What is Money Laundering?
Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers
Money laundering is the criminal activity of channeling money that is received through illegal activity and putting it into other legal resources to conceal it. For example, money made from selling illegal drugs could be invested in a business. The intent behind the money laundering is to disguise or conceal the source of the money, and thereby prevent that money from being seized or taxed by the government, as well as eluding detection and prosecution. This crime falls under the umbrella of white collar crimes.
Money laundering has in recent years received more and more attention from local and federal law enforcement due to its role in financing terrorism. These agencies, including the FBI and Attorney General's Office, are devoting more time and resources to investigating and convicting money laundering crimes.
These cases can be complex and tedious. Being investigated and/or charged of this crime can be very intimidating. If you are facing charges of money laundering, you would be wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately about the matter.
Common Types of Money Laundering Cases
Many people think of drug crimes when they think of money laundering. While this is prevalent, money laundering is also associated with other areas of crime. These can include business fraud, mortgage fraud, real estate fraud, illegal wire transfers, health care fraud, and more. One example is a phony check cashing outlet created to cash insurance checks that were issued in fraudulent health insurance claims.
If you are caught trying to hide the source of money deposited in a bank account, or concealing the source of cash that is invested in a business, you could be facing prison time. Organizations or businesses that have received money that has been laundered are open to having the government seize that money. In fact, if it can be proven that any portion of the money taken in by the organization is connected to illegal activity, the government can take all of the money, not just the amount in question.
Recently, the Florida government, as well as the federal government, has enacted laws in order to more easily uncover illegal activities such as this. Banks are cooperating by using more advanced data systems as well as high tech security systems. They also actively train employees on what to look for and maintain an ongoing working relationship with law enforcement.
Penalties for Money Laundering in Florida
You can be facing as much as 30 years in prison for a first degree felony if you are convicted of money laundering in Florida.
- The severity of the punishment is related to how much money was involved:
- Up to 5 years in state prison - 3rd degree felony for $301-$19,999 within a 12 month period
- Up to 15 years in state prison – 2nd degree felony for $20,000-$99,999 within a 12 month period
- Up to 30 years in state prison – 1st degree felony for $100,000 or more
If you are charged with money laundering, or are under investigation, it is crucial to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at the law firm of Leskovich Law Group, P.A., proudly serve Southwest Florida, have 35 years of combined experience in dealing with money laundering and other white collar crimes.
It takes much skill to successfully defend these charges. You need a professional who will tirelessly work to defend your constitutional rights, whether you are only under investigation or you have been arrested.
We also offer a free case evaluation, so contact us today.