Money laundering sounds like a glamorous crime until you get accused of it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have so much money that your only concern was pretending that it didn’t belong to you? Of course, it isn’t easy to convincingly pretend that large sums of money don’t exist or are not in your possession, not when every banknote has a serial number and banks and credit cards keep electronic records of all transactions. The federal government has recently instituted measures to make it easier for investigators to catch the laundering of illegal proceeds before it starts. For example, the requirements have become stricter regarding providing information about the individuals associated with corporations, making it much harder to hide assets in shell corporations. Likewise, the reporting requirements have increased regarding real estate purchases in cash. What this means is that the authorities go after activities that look like money laundering, in addition to actual money laundering incidents and operations. If you get accused of money laundering, a white collar crime attorney can help you decide which defenses to use.
Lack of Intent to Commit Money Laundering
You are not guilty of money laundering unless you intentionally misrepresented your financial records to make it look like your business received certain funds or assets through legal business activities, when those funds are actually the proceeds of illegal activities like drug dealing or illegal gambling. You might be able to use the defense that the inaccuracies in your company’s financial records are unintentional mistakes. You might also argue that the illegally obtained funds are accurately recorded in your company’s accounting records, but you did not know that the funds were the result of illegal activities.
Money Laundering Under Duress
You may be able to argue that, even though you filtered illegally obtained funds through your business, you only did so because someone threatened you with physical violence or some other horrible consequence if you did not do it. If this is the case, it makes you a victim of extortion, rather than being guilty of money laundering.
Illegally Obtained Evidence
Whether you are being accused of money laundering or any other crime, you cannot be convicted if the authorities violated your rights. Specifically, evidence is not admissible in court (meaning that it is not legal to show it to a jury, and convictions based on it can be overturned) if law enforcement officers were not within their rights to find the evidence. For example, your company’s accounting records are not admissible as evidence if the authorities seized them without a warrant; this would be a violation of your Fourth Amendment right.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Money Laundering Charges
It is hard to get away with money laundering and easy to get falsely accused of it. A criminal defense lawyer can help you choose the most applicable defenses if you are being accused of money laundering. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Texas to discuss your case.