Money laundering refers to the process of making dirty money appear clean.
Suppose a person earns large amounts of money through the illegal sale of drugs. That person cannot walk into a bank and deposit large amounts of cash without any explanation as to the source of those funds.
For that reason, the person may try to “launder” the cash to make it appear to come from a legitimate source.
The person may, for example, inject dirty cash into a restaurant or other business that operates in part through receipt of cash payments. The person then reports the dirty cash as profit from the restaurant, thereby making it appear that the money was earned legitimately.
Defending against a money-laundering charge
Money laundering is a federal crime that carries significant penalties.
In order to convict a person of money laundering, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knew funds were from an illegal source, like the sale of drugs.
A person facing money laundering charges may argue that they lacked knowledge of the criminal nature of their activities. Indeed, it is not uncommon for people to unknowingly get involved in money laundering.
It is also necessary for the government to prove funds actually came from an illegitimate source. Financial transactions can be complicated and mistakes occur, so it is important to hold the government to its burden of proving the allegedly laundered money was in fact “dirty” money.
Assistance of an attorney
The best defense will vary by case and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side if you face allegations of money laundering. An attorney can help identify potential defenses and hold the government to its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.