Tampa Money Laundering Lawyer
Money laundering consists of financial transactions which are designed to hide the criminal character of the funds used. A common scheme involves taking the “dirty” proceeds from illegal activity and then “laundering” them by passing them through a legitimate business. Think of a dry cleaner which runs a drug operation from the back room. Any proceeds are credited to laundry as legitimate income. If you are suspected of this crime, contact a Tampa money laundering lawyer today for a confidential consultation.
Examples of Tampa Money Laundering
The Money Laundering Control Act can be found at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957. This law criminalizes a wide range of activities:
- Currency smuggling to foreign countries. Mules will carry cash in bulk to a foreign country where it is then converted into a different currency and possibly deposited in a foreign bank. After the passage of time, criminals then transfer the money to the U.S. so they can spend it.
- Cryptocurrency transactions. Digital currencies like Bitcoin have increased in popularity recently. Many criminals will convert illegal proceeds to crypto and then make trades or purchases using the currency.
- Buying assets with illegal proceeds. Someone might use funds to buy real estate before selling it.
- Working with a complicit bank to hide the illegality of the funds. Banks typically must report large transactions, but a bank might decline if key players are in on the scheme.
18 U.S.C. 1957 also makes it illegal to knowingly engage in a financial transaction worth at least $10,000 when the defendant knows the funds or property was criminally obtained. For example, you can’t sell something to a drug kingpin if you know he is using proceeds from his deals.
Money Laundering Charges are Popular with Tampa Prosecutors
Prosecutors typically bring money laundering charges along with charges for the underlying criminal activity, such as drug trafficking. But prosecutors also like to bring these charges so that they can seek maximum sentences if the defendant is convicted.
Each money laundering conviction can result in 20 years behind bars and a substantial fine, up to twice the amount laundered or $500,000. And this is for one act of money laundering. Someone convicted of participating in a large scheme will likely have multiple counts and could face life in prison.
We Defend against Tampa Money Laundering Charges
Some people innocently get caught up in money laundering because they are unaware that they are handling dirty proceeds. For example, someone working as a desk clerk in a laundry might have no idea that a drug ring is running out of the back of the building. They transfer money in and out of the register thinking it is clean.
Fortunately, the federal statute requires that defendants know the proceeds are from criminal activity, and prosecutors must prove this element beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Often prosecutors rely on witnesses who participated in the scheme and probably lack credibility. Trombley & Hanes has represented business executives and others against money laundering charges. Contact a Tampa money laundering lawyer to schedule a consultation.