Money Laundering in MA
Money Laundering, the term generally used to refer to the attempt to disguise the proceeds obtained through illegal activity, has long been a criminal problem that encompasses abroad range of criminal offenses and organizations. For many years, money laundering was a serious problem in this country, but it wasn’t until 1970 that Congress finally passed a law aimed at combating the problem.
Congress enacted the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which required banks to report any financial transactions valued over $10,000. In 1986, Congress furthered their efforts at implementing anti-money laundering legislation by enacting the Money Laundering Control Act. This act, which was far broader than its predecessor, made money laundering a federal crime. Wile money laundering statutes were originally meant to combat drug trafficking, the laws are more widely used to combat illegal weapon sales, human trafficking, fraud, and a number of other offenses. In recent years, new challenges with money laundering have become apparent, namely the use of money laundering by terrorist organizations. In response to such concerns, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which, among other things, expanded money-laundering legislation by imposing more reporting responsibilities on more financial institutions.
As defined by statute, money laundering is a crime when a defendant aims to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illegally obtained money. While the statute is long and seemingly confusing, almost all money-laundering crimes result in the same three-step process. First, the placement stage occurs when the money, obtained through criminal means, is placed into a legitimate, or legal enterprise. Second, the layering stage occurs when the money obtained is layered through a number of sources or transactions to conceal the original source. Third, the integration stage occurs when the money is integrated into the legal financial systems in the form of cash, loans, or any other financial instrument.
In order to prove a money laundering case, the prosecutor must show four elements. First, the prosecutor must show knowledge, meaning the defendant must have known that money-laundering activities were occurring. Second, the prosecutor must show the existence of proceeds obtained through illegal activity. Third, the prosecutor must show that a financial transaction occurred. Finally, the prosecutor must show that the defendant had intent.
While attorneys have attempted to use a wide range of defenses to combat money-laundering charges, for the most part those efforts have been largely unsuccessful in terms of changing the laws. While many claim the law is both unconstitutionally vague and provides a means of charging defendants with the same crime twice, the courts have never agreed with such claims.
If convicted of money laundering under the federal statute, the defendant could face both prison time and fines. The statute provides that a defendant could serve up to 20 years in prison and face a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount of the money laundered in the scheme, or in some cases both. While these punishments are more than most white collar crimes, they’re also less than most drug crimes, which is what the statute was originally written to protect against.
MA Money Laundering Lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP
At the MA law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, we have been providing outstanding legal services to clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for over 40 years. Our team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys are available to speak with you about your legal issues at any time - 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.
Contact our attorneys for a free case consultation if you or a loved one is being charged with money laundering in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You and your loved ones are entitled to the best legal defense possible. At Altman & Altman, we can deliver top quality results. Please call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online to request your free case evaluation.