Money Laundering Law

Money Laundering, in simplest terms, is the transfer money obtained from criminal activity into "legitimate" channels to disguise its illegal origins. Money laundering occurs whenever someone attempts to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of unlawful activity. For example, a criminal may start a restaurant as a "legitimate" business, then funnel funds from illegal activities into the restaurant, fabricating orders that never occurred for customers who never visited.

The reason for money laundering is to hide the origin of money. This is important because of the tax implications of ill gotten gains. Failing to disclose receipt of these funds to the IRS could result in an audit and, ultimately, tax evasion charges.

Money laundering can take many forms from simple to complex:

Structuring: Cash is broken into smaller deposits of money.

Bulk cash smuggling: Physically smuggling cash into another jurisdiction, usually overseas, and depositing it in a financial institution with lax reporting requirements.

Cash-intensive businesses: A business typically involved in receiving cash uses its accounts to deposit both legitimate and criminally derived cash. Favorite operations for cash-intensive money laundering include parking buildings, strip clubs, tanning beds, or casinos.

Trade-based laundering: Adjusting invoice prices up or down to disguise the movement of money.

Other favorites include shell companies, "round-tripping," bank captures, casinos, and many more.

The elements of the crime of money laundering are generally:

(1) knowingly engaging in a financial transaction;

(2) with the proceeds of a crime;

(3) for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property from governments.

For more information about money laundering, please review the materials below. Additionally, if you need assistance from an attorney pertaining to money laundering charges against you or someone you know, you can find a list of attorneys in your jurisdiction on the Law Firms page of this site.


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