Have you been accused of money laundering? Are you unsure of what to do next?
Money laundering is a very serious offense, and it can land you in prison for up to 20 years and result in millions of dollars in fines. What should you do if you’ve been accused of money laundering?
Check out this guide to learn the next steps to take if someone has accused you of money laundering.
What is Money Laundering?
Before we dive into what you need to do if someone accuses you of money laundering, we first need to answer the question, “What is money laundering?”
Money laundering is an illegal process in which someone makes large amounts of money through criminal activity, yet makes it appear like this money was made through a legitimate source.
For example, someone may launder money through drug trafficking, yet make it appear like they made this money through a regular job. Because dealing with large amounts of cash is inefficient and dangerous, criminals need a way to deposit their money into secure financial institutions.
Of course, a criminal can’t walk into a bank and say they earned their money through drug trafficking, so they first need to make it look like they got the money from a legitimate source.
Typically, money laundering involves three steps. The first step involves placing the “dirty” money into a legitimate financial institution. The second step involves concealing the source of money through a series of bookkeeping tricks and transactions.
The third step in the money laundering process involves withdrawing the laundered money from a legitimate account to fund further criminal activity.
While there are many different ways to launder money, most of the time, it’s done by using a legitimate business as a front for criminal activity.
You’ve probably heard someone refer to a business as a “front for laundering money”. Basically, this involves someone starting a legitimate business (such as a restaurant or hair salon) and then moving illegal income from drug trafficking or other sources in and out of this business.
Another form of money laundering is called smurfing. This involves breaking up large chunks of money into smaller deposits spread throughout different accounts in order to remain undetected.
Money can also be laundered electrically by using a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of Money Laundering
Because money laundering is such a complicated process, proving the crime can be quite difficult. If you’ve been accused of money laundering, here’s what you need to do:
- Hire a Lawyer
First things first, you need to hire a lawyer who can help you dispute the allegations. You’ll want to hire a defense attorney who has experience with money laundering cases.
Here are some tips for finding the right lawyer:
- Talk to more than one attorney before choosing one to represent you
- Schedule free consultations with attorneys to find one that’s the right fit
- Look for a lawyer with trial experience
- Look for a lawyer with a proven track record of defeating money laundering lawsuits
- Make sure you understand the lawyer’s fees and costs
- Consider hiring a team of lawyers if it’s a sizeable lawsuit
- Read customer reviews and testimonials, and ask each lawyer for a list of references
- Avoid hiring lawyers who actively solicit your business
- Make sure the lawyer is in good standing with the American Bar Association and the Better Business Bureau
- Make sure you understand the steps you need to take to fire a lawyer if they’re not a good fit
- Ask the lawyer who all will be handling your case (legal secretaries, paralegals, etc)
- Understand how often the lawyer will be in touch with you and how they’ll communicate with you
A good lawyer is imperative if you want to win your case, so take your time researching law firms in your area before deciding on a lawyer.
- Don’t Discuss Your Case With Anyone
As tempted as you may be to vent about the situation you’re in, it’s very important that you don’t discuss your case with anyone, even those you wholeheartedly trust.
Discussing your situation with others could jeopardize your future and your freedom. The only person you should discuss your case with is your lawyer, as these discussions are protected by client-attorney privilege laws.
Don’t talk about your case with family members or friends, and avoid posting about your case on social media at all costs.
- Gather Evidence and Build Your Case
Once you’ve obtained a criminal defense attorney, it’s time to start gathering evidence and building your defense case. Of course, your lawyer can help you figure out what evidence you need to gather, but if you have any tangible evidence that could prove your innocence, you should hand it over immediately.
Tangible evidence may include things like bank statements, legal documents, time cards, receipts, emails, proof of income, or business records. If you think you have something that may be remotely helpful, hand it over to your lawyer. You never know which piece of evidence is going to help you win your case.
Are You Ready to Beat Your Money Laundering Charges?
Now that you know what to do if you’ve been accused of money laundering, it’s time to act. Begin by doing some online research to find the right lawyer, create a shortlist of potential lawyers, and then schedule consultations with each one of them.
While money laundering charges are very serious, the right lawyer can help you put these charges behind you so you can move on with your life.
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