Money Laundering is a Serious Offense
Money laundering is not a crime you hear about very often. As a financially-based white collar crime, it is not the type of offense that makes the front page of the newspaper. A recent report in the South Florida Journal, however, discusses a group of Florida residents who are currently facing charges for an alleged money laundering scheme. Though these types of charges do not elicit the same level of public interest as violent offenses, they are still very serious and the accused should quickly secure the services of an experienced attorney who can put forth an aggressive defense.
According to the article, three residents of South Florida were charged for their alleged involvement in a plan that was reportedly aimed at laundering money received through a retirement funds scheme. The accused reportedly represented themselves as brokers for investments in precious metals. Based on their claims, 17 individuals reportedly withdrew funds from their retirement funds in order to make investments with the accused. Investigators assert that amount of money actually invested in precious stones equaled less than one percent of the alleged victims’ funds.
Attorney General Pam Bondi is quoted in the article as stating, “The victims in this case used their life-savings to participate in an alleged ‘investment opportunity’ only to be left empty-handed.” According to the report, the laundered funds in this incident total about $1.2 million. The accused are reportedly facing racketeering and unlicensed telemarketing charges, in addition to the money laundering charges.
Florida’s Money Laundering Laws
Under Florida law, money laundering is listed as an offense related to financial transactions. Some elements of the statute are as follows:
- Knowledge that the handled money came from an illegal transaction
- Purposely avoiding government reporting requirements
- Concealing the money obtained from a criminal activity
A money laundering conviction is a felony, though the degree varies depending on the amount of money involved.
- Third Degree Felony – Transactions between $300 and $20,000 within a 12-month period
- Second Degree Felony – Transactions between $20,000 and $100,000 within a 12-month period
- First Degree Felony – Transactions totaling or exceeding $100,000 within a 12-month period
Additional charges may also apply if the state alleges collusion between multiple parties.
Fighting a Money Laundering Charge
An experienced attorney is vital in the defense of a money laundering charge. He or she may challenge the knowledge element of the crime by arguing that you did not know about the illegality of the funds. They may also argue against the assertion that you purposely concealed funds. If the court does not acquit you of the charges, your attorney may successfully lower the penalty by working with the prosecuting attorney or successfully presenting evidence that lowers the total transaction amount.
If you or a loved one is facing money laundering charges, Attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC in Miami today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.