were increased in 2001 with the passing of the Patriot Act.
Money laundering can be a serious criminal offense, carrying fines of up to $500,000.00 or twice the value of the property involved and up to 20 years’ imprisonment. The federal government may also impose civil fines against money launderers and has jurisdiction over foreign citizens and entities that violate U.S. money laundering laws in certain circumstances.
If you are being investigated for money laundering, have already been criminally charged with money laundering, or fear that you may be in the future, it is essential that you hire a qualified attorney with experience and a successful track record defending clients against these types of charges. An experienced attorney representing your interests can ensure that your rights are protected, help avoid or minimize criminal liability, and achieve a solution that will protect your assets and your freedom.
I have chosen to focus my law practice on Federal Criminal Tax and White Collar Defense, including matters involving money laundering allegations. Over the last 38 years, I have earned a successful track record in high stakes white collar matters and have argued before the United States Supreme Court as well as other federal courts throughout the country. I fight hard to enforce the rights of my clients, and I believe in the integrity of that fight.
If you have questions or concerns about money laundering, I invite you to contact me directly to discuss them at (212) 639-1600 or Patrick@MullinDefense.com. You will discuss your concerns with me personally – never an associate or paralegal. In addition, you should know that your contact with me, and with my firm, is privileged under the law, regardless of whether or not you decide to retain my firm to represent you.