South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney: Money Laundering Charges

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7th Feb 2017

Laws prohibiting money laundering seek to punish organizations and individuals that conceal the source of ill-gotten funds.  A South Florida criminal defense attorney can be retained when a person is facing state or federal money laundering charges.  A South Florida criminal defense attorney may also be able to defend an individual who is facing other charges connected to money laundering such as organized crime or racketeering.

Money laundering is one or more financial transactions that are conducted to conceal, hide or disguise money that has been obtained through criminal activity such as drug dealing or illegal gambling.  A conviction for money laundering requires the prosecutor to show that the person being charged with the crime knew the illegal source of the funds and that the financial transaction was funded by criminal activity proceeds.  Money laundering can consist of many different types of transactions, including putting money in a bank, making an investment, making a wire transfer, purchasing real property, titling a vehicle or giving a loan.

The potential penalties for a conviction of money laundering are severe.  The potential classification of the crime is based on the amount of money involved.  Money laundering of $300 to $20,000 is classified as a third degree felony with a potential penalty of up to five years in prison.  A person who launders between $20,001 and $100,000 may face up to 15 years in prison for this second degree felony.  For a first degree felony and a potential prison term of 30 years in prison, a person must have laundered more than $100,000.  In addition to prison time, a defendant may face a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A criminal defense attorney can work with a defendant to see which defenses may be available, such as the defendant not being aware of the source of the money involved in a financial transaction or the statute of limitations passing.