Those who channel money from illegitimate activities to what appear to be lawful enterprises can be charged with the crime of money laundering in Virginia. One example would be investing money from drug sales into a legitimate business.
In essence, money laundering is an attempt to disguise or conceal the source of illegal funds with hopes of preventing that money from being seized or taxed by the government, or obscuring a “green trail” that could cause the offender to be charged for the crime which produced this income.
Being the subject of an investigation for money laundering can be very intimidating. These cases are often complex and tedious. If you – or your family member or friend – are facing money laundering charges, your first move should be to consult an experienced federal money laundering attorney in Virginia. This is especially advantageous if the matter is still in the investigative stages because skilled federal criminal lawyers can have a profound – and positive – impact on the outcome of such cases.
With the rise of global terrorism, money laundering receives much greater scrutiny from local, state, and federal law enforcement due to its clear role in financing several serious criminal organizations, including some terrorist cells. The convictions logged to-date certainly confirm the results of this aggressive anti-terrorism strategy by the FBI and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
Money laundering is viewed as a white collar crime, regardless of the offense that leads to it. A skilled Virginia federal money laundering lawyer will have a detailed understanding of both the statutory provisions governing money laundering and those relating to underlying substantive offenses.
Though terrorists and drug dealers are the first of the usual suspects that come to mind when we hear the words “money laundering,” it is also associated with other illegal activities that include, but are not limited to:
For those convicted of attempting to hide the source of money deposited in a bank account (such as purposefully making multiple deposits of less than $10,000 – the amount that automatically requires the bank to report the deposit to the FDIC) or concealing the source of cash that is invested in a business, state or federal prison time awaits.
Businesses that receive laundered money can face seizure of not only the funds in question, but additional monies if any portion of that money can be connected to a money laundering scheme. With so much at stake, anyone charged with laundering money should contact a Virginia federal money laundering lawyer as soon as possible.
Is it any wonder why banks enthusiastically adhere to the laws that curb money laundering activities? Their efforts are reinforced by sophisticated data and tracking systems, leading-edge security solutions, and stronger working relationships with law enforcement. It also means that all of these initiatives not only make it more difficult to launder money, they also create strong evidence against many alleged money launderers.
There are differences between money concealment and simply getting rid of the evidence. If you sell stolen goods, then use the money to go out and buy a $15,000 home entertainment system, that isn’t money laundering. You are benefiting from your criminal act. State and federal courts have ruled there must be some form of prior criminal activity committed to produce the profits that are then misdirected into a legitimate business enterprise to justify money laundering charges.
Federal money laundering convictions can produce prison terms of up to one year for a first-time misdemeanor. For repeat offenders, much longer sentences are possible. A prison term of up to 35 years is possible if the scheme is connected to terrorist-related crimes (in addition to whatever penalty is incurred for the terrorist conviction itself.)
Fines range from a few thousand dollars to up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is greater. Depending on the facts of the case and the accused’s criminal record, probation is possible for lesser forms of first-time money laundering.
In Virginia, depending on the charges, money laundering convictions can include a:
Felony (Section A) – Knowingly conduct a financial transaction where the person knows the property involved in the transaction represents the proceeds of an activity which is punishable as a felony by imprisonment of not more than 40 years or a fine of not more than $500,000 or both.
A money laundering investigation and money laundering charges involve complex evidence – most of it forensic accounting – presented against you. Combating this evidence requires extensive knowledge and resources on the part of your criminal defense team – especially with respect to charges at the federal level.
Qualified legal counsel will be able to independently investigate the facts of your case and use that evidence and information to build the most successful defense possible. Contact our team of Virginia and federal criminal defense attorneys today to learn more about defending your rights and reputation.
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