If you are accused of money laundering, the government is alleging that you committed some act to disguise the origins of illegally obtained money, with the goal of “washing” the money and making it into legitimate money. People are accused of money laundering in a variety of circumstances, but an easy example to help you understand is from the television show Breaking Bad. The main character amasses a pile of money from the production and sale of crystal methamphetamine. He then purchases a car wash to launder the “meth” money and “cook the books” to make the money legitimate. That is one way people are accused of attempting to launder money, but there are others.
Money Laundering Charges are a Big Deal
If you are charged with money laundering, you are facing federal criminal charges. The federal government charges people suspected of money laundering under a number of different statutes, including the Federal Money Laundering Control Act and sometimes the Patriot Act.
When you are charged with money laundering, the government will also seize any property or funds that are allegedly connected to the money laundering charges. The Law Offices of David Freidman are experienced in recovering seized assets and seized property, in addition to defending clients vigorously against federal money laundering charges and any other attendant charges.
Just like in the Breaking Bad example, money laundering charges are often brought at the same time as drug trafficking charges or drug conspiracy charges. Money laundering charges are not only brought with drug charges, however. Money laundering charges are often brought alleging illegal funds obtained through real estate fraud, business fraud, and other white collar crimes. The law changes regularly in this area, and it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to defend against these types of allegations.
How Do We Defend Clients Against Money Laundering Charges?
The prosecutor must prove several elements to convict you of money laundering, including proving your state of mind was such that you specifically intended to commit the crime of money laundering. There are some defenses that can be advanced on your behalf, depending on the circumstances of your case. Three of the more common defenses in money laundering cases are:
- Insufficient Evidence: The prosecutor has the burden of proof for any money laundering charges brought against you, and one element that must be established is that you intended to prevent the illegally obtained funds from being traced. The prosecutor must also be able to prove that the laundered money came from a specific illegal activity. These are two separate and hard to prove requirements, and in some cases we can obtain outright dismissals of money laundering charges before a trial, for this reason.
- Absence of Intent: The prosecutor must be able to prove that you were aware that the money being laundered was illegal. If that cannot be proven, then there is an absence of intent, and therefore no money laundering.
- Duress: Sometimes people are led to believe they will be in danger if they do not participate in a money laundering scheme. If that is the case and proof can be offered that backs this up, then this defense would also lead to a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial.
Money laundering charges are serious, and if you might be facing such charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. If you are in the Chicago area, contact us today at 312-560-7100 or email us, and let us help you fight.