West Palm Beach Money Laundering & Racketeering Attorney (RICO)
Many federal crimes are so broadly defined that prosecutors can use them as swords against otherwise legitimate businesses and respectable businesspeople. Among the two favorites of federal prosecutors are money laundering & racketeering. If you have been accused of a federal crime, you need to “lawyer up” as soon as possible, contact the West Palm Beach money laundering & racketeering attorneys at Skier Law Firm.
Money laundering is an attempt to disguise where money is coming from because the money was obtained through illegal activities. By laundering the money, the defendants can introduce it as lawful money into the U.S. financial system.
Money laundering took flight in the 1920s, when the Mafia established laundromats as front business to disguise where their money was really coming from—criminal activity. Because laundromats traffic in lots of cash, it was easy for the Mafia to introduce their illicit proceeds and claim they were really proceeds from the laundry marts. Criminals today establish businesses for the same purpose. For example, someone with a booming drug business might open a nail salon so that they can launder the drug money through the business.
Because front businesses are not operated for profit, they can undercut the local West Palm Beach economy, which is why the government has an added incentive to root out money laundering. The federal government’s Money Laundering Act, found at 18 USC § 1956 and § 1957, makes it a crime to participate in money laundering.
The federal RICO Act was also adopted to prosecute Mafia activities in the 1970s. It provides for enhanced criminal penalties for activity as part of concerted criminal enterprises. RICO law prohibits a multitude of criminal activities which are defined under 18 U.S.C. § 1961, including:
- Dealing in a controlled substance
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Securities fraud
- Obstruction of justice
To be convicted, a defendant must have committed at least two acts of racketeering which cannot be more than 10 years apart. In other words, there must be a pattern of activity, and not an isolated criminal act.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties for money laundering and racketeering are severe. For example, a person convicted of racketeering can face a fine up to $25,000 and up to 20 years for each count. Furthermore, the government can force the defendant to give back any profits and can also seek an injunction to seize your property to prevent you from transferring it. Many businesses can be outright destroyed if the government secures a conviction for racketeering, and prosecutors have an incentive to push their luck to exploit gray areas in the statute.
Speak with a West Palm Beach Money Laundering & RICO Attorney
If you have been accused of money laundering or racketeering, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney immediately. It is possible to defend against these charges, but your lawyer needs as much time as possible to survey the evidence and identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
At the Skier Law Firm, our white collar criminal defense attorneys in West Palm Beach are prepared to hold prosecutors to their burden of proof. To schedule your confidential initial consultation, please reach out to us today.