What Is Money Laundering?
When money is gained through illegal means, that money is, itself, illegal. People involved in criminal enterprises must find a way to make the money appear legitimate. It needs to be “cleaned.”
This is where money laundering comes in. Normally, illegal money is pumped through a business. That business’s bookkeepers make it look like the business is profitable. This profit is just the money someone gained through criminal activity.
Sometimes, people launder money through several bank accounts. They continue to route the money to different destinations. After some time, it becomes difficult to trace the money’s source. When it finally lands in someone’s bank account, it appears legitimate.
Money Laundering Penalties in Nevada
The state takes laundering very seriously. A guilty conviction could lead to up to 20 years in prison. Fines are steep, too. A suspect could pay $500,000 or twice the amount of the laundered money, whichever is greater.
Defenses Against Money Laundering Allegations
Laundering usually takes place through a third party. The criminal organization uses a lawyer, banker, or other professional to handle their cash.
If you’ve been accused of money laundering, consider some of the options below. Then discuss them with your attorney, deciding together which will work best for your case.
You Were Unaware
It’s easy for shady characters to control and manipulate others. Some criminals openly hire another person to launder their money, but others are secretive about their intentions.
You could easily take on a new client and help them with their money, having no idea you are involved in a criminal scheme. It’s embarrassing to admit you were duped, but this defense could also keep you free from facing felony charges.
You Acted Under Duress
As easy as it is to commit a crime by accident, it’s just as easy to do so when threatened. Criminal organizations don’t care about the people they use, and when necessary, they will put pressure on someone.
You may have been completely aware that you were breaking the law, but you were only doing so because you or your family had been threatened with harm or death. This is called “operating under duress,” and it is a justifiable defense in court.
Your Actions Were Not Concealed
When it comes to a crime, the law is specific. Prosecutors must prove every part of a crime to secure a successful conviction.
Concealment is a crucial part of a money laundering charge. It’s not enough to simply move the money. The suspect must take steps to keep their actions a secret.
If you were openly moving illegal money around, you technically didn’t commit a laundering crime. Small details like these can help someone remain innocent and free.
The Money’s Source Was Not Illegal
Just because the money came from a known criminal, that doesn’t mean it came from an illegal source. Remember, money laundering involves money that came from drug sales, prostitution, thievery, or any other illegal means.
If you can trace the allegedly laundered money to a reputable source, you may be able to escape a conviction.
Our firm can help you fight money laundering charges. For a free consultation, reach out to us today by calling (775) 502-1575 or filling out our online contact form.