Money Laundering Defense Lawyers
San Antonio Money Laundering Defense Lawyers
Are you under investigation for money laundering in San Antonio? Any allegations, let alone charges, may put your financial security, reputation, and freedom at risk. You need a criminal defense firm with the skills and experience required to deal with federal agents, investigators, and prosecutors.
The San Antonio money laundering defense lawyers at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC have a strong reputation for protecting the rights of clients facing federal charges. We understand the unique issues surrounding money laundering charges and present a strong defense of those facing criminal proceedings in federal courts.
Strong Criminal Defense When You Need It
Whenever possible, we work actively with prosecutorial and investigative agencies to prevent criminal charges from being filed against our clients in the first place. Our constant goal is to protect you from the serious personal, professional, and financial repercussions that a conviction can bring.
Should charges be filed, we are prepared to provide a thorough and vigorous courtroom defense. Whenever our client’s freedom is at stake, we are tenacious in challenging the prosecution’s theories, claims, and evidence in order to attain the best possible result.
Money Laundering Often Involves Federal Investigations
Money laundering refers to the process of concealing the true source of ill-gotten income and redistributing it. The scheme involves “cleaning” the money through a series of legitimate, complex financial transactions so that it appears that it came from a legitimate source. A few examples of illegal activity tied to money laundering include:
- Narcotics trafficking
- Medicaid fraud
- Bank fraud
- Securities fraud
- Bribery of government officials
- Human trafficking
- Violent crimes
While money laundering can be charged in a Texas state court, the federal government is usually responsible for investigating and prosecuting those suspected of such crimes. The Money Laundering Act of 1986 prohibits individuals from carrying out financial transactions with proceeds earned from certain illegal actions, known as specified unlawful activities. There are other federal laws against money laundering and the processes involved. The Bank Secrecy Act, the Patriot Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act fall into this category.
Tax evasion, or the deliberate underreporting of income, is often seen in cases involving money laundering since income from the laundered money is not reported to the Internal Revenue Service. In some cases, the government will pursue tax evasion charges over money laundering since securing a conviction can be easier.
Money Laundering Charges Explained
To be found guilty of money laundering, you must be intentionally concealing the source, control, or ownership of the funds. In addition:
- There is no minimum amount of money for charges to be laid.
- The transaction does not have to be successful. Merely passing money from one person to another with the intent of disguising its source, control, location, or ownership is legally treated as a financial transaction.
Those being investigated or indicted by a grand jury face a determined, well-prepared, and highly experienced team of federal prosecutors and their associates. These prosecutors spend hours preparing charges, and they are determined to win at all costs. Defendants can expect a difficult legal battle, which is why you should seek help from San Antonio money laundering defense lawyers experienced in such cases.
Common Methods of Money Laundering
While there are many different ways of laundering money, the primary goal is to use the dirty or illegal money for personal gain. Below is an overview of the more common methods.
- Structuring: Known as smurfing, structuring involves breaking cash down into smaller deposits in order to reduce suspicions of money laundering and to avoid reporting requirements.
- High Cash Businesses: Businesses dealing in receiving large amounts of cash use the business’s account to deposit both legitimate and illegitimate cash, but they claim that all the money is legal. Businesses that may use this method include casinos, strip clubs, parking garages, etc.
- Real Estate: Someone purchases real estate with dirty money and then proceeds to sell the property, receiving clean cash as a result.
- Bulk Cash Smuggling: In this method, cash is secretly taken to another jurisdiction and then deposited in a bank or another financial institution. In many cases, offshore institutions are used in countries where laws regarding laundering are less strict or where client accounts are kept secret.
- Shell Companies and Trusts: Trusts and shell companies are created because some jurisdictions and countries don’t require these entities to disclose whoever owns or controls them. This method involves illegal money being transferred offshore, where monetary transaction reporting requirements are either weakly enforced or non-existent.
Whenever someone is unable to utilize any of these methods, they may hide the cash at home or in other places that prevent law enforcement from finding it.
Money Laundering Penalties
Money laundering, which is addressed in Title 18, Section 1956 of the United States Code, can carry extremely harsh penalties, including up to 20 years in prison. In general, the more money that has been laundered and the more sophisticated the scheme, the greater the potential jail sentence.
It should be noted that Title 18, Section 1957 also prohibits the expenditure of more than $10,000 derived from specified unlawful activities. This section carries a lesser penalty and unlike money laundering, requires that the money pass through a financial institution.
Defendants charged with a federal crime are sentenced according to the Uniform Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines are extremely complex, but generally speaking, a conviction can result in either a 10-year prison term or a 20-year prison term. This depends on whether the charge is filed under Section 1956 or 1957.
Other potential penalties include:
- Fines totaling more than $500,000 or even double the amount of money involved in the money laundering transaction.
- An order to pay the government the value of funds, monetary instruments, etc., involved in the scheme.
Money-laundering charges involving any amount, no matter how small or large, require the assistance of a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible. The San Antonio money laundering defense lawyers at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC have years of experience representing complex white-collar cases. We will work with financial experts and other professionals, if necessary, to defend those accused of money laundering and related crimes.
Defenses to San Antonio Money Laundering Charges
With federal money laundering charges, the prosecution must demonstrate that you knew about the activity that generated the illegal funds. They also need to prove that you knew the monetary transactions were intended to hide proceeds arising from criminal activity. We can argue that you were unaware that the money or property in your possession came from illegal sources.
Some defendants are forced to participate in money laundering schemes against their will. For example, if someone threatened to harm you or your loved ones if you did not engage in the activity, we can claim that you did not want to actually commit a crime. If proven, this can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Other potential defenses include:
- You engaged in a financial transaction for a legitimate purpose (or believed you were doing so).
- Lack of evidence. Unless prosecutors are able to collect enough evidence to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you don’t have to raise any other defenses to avoid conviction.
- Constitutional Violations. Even if prosecutors have evidence that proves criminal culpability, it cannot be used against you in court if it was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience protecting clients using the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.
Charged? Call a San Antonio Money Laundering Defense Lawyer Right Away!
If you are being investigated and prosecuted by a federal agency such as the IRS or FBI, you may feel intimidated or think there is little hope. With a skilled and aggressive defense lawyer on your side, you have a good chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.
The experienced San Antonio money laundering defense lawyers at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC will help you understand your rights and legal options regarding your charges. In addition, you will have a seasoned professional protecting your constitutional rights during an investigation or throughout the entire criminal process. Call (866) 358-2235 today for a free initial consultation or contact us online.