Money Laundering

Money laundering involves the knowing use of funds ("proceeds") from some other unlawful activity (such as fraud or drug crimes) in a financial transaction. Money laundering crimes carry harsh sentences and longer prison time than most white collar prosecutions. There are three significant anti-money laundering statutes (all require a connection to interstate commerce but this is easily established).

The first statute, sometimes referred to as "transactional money laundering," prohibits "financial transactions" in criminal proceeds in the United States and abroad that would promote crimes, avoid currency reporting laws or evade taxes. A "financial transaction" can be virtually any transfer of money or property (purchases, sale, loan, gift, etc.). The prosecution must prove the defendant knew the funds were the proceeds of illegal activity and that the defendant conducted the financial transaction for the illegal purpose of promoting the carrying on of the unlawful activity, or concealing the nature, source or ownership of the proceeds of the unlawful activity, or avoiding a transaction reporting requirement (such as a bank reporting receiving $10,000 or more in one day).

The second statute, sometimes referred to as the "spending statute," prohibits spending more than $10,000 in illegal proceeds in a single transaction that involves a "financial institution." The spending statute also requires proof that the defendant knew the funds were from unlawful conduct. "Financial institution" means much more than a bank and can include a securities broker, a loan company, travel agency, car dealer, real estate company, etc. The spending statute requires a monetary transaction including a deposit, withdrawal or transfer of funds through or to a financial institution. The money involved (proceeds) must come from a "specified unlawful activity," most commonly drug distribution crimes, embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, securities fraud, health care fraud and many other types of crimes designated by the statute. Nevertheless, money laundering prosecutions require knowledge that the funds, "proceeds," were from some form of criminal activity.

A third statute involves cash transactions. The Bank Secrecy Act requires a Currency Transaction Report ("CTR") to be filed with the IRS by a financial institution (banks, broker, insurance company, car dealer, real estate closers, etc.) whenever more than $10,000 in currency is deposited or withdrawn in any one business day. Making multiple ("structured") deposits or withdrawals of cash from unlawful activity to avoid the bank's obligation to file a CTR, may be prosecuted as a violation of the Money Laundering Control Act or the Bank Secrecy Act.

If the funds involved are from illegal activity, prosecutors tend to prefer to charge money laundering under the Money Laundering Act instead of the Bank Secrecy Act because the Bank Secrecy Act requires proof of a "willful" violation (not only proof that the defendant knew he was avoiding the CTR reporting requirement but in addition he knew that to avoid that reporting was a violation of the law). Still, the prosecution must always prove that the defendant knew of the CTR reporting requirements of the financial institution and intentionally sought to avoid the filing of a CTR by that financial institution.

The Bank Secrecy Act also requires a "trade or business" to report receipt of currency of more than $10,000 in one transaction or related transactions. ("Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in Trade or Business," a "Form 8300"). Violating the reporting requirement or causing the failure to file a report, or structuring a transaction to avoid the requirement are subject to criminal penalties. The Act also requires the filing of an annual Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report form ("FBAR") if an individual or entity has an interest in financial accounts in a foreign country of a value of more than $10,000. The government has recently increased its efforts to target offshore activity. Willful failure to file an FBAR may result in prosecution.

Today's money laundering defendants need aggressive criminal defense representation more than ever before. Government prosecutors have become more assertive in seeking convictions against persons accused of money laundering, more resources are being devoted to prosecuting this crime. Violations of money laundering can lead to prison and can result in criminal forfeiture of assets. It is critical to have an attorney who is skilled at resolving the complex issues involved in federal criminal defense.

If you have been accused of money laundering, the Law Offices of William J. Mauzy will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

It is not uncommon to see money laundering charges combined with other federal charges. Typically, these are business-related charges such as securities fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, mortgage fraud and tax fraud. Bill Mauzy's team will promptly investigate all of the facts and fully prepare a defense for trial.

Mr. Mauzy's reputation in the legal community is the product of over 30 years of trial experience handling white collar crime cases of all kinds. He knows the daunting challenges and consequences you face upon conviction - and works hard to preserve your liberty and livelihood.

Criminal Defense Attorney William J. Mauzy — Successfully Tried More Than 100 State And Federal Trials For People Just Like You

If you have been singled out by the government for possible money laundering, structuring currency transactions, operation of offshore accounts, tax evasion or connections to funds alleged to have been derived from fraud, you need Bill Mauzy's experience on your side.

Contact our Minneapolis, Minnesota, lawyer today to secure a free initial consultation. Call 612-444-9466 or stay online to send an email message.