Money Laundering Defense in New York City

NYC White Collar Crime Attorney

Washing machine full of money

Money laundering is necessary because funds which are obtained from criminal activities cannot be spent without the possibility of being traced. There are numerous ways to launder money, but the end goal is the same: to hide the true source of the money. Due to the nature of this offense, it is impossible to discover exactly how much money is laundered every year, but it is a considerable amount as law enforcement and governments are doing their upmost to put a stop to this crime. This said, it is estimated that billions of dollars are laundered in the U.S. alone every year.

The Financial Action Task Force was set up in 1989 in order to attempt to regulate money laundering. This inter-governmental organization was not only set up because of money laundering in and of itself, but due to the fact that it is used to fund terrorist activities and purchase weapons of mass destruction. The goal of a large amount of crimes is monetary profit. For this reason, money laundering must occur so that they can enjoy the proceeds of their actions. Drug crimes, prostitution, arms sales and smuggling, embezzlement, and fraud are just examples of some of the crimes which could require money laundering as an added crime. Team up with a New York City criminal attorney for help in your case.

How Does Money Laundering Work?

There are three main steps to successfully laundering money without undesired notice from the authorities. The first is placement. This is the most dangerous stage of the process as it involves the initial deposit of funds into a legitimate financial institution. It is usually deposited in cash form into separate bank accounts. As banks are required to report unusually high deposits, smaller amounts may be deposited in order to avoid suspicion. The second stage of money laundering is layering. By changing the form of the money and making different purchases, the source of the money can be hidden, even if investigators trace the money back several steps. For example, the currency can be converted, it can be used to purchase high-value items such as jewelry, art, or property. It could also be deposited and withdrawn from different bank accounts several times in varying amounts.

The last stage which has to take place before the money appears to be legitimate is integration. The funds could be deposited into a U.S. bank account from the sale of a high-price item or the sale of a business. Another way it could be integrated into the system is through a company used as a front. The money launderer could purchase an item from their own store or invest the money in the company. Once the money has reached this step in the process, it is almost impossible to convict them of a crime. The reason for this is the lack of documentation and the layers of legitimate sources.

New York Penal Code: Article 470

Every state will have different laws regarding money laundering. Under New York Penal Code §§470.00-470.25 (2011), the charges and penalties are divided from fourth to first degree. There will also be different penalties if there the funds were used to support terrorism. The fines of money laundering include paying a fine of up to two times the value of what was laundered. The impact on the victims as well as the circumstances of the crime will also be taken into consideration.

Have you been accused of this felony offense? You need to ensure that you are properly represented. Our white collar crime lawyers at H. Benjamin Perez & Associates, P.C. has the skill and experience necessary to defend you. Call us to get started!