Money laundering is a crime commonly associated with mobsters, embezzlers, drug traffickers, corrupt politicians, and public officials. While this is true, small business owners and everyday people can also commit the crime. Money laundering involves taking “dirty money” and making it clean so it can be used without being linked to criminal activity.
Money laundering is more common than you think. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, between $800 billion and $2 trillion are laundered each year accounting for about 3% of the planet’s GDP. Laws governing the crime are complicated and will require a certain level of expertise that can be found at the Coolidge Law Firm.
Here at the Coolidge Law Firm, we believe every client should be treated as a person rather than a criminal. We will make sure your side of the story is heard. Do not delay. The sooner you contact legal representation, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome.
Schedule your free consultation today. Call us or submit your information in the online contact form. The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients accused of white-collar crimes in Wake County areas including Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Garner and Apex.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the act of disguising profits of a crime and integrating it into a legitimate financial system. Before the dirty money goes through the laundering process, it’s difficult to use without having it traced back to the crime. Once the money is laundered, it will seem as though it came from a legitimate source and not criminal activity.
Money laundering can be done in many ways. Generally, though, the crime is broken into three stages:
- Placement: Funds from criminal activity are deposited into a legitimate financial institution such as a bank. This is the riskiest stage of the process since banks are required to report large cash deposits.
- Layering: The money is sent through numerous transfers making it difficult to follow. This can include sending it to offshore accounts, shell companies, or different accounts under different names. Layering can also include purchasing high-value items such as art or houses.
- Integration: The funds are returned through a legal transaction. This can include transferring money to a business account claiming it’s an investment or selling items bought during the layering stage.
What are the Penalties for Money Laundering in NC?
North Carolina doesn’t have any laws specifically targeting money laundering. Instead, the crime is charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as a form of racketeering activity. Penalties for the crime can include incarceration, fines, restitution, and forfeiture of assets.
During the civil forfeiture proceedings, all the property used or intended for use while committing the crime will be subject to forfeiture to the state. This can include handing over bank accounts, businesses, and assets purchased with the laundered money.
The court can also order the following civil penalties:
- Dissolve the business
- Suspend or revoke any license or permit issued to the business
- Restrict future investment opportunities
- Order divestment of interest in the business or property used to commit the crime
Crimes Associated with Money Laundering
Money laundering is rarely charged by itself. Instead, the crime is normally associated with other offenses such as drug trafficking, embezzlement, and bribery. Listed below is a brief definition of crimes related to money laundering and their penalties.
- Drug trafficking: Possessing, selling, manufacturing, delivering, or transporting large amounts of a controlled substance is considered drug trafficking. Penalties for the crime depend on the drug and its weight but can range from a class H felony to a class C felony. Visit our page over drug trafficking for the precise penalties for the crime.
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement involves taking advantage of a position within a business or corporation to steal money or property. The value of the stolen property will determine how the crime is charged. Stolen property less than $100,000 is a class H felony while property more than $100,000 is a class C felony.
- Bribery: Public officials who accept anything of value in return for doing or not doing something is illegal in North Carolina. Bribery is a class F felony punishable by 70 to 93 months in prison.
Money laundering is rarely charged on its own. This means you may be facing numerous charges and additional prison terms. To mitigate the chances of dealing with the worst, contact the Coolidge Law Firm.
Is Money Laundering a Federal Crime?
The United States Government considered money laundering a federal crime for the first time in 1986. Under the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, it’s a federal crime to commit money laundering, conspiring to commit the crime and transfer or attempt to transfer funds from the U.S. to a place outside the U.S. and vice versa.
Transferring money to offshore accounts isn’t illegal nor is transferring money from an offshore account into the U.S. What makes the act illegal is transferring money sourced from an illegal act to conceal where it came from or avoid transaction requirements required under state and federal law. Transferring illegal money is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, $500,000 fine or a fine twice the value of the funds involved, or both prison time and a fine.
Money laundering is also penalized with the same amount of prison time and fines. Conspiring, on the other hand, is only punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Federal conviction of money laundering also comes with civil penalties. These civil penalties include an additional fine of $10,000 or the value of the property or funds used to commit the crime.
Some of the country’s top agencies will investigate federal money laundering. These agencies can include the FBI, DEA, IRS, and ATF. They will have more time and resources to investigate your case than state prosecutors. Luckily, the Coolidge Law Firm has the experience necessary to take on these federal agencies.
Additional Resources for Money Laundering
Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 – Follow this link to read the act governing federal money laundering. You can read the precise legal definition of the crime, how foreigners are prosecuted, and a list of crimes associated with money laundering.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act | North Carolina General Statutes – Learn more about racketeering in North Carolina. You can find out how money laundering relates to the crime and learn about asset forfeiture proceedings, civil penalties, and the penalties for providing false testimony.
Speak to a Money Laundering Defense Attorney Today
It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of a defense attorney for money laundering charges. Not only could you be facing additional criminal charges, but prosecution from the Federal Government as well. Contact the Coolidge Law Firm now if you believe you are under investigation for money laundering.
Our defense team has proven experience taking on state and federal prosecutors. We will file motions, suppress evidence, and do whatever else is necessary to achieve a favorable outcome for your case. No case is ever too big for the Coolidge Law Firm.
Schedule a time to speak with us. Call (919) 239-8448 or submit your information in the online contact form. The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients of white-collar crimes in Wake County areas including Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Garner, and Apex.