Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

What is money laundering?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | CRIMINAL DEFENSE - White Collar Crimes

Money laundering is putting money that’s not legally earned through various steps to make it appear as though it was legally earned. There are several ways this can occur, but the person risks facing criminal charges because money laundering is illegal. 

The money that people try to launder comes from sources, such as gang activity, terrorist networks or drug trafficking. Funds from those sources aren’t supposed to be introduced into the banking networks. 

How is money placed into the banking system?

Any cash transaction that’s over $10,000 has to be reported to the government because of the Bank Secrecy Act. Financial institutions also have to report suspicious activity. Because of this, money laundering is usually done using smaller transactions so they don’t get flagged. Additionally, people who are laundering money may have multiple accounts open to try to mask how much money is being deposited. 

Gambling, investing in commodities, and buying and selling high-dollar assets are also ways that money laundering may occur. In more sophisticated money laundering schemes, the person may establish shell companies, which are companies that exist on paper only.

Once the illegally earned money is introduced into the financial system, it may be moved around several times in an attempt to conceal the source. By the time it’s taken out of the system, it appears as though it was legally earned money. 

For a person facing criminal charges for money laundering, finding a defense strategy can be difficult because there are so many elements that go into these cases. Defendants may opt to work with someone who can explain their options and how each may impact their case.