Money laundering is a financial crime. It involves trying to make illicit revenue or income look like legitimate, legal money. For example, someone illegally selling drugs might run a small store and record numerous cash transactions despite having little product on their shelves as a way to cover their real source of income. Sometimes, the business is only a front. Other times, it is a separate entity that just helps cover the real origin of money.
Any criminal operation that generates a large amount of revenue will eventually begin to worry about legitimizing that money. People cannot make large, unreported cash deposits into their banking accounts without attracting scrutiny, nor can they make large purchases with cash.
Money laundering allows people to use money obtained by selling stolen goods, trafficking drugs or engaging in prostitution for mainstream purposes, like financing a retirement account or buying a house. How can someone defend against allegations of money laundering?
Carefully review state evidence
Money laundering allegations don’t materialize out of thin air. They are usually the result of a protracted law enforcement investigation.
Sometimes, law enforcement agencies will use marked money to connect an unrelated business to the activity of local criminals who spend their money at a certain store. Other times, audio and visual surveillance may play a role in showing some kind of questionable financial activity.
You will need to review the evidence to decide the best way to fight back against the charges. Perhaps a forensic accountant could help explore the so-called discrepancies in your financial records to show they are benign. Only when you understand the evidence against you can you start to think of a way to defend yourself.
What kind of defense strategies are possible?
If the allegations stem from your involvement in the specific transaction, an alibi might be enough to exonerate you. If there are repeat transactions at a business you own or run, proving that you were unaware of the criminal affiliations if your customers could help.
Strategies might range from showing that you engaged in efforts to reduce illegal activity at your company or showing that you in no way profited from the alleged money laundering. You can challenge the evidence, the way the police gathered it or even how they tried to interpret it.
Facing claims of money laundering or similar white-collar crimes will require careful planning if you hope to defend yourself against those charges.