The intentional concealment of funds greater than $10,000, derived from illegal activities can subject one to federal money laundering charges. According to the International Monetary Fund, approximately $600 billion to $1.5 trillion is laundered every year. Federal cases involving money laundering often go hand in hand with racketeering cases governed by the RICO Act. One of the more notable money laundering cases in recent history have involved Liberty Reserve, for example, in 2013 that involved laundering over $6 billion for cartels globally and Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s.
Under 18 U.S.C. §1956 – three types of money laundering activities are described: 1) §1956(a)(1) – domestic money laundering transactions; 2) §1956(a)(2) – international money laundering transactions; and 3) §1956(a)(3) – undercover “sting” money laundering transactions. Sections (2) and (3) do not include the intent to violate tax laws, while section one does.
In order to be convicted under 18 U.S.C. §1956 (a)(1), the government must prove that the defendant conducted, or attempted to conduct a financial transaction, knowing that the property involved in the financial transactions represented the proceeds of some unlawful activity, as defined by 18 U.S.C. §1956(c)(7), and that the property in question was in fact the fruit of one of the illegal activities identified in the statute. Under 18 U.S.C §1956 (a)(2), which criminalizes certain kinds of transportation of monetary instruments, a defendant can be found criminally culpable if she transports, transmits, or transfers monetary instruments or funds internationally, and the funds represent the proceeds from one of the unlawful activities specified in §1956(c)(7). To be convicted under § 1956(a)(3) the government must prove that the defendant engaged in a transaction with the intent to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the property or to avoid the transaction reporting requirement. The statute of limitations for money laundering under 18 USC 3282 is 5 years.
Depending on the nature of the case, someone convicted of money laundering could be face penalties ranging from probation to sentences of 30 years or more, and fines reaching $500,000 or double the amount of money involved in the laundering, whichever of the two is greater. If you or a family member of friend is charged with money laundering, contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Lorraine Gauli-Rufo is a Federal Criminal Defense attorney who has over 20 years of experience in defending federal white collar criminal cases involving money laundering charges in New York and New Jersey. She serves clients all over New York and New Jersey charged with or being investigated for Federal White Collar Criminal matters and she has offices conveniently located in Manhattan, New York and Verona, New Jersey.