Miami Money Laundering Lawyer
While many Miami residents operate legitimate businesses and handle financial matters responsibly, white collar crime does occur in South Florida. If you have been accused of state or federal money laundering you can face substantial criminal penalties. Like other white collar offenses, money laundering is taken very seriously by prosecutors and judges in South Florida and the U.S. government.
At Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC, we have years of experience assisting Miami residents with money laundering charges. Whether you’ve been charged with money laundering in federal or state court, contact our Miami money laundering lawyers today to learn about how we can help with your defense.
Defining Money Laundering in Miami
Money laundering is a term that we hear about with some frequency but may not fully understand. According to the Legal Information Institute, money laundering generally is defined as “a financial transaction scheme that aims to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illicitly-obtained money.” In other words, money laundering is a crime in which someone tries to make it look as though they’ve obtained money through legal means when that money actually was acquired through illegal means.
In Florida, money laundering is governed by Florida Statute § 896.101. According to the Florida statute, money laundering is an act defined by:
- “Knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity,” and conducting or attempting to conduct “such a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of the specified unlawful activity.”
Under Florida law, money laundering also includes either the intent to commit an illegal act, or knowingly being involved in an illegal act. As you can see, the laws surrounding money laundering are particularly complex, and it’s very important to discuss your case with an experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer.
At the federal level, money laundering is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 1956. According to federal law, money laundering can be a domestic transaction, international transaction, or a sting operation. To be criminally culpable for federal money laundering, you must “conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction, knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represents the proceeds of some unlawful activity, with one of the four specific intents discussed below, and the property must in fact be derived from a specified unlawful activity.”
The punishments for federal money laundering are severe. The court has routinely held that every single transaction can be considered a separate count in federal court. In addition, each count can carry up to a twenty year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine or twice the amount that was involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. The federal government can also impose a civil penalty for each count of money laundering in the amount of $10,000 per transaction or the value of the funds, whichever is greater.
Crimes Involved in Miami Money Laundering
According to the Legal Information Institute, money laundering typically involves three different steps:
- First, an illegal activity—a crime—takes place in which a money launderer comes into possession of the money;
- Second, the money launderer passes the illegally obtained funds through “a complex scheme of transactions” that’s intended to hide the original source of the money; and
- Third, the money “cleaning” scheme results in the launderer getting the money back, but only after its source has been hidden or obscured.
Often, money laundering involves other white collar crimes, and in certain cases, even violent crimes. Money that is obtained illegally and laundered can involve some of the following offenses:
- Theft and robbery;
- Sale of stolen goods;
- Extortion, blackmail, and bribery;
- Financial crimes, such as tax fraud, Medicare fraud, and mortgage fraud; and
- Drug dealing.
Because the laws that govern offshore bank accounts are different from the laws for accounts within the United States, money laundering frequently involves overseas accounts. Since Florida is a destination from which it’s relatively easy to reach some of the notorious Caribbean islands, prosecutors are especially vigilant about white collar crimes and money laundering in the Miami area.
Contact An Experienced Miami Money Laundering Lawyer
Have you been charged with state or federal money laundering or another white collar offense? A financial crime like money laundering can lead to extensive monetary fines and, in many cases, jail time. Don’t face the risks of a money laundering conviction on your own. Contact a Miami criminal lawyer today.