White Collar Defense: What to Know if You’re Charged with Money Laundering in Florida

Money laundering is a very serious crime, and one that is often prosecuted harshly in the United States Federal Courts and the State of Florida. If you or someone you know has been charged with money laundering, it is absolutely essential that you contact an attorney immediately. This is not something that you will be able to handle on your own. In addition to retaining an experienced defense attorney, it is also smart to educate yourself as much as possible about the charges you are facing. Today, we provide an overview:

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering typically is the act of concealing the true nature of money earned through unlawful activities. The charge is typically brought in conjunction with another underlying offense, such as fraud or drug trafficking. The act of concealing or disguising the true nature of money which was illegally obtained, so that it appears to be the product of lawful activity is the essence of money laundering.

Money laundering can be defined as knowingly conducting a financial transaction with money or property which proceeds unlawful activity with the intent to conceal or disguise the illegal nature of the money. Just about any type of financial transaction can qualify, including making purchases, sales, gifts, taking or giving loans, bank deposits, currency exchanges and many others.

The Role of An Attorney

It is incumbent upon your attorney to analyze financial records and navigate what can be a very complicated maze of financial transactions to determine what legal defenses may be available to contest the charges. As an example, one of the most important elements of the crime is that the accused person have knowledge that the money which is being used in a financial transaction is the product of illegal activity. If this element of the crime cannot be demonstrated by the government, then a conviction cannot be obtained.

Possible Penalties

In the Florida state courts, the severity of the possible penalties increase based upon the amount of money involved, as follows:

  • First Degree Felony – When the total combined transaction value is above $100,000 in a 12 month period, the maximum punishment is 30 years imprisonment.
  • Second Degree Felony – When the total combined transaction value is between $20,000 and $100,000 in a 12 month period, the maximum punishment is 15 years imprisonment.
  • Third Degree Felony – When the total combined transaction value is between $300 and $20,000 in a 12 month period, the maximum punishment is 5 years imprisonment.

In the United States Federal Courts, the maximum possible sentence is 20 years imprisonment, regardless of the amount of money involved. However, the possible range of sentences which may be imposed under the United States Sentencing Guidelines is heavily dependent upon the amount of money which is involved in the money laundering activity.

In addition to any potential jail time, a conviction for money laundering can also include a monetary fine, as well as restitution and forfeiture of assets. Since it is a felony offense, a conviction will also result in the loss of civil rights, such as the right to vote, sit on a jury, and possess a firearm, among others. If the offender is not a United States Citizen, then it may also result in removal from the United States.

If you, a loved one, friend or business associate has been accused of money laundering, there is no time to waste. Please contact us today at (305) 373-4400 to discuss your case.

Written by Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

For 34 years, I have provided both State- and Federal-Level representation for those facing charges ranging from wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and healthcare fraud to identity theft, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, DUI, domestic violence and numerous other criminal charges. In every case, it is my commitment to one-on-one service and support that has separated the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax from other criminal defense firms. When it comes to your future, you need a strong defense and the ability to make the right choices and regain control of your life.