Many Florida residents are unclear on what actions can lead to money laundering charges. They may also be unsure of the possible consequences they face if convicted. One reason for this is that money laundering is often associated with large criminal organizations that sell drugs or weapons. But the truth is that these charges can apply when a transaction involving as little as a few hundred dollars occurs.
Money laundering defined
Money laundering includes any act designed to hide, conceal, or process illegally generated funds to give the impression the funds come from a legitimate income source. Selling drugs, theft, taking bribes, and illegal gambling represent a few ways that launderers obtain illegal money. Actions that can trigger money laundering charges include making purchases, bank deposits, gifts, and making investments.
Money laundering charges
It is against the law to facilitate any financial transaction with the knowledge that illegally obtained funds are part of the deal. These white-collar crimes are felonies with a severity determined by the amount of money involved with the scheme. Third-degree felony charges apply to money laundering schemes that include less than $20,000. This charge carries a maximum five-year prison term.
Defendants accused of laundering money with a value of more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 face a second-degree felony that can cost them fifteen years in prison. Laundering more than $100,000 is a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years in prison.
Proving money laundering
The prosecution must demonstrate a defendant knew the money used as part of a transaction was illegal. A prosecutor must also prove the defendant was aware that the execution of a particular transaction happened for the purpose of protecting illegally obtained money. These facts provide a defense for people who feel they became involved in a money laundering transaction without their knowledge.
Individuals accused of money laundering and other white-collar crimes will need to defend themselves against these allegations to protect their freedom, finances, and good names. A criminal defense attorney may represent the best option for this.