Money laundering involves the process of sending money through various financial transactions, making it hard for people to distinguish its illegal origin.
After obtaining a large sum of money in an illegal fashion, people cannot simply enjoy the funds by taking lavish vacations and purchasing elite property. They must first put the money through a process of transactions designed to mask the actual origin of the cash. This process, known as money laundering, is a serious crime in Texas and across the country. Money laundering is considered a white collar crime and it can have severe consequences for those who are convicted. Historically, money laundering has been associated with gangsters and terrorists, and it continues to plague the U.S. financial system, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The process of money laundering
Although people can choose to launder money through a variety of methods, the money laundering process follows three basic steps, according to Cornell University. The crime begins when a person first receives money through some type of illegal activity. The person then submits the cash through a series of complex financial transactions, which ultimately clouds where the money came from. Lastly, the financial transactions return the illegal cash to the money launderer.
Some people use shell companies to launder and hide their funds. These incorporated companies do not conduct business as usual with the public. Instead, they take laundered cash and create fake receipts and invoices to account for the funds. The money can then be returned to the launderer or sent to another shell company for further ‘cleaning.’
Money laundering as a federal crime
According to Cornell University, money laundering was made a federal crime with the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986. The Criminal Resource Manual reported that in order to be criminally convicted of money laundering, the prosecution must prove the following:
- The suspect conducted or was in the process of conducting a financial transaction involving money obtained illegally.
- The suspect knew that the property involved in the transaction was derived from a crime.
- The suspect participated in, initiated or concluded a financial transaction, with the intent to carry out an illegal activity, engage in tax fraud, disguise a crime and/or avoid reporting the money to the government.
According to the Criminal Resource Manual, the suspect does not need to know the details of how the money was illegally obtained, such as the specific crime that was committed. They only need to know that the money was obtained through a federal, state or foreign crime.
Partnering with an attorney
White collar crimes, such as money laundering, can wreak havoc on your life. Not only are there strict consequences associated with money laundering, but the crime can have long-term effects on your life. A criminal defense attorney may be helpful in exploring your options if you have been charged with money laundering in Texas or any other type of white collar crime.
Keywords: money laundering, crime, defense, arrest