West Palm Beach Money Laundering Attorney
Money laundering is the act of concealing the source of certain funds/profits due to their illicit nature. It is an attempt to turn illegally obtained money into so-called ‘legitimate’ cash. Transferring funds that were obtained illegally andtrying to conceal the true source of funds are both criminal offenses. Money laundering is a serious crime that can be charged at either the federal level or state level.
Money laundering is a complex and often confusing accusation involving multiple monetary transactions, demands from the government for years of records and detailed financial statements, in addition to the stress these charges put on you, your family, and potentially your business. The West Palm Beach money laundering attorneys at the Skier Law Firm understand the complicated nature of money laundering charges and are here to help.
At the Skier Law Firm, P.A., our West Palm Beach money laundering attorneys are aggressive advocates for our clients. We have the unique legal skills required to prepare a strong defense in complex money laundering cases. If you or your loved one is facing money laundering charges in Palm Beach County, FL, you need to take action. Please do not hesitate to contact our legal team for a free, private initial consultation.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is a serious crime that can be prosecuted at the state and federal level. It involves using legitimate financial transactions to conceal, disguise, hide, or process money that was generated through criminal activity. Illegal activities can include blackmail, bribery, drug dealing, extortion, trafficking of drugs, guns, or people, stealing, and financial fraud. Under federal law 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1956, this includes monetary transactions inside or to a place outside the United States.
Florida Money Laundering Act
Under the Florida Money Laundering Act (Florida Statute § 896.101), Florida residents are strictly prohibited from conducting (or conspiring to conduct) financial transactions or engaging in the transport of funds that are intentionally designed to conceal the source of illegally obtained assets.
Notably, the term ‘conduct’ is broadly defined under Florida law. In order to prove money laundering charges in Florida, prosecutors must be able to establish the following two basic legal elements:
- Knowledge; and
A person cannot be convicted of money laundering in Florida unless they had actual knowledge of what they were doing and they explicitly intended to launder money. In some cases, prosecutors bring money laundering charges without sufficient evidence to prove the crime.
In 2015, Florida passed the Money Laundering Act, which imposes harsh penalties for people convicted of money laundering charges and makes it easier for the state to prosecute people for this crime. Under the law, money laundering is defined as conducting or attempting to conduct financial transactions or transport or attempt to transport funds, knowing that the money comes from illegal activity. A person can be charged with money laundering under the Florida Money Laundering Act in either of two categories: transaction or transportation.
There are many transactions that can be considered money laundering under the Act. This includes gifts, loans, sales, purchases, investments, currency exchange, and wire transfers if done with money obtained unlawfully. Property purchases can also be considered money laundering if it is done to hide illegal funds.
Punishments for Money Laundering in Florida
Under federal law, the punishment for money laundering is a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, and/or a federal prison sentence of up to twenty years. If prosecuted under the Florida Money Laundering Act, the punishment is as follows:
- Transactions between $300 and $20,000 within a one year period: Third degree felony
- Up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and/or a fine up to $5,000
- Transactions between $20,001 and $100,000 within a one year period: Second degree felony
- Up to fifteen years in prison, fifteen years of probation, and/or a fine up to $10,000
- Transactions exceeding $100,000 within a one year period: First degree felony
- Up to thirty years in prison, thirty years of probation, and a $10,000 fine
Special fines can also be imposed under the Florida Money Laundering Act on top of the other punishment. Given the serious nature of these penalties, it is incredibly important to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of a money laundering charge.
How Our Money Laundering Defense Attorneys Can Help
Depending on the nature of the case, allegations of money laundering may be investigated by federal authorities, state authorities, or both. In most cases, money laundering charges are brought after a lengthy, comprehensive investigation by government officials. This is a charge that is often brought concurrently with other criminal offenses or as part of a larger enforcement operation. The most prominent examples include drug trafficking or drug manufacturing charges.
If you are facing money laundering charges in West Palm Beach, FL, you should be represented by an aggressive white collar defense lawyer. Your legal advocate will be able to help you gather evidence to counter the prosecution’s claim. With this, your lawyer will be able to help you and can build the strongest legal defense. Of course, the appropriate defense strategy will always depend entirely on the underlying facts of the case.
Were You Arrested for Money Laundering in West Palm Beach?
Our legal team can help. At the Skier Law Firm, P.A., our South Florida criminal defense lawyers have deep experience handling complex money laundering cases. This is a very serious criminal offense. If you or a loved one was charged with money laundering in Palm Beach County, please contact our West Palm Beach law office at (561) 820-1508 for a free, no obligation consultation.