Atlanta Money Laundering Attorneys
One often hears the terms “white collar crime” and “financial crime” used interchangeably to refer to illegal activities that involve the theft or misrepresentation of large sums of money and in which violence, illegal drugs, and sex crimes play only a minor or auxiliary role, if they even play any role at all. “Financial crime” is a more accurate term, because “white collar crime” calls to mind illegal dealings that take place in the context of legal and prestigious businesses, such as healthcare fraud by members of health professions, high ranking employees embezzling from corporations, or insider trading by members of the finance industry. In fact, some financial crimes are linked to activities more closely associated with the criminal underworld, such as drug dealing and weapons trafficking. If your only role in a large illegal operation was to make financial transactions to obscure the origins of the money, you could still get charged with the crime of money laundering. If this happens, the Atlanta financial crimes defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam can help you fight the charges and avoid a long prison sentence.
Where Does Dirty Money Come From?
Money laundering includes making financial transactions to conceal the origins of illegally obtained money or falsifying records to make the proceeds of criminal activities appear to derive from legal business operations. These are just some of the possible origins of the money involved in money laundering cases:
- Drug trafficking or illegal manufacture of controlled substances
- Weapons smuggling
- Human trafficking or illegal sex work
- Illegal gambling
- Kickbacks paid to co-conspirators in financial crimes such as healthcare fraud
To get charged with money laundering, all you have to do is deposit, withdraw, or transfer the money while knowing that it is associated with illegal activity by hiding this fact from financial institutions or the IRS. You do not even need to know any other details about the illegal operation besides that your task is to launder money from it. Money laundering carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines in excess of $500,000.
Possible Defenses to Charges of Money Laundering
If you are charged with money laundering or any other crime, you have the right to plead innocent and to receive legal representation by an attorney. Some defendants in money laundering cases have received a verdict of not guilty after arguing that they did not know that the money they were handling came from criminal activities. For example, you might have just been doing your job by depositing cash in a business bank account at the end of every shift, without knowing that your boss was receiving kickbacks. Some defendants have shown that they engaged in money laundering under duress. For example, maybe your drug dealing roommate threatened you that, if you did not deposit his drug money in your bank account, he would shoot you or plant drugs in your car and send you to prison.