Money laundering is defined as the practice of engaging in specific financial transactions in order to conceal the identity, source, and/or destination of money, the so-called "cleaning of money." Any financial transaction which generates money as the result of an illegal activity implicates money laundering, as well as other offenses such as tax fraud or false accounting.
Money laundering in West Palm Beach can be carried out by individuals, small and large businesses, corrupt officials, or members of organized crime (such as street gangs or the Mafia) through a complex network of shell companies and/or trusts based in offshore tax havens.
The basic money laundering process has three steps:
Placement - "Dirty" money from illegal activities is placed into a legitimate financial institution, often in the form of cash bank deposits. This is the riskiest stage of the laundering process because banks are required to report high-value cash deposits to the federal government.
Cleaning - The money is sent from the placement bank through various financial transactions to change its form and make it difficult to follow. This step can consist of several bank-to-bank transfers, wire transfers between different accounts in different names in different countries, making deposits and withdrawals to continually vary the amount of money in the accounts, changing the money's currency, or purchasing high-value items (boats, houses, cars, diamonds) to change the form of the money.
Integration - The money re-enters the mainstream economy in legitimate-looking form, appearing to come from a legal transaction. This may involve a final bank transfer into the account of a business in which the launderer is "investing," the sale of a high-value item bought during the cleaning stage, or the purchase of expensive products from a company owned by the launderer. At this point, the money becomes legitimate, and can be used without the launderer getting caught.
Money laundering carries a sentence of anywhere from 5 years to life in prison. Because of the complexity of money laundering schemes, it is crucial to have a federal criminal defense attorney who understands the nature of the offense. The Law Office of Ann Fitz can help-call us today.