Are you under investigation for, or have you been charged with money laundering in Lexington, KY? You may be facing severe penalties, including years in prison, hefty fines, and loss of professional licenses.
Do not assume that because you were involved in a non-violent, white-collar crime, that the penalties will be light. The Lexington money laundering defense lawyers at Oakley & Oakley, LLC have the experience necessary to craft a strong defense and achieve the best possible result for your case.
Contact our Lexington, Kentucky law offices to discuss your legal rights today. Your first case evaluation is free.
How Our Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help If You Have Been Charged with Money Laundering
At Oakley & Oakley, LLC, we’ve represented clients accused of money laundering and related criminal cases in Fayette County and throughout Kentucky since 2017.
Our team of Lexington criminal defense lawyers has more than 15 years of experience defending clients in state and federal criminal cases. We have a good rapport with local prosecutors and judges, and are known for our commitment and advocacy. Do not risk your entire future to an under qualified, inexperienced lawyer. We can help you build a strong defense, and undermine the government’s case against you.
Do I Need to Call a Lawyer If I Haven’t Been Charged a Crime Yet?
You do not need to be charged to begin your defense. If you know or suspect that you’re being investigated by the federal government, or already or facing money laundering charges, time is critical. There may be things you can do now to prevent indictment or asset freezing. Signs you may be under investigation:
- Your boss is under investigation
- Your business receives a subpoena
- The feds contact you directly and notify you that you are the target of an investigation
- You notice you’re being followed / surveilled
- You’re served with a search warrant.
Call our law firm immediately, and we will promptly arrange a meeting to discuss your situation, legal rights, and available options. Although your future is uncertain, you have rights and choices. Speaking with a knowledgeable Kentucky criminal defense attorney about what to do at the beginning of your case may be one of the most important actions you take.
If you hire a Kentucky criminal defense lawyer at Oakley & Oakley, LLC, we will do everything we can to protect your future, keep you out of jail, and achieve the best possible result for your case.
What is Money Laundering?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines money laundering as “the act of transferring illegally obtained money through legitimate people or accounts so that its original source cannot be traced.
Have you seen the popular shows, the Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Narcos? All of these shows – and many others – portray organized crime endeavors and money laundering. Money laundering has been a central part of small and large screen Hollywood storylines, frequently as part of a larger plot where organized crimes lead to large sums of money.
Although many liberties are taken, one thing that Hollywood does portray accurately, is the need to clean the “dirty” money that comes in. One of the problems with any largely profitable crime, is what to do with the profits. When money can easily be traced to a criminal scheme, the scheme is extremely vulnerable to being uncovered.
In some cases, the coverup of the financial part of the crime – the money laundering – is the most interesting part of a story. However, what we see in Hollywood is not representative of real life. While it is entertaining to watch law enforcement interviews, you should always decline interrogation and politely but firmly request to speak with a lawyer.
Underlying Crime = Predicate Offense
The “underlying crime” is known as the predicate offense. Crimes like drug trafficking, illegal gambling, kidnapping, prostitution, and human trafficking can generate large sums of cash. This income obtained illegally may need to be “laundered” to not be traced to its source.
There are dozens of predicate offenses which can lead to money laundering, including:
- Drug Trafficking and other drug crimes
- Embezzlement of Union Funds
- Healthcare fraud
- Human trafficking and migrant smuggling
- Identity Theft
- Insider trading
- Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property
- Kidnapping and hostage taking
- Mail Fraud
- Money Laundering
- Mortgage Fraud
- Murder for Hire
- Obstruction of Justice
- Robbery and theft
- Sexual Exploitation of Children
- Sports Bribery
- Tax evasion
- Theft from Interstate Shipment
- Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods
- Wire Fraud.
In many cases, the penalties for money laundering are more severe than those for the predicate offense. Someone accused of money laundering may or may not be part of the predicate offense, and a money laundering transaction can be informal and not related to an organized scheme.
For example, if your friend robbed a bank and you offered to allow them to put a duffel bag of cash in your attic for safekeeping, the act of handing cash over to you could continue a qualifying transaction to launder money.
Money Laundering 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 18 U.S.C. § 1957
Conducting financial transactions with proceeds from crimes became illegal with the passage of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986.
If you are charged with a federal crime for money laundering, your charges will be under:
- 18 U.S.C. § 1956 – Laundering of Monetary Instruments: This statute outlaws four types of laundering: promotional, concealment, structuring, and tax evasion. A conviction of this charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $500,000 for each transaction charged.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1957 – Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity: This statute prohibits depositing or spending more than $10,000 of the proceeds from a predicate offense. A conviction of this charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 ($500,000 for an organization) – or twice the amount involved in the transaction. Violations of this section also carry civil penalties – $10,000 or the value of the property involved in the crime.
At Oakley & Oakley, LLC, we have extensive experience representing clients in criminal matters in federal court, including cases involving money laundering. We are dedicated to achieving the most favorable outcomes for our clients. Whether we are investigating, negotiating, advocating, or litigating, we aggressively fight for the best result, and protect our clients’ reputations and futures.
Three Elements of Money Laundering
Money laundering can take many forms. It may be exchanged for foreign currencies, used to acquire assets (to later be sold) including real estate, fine art, and gold. The owner of a large thoroughbred horse racing organization was even accused of being a money launderer for a large multi-level cryptocurrency scam.
According to the FBI, money laundering usually involves three elements:
This is the initial use of illegally acquired or “dirty” money. It could be exchanging tainted money for foreign currency or exchanging for gambling chips.
Sometimes called the “structuring” stage, the layering stage involves concealing the source of money. In the gambling example, gambling chips may be turned in for a cashier’s check. Money can be layered multiple times and may be used to invest in legitimate business endeavors, like buying rental properties.
The final stage of money laundering is the return to the source after it has been laundered. When the recipient finally receives a large sum of money it will look to be legitimate.
For example, a valuable painting may be auctioned off, a piece of real estate may be sold, or a business liquidated. This may be years down the line, and in some cases, funds may not ever be fully integrated. If someone uses laundered funds to purchase income-producing real estate assets, the integration is not the sale of the property, but the receipt of rental income.
If you are facing money laundering charges in Lexington, KY, you need aggressive, compassionate lawyers who will work quickly to get evidence suppressed, and charges reduced or dismissed. Resist the urge to destroy evidence or ignore communications. Before you do anything, talk to a criminal defense lawyer at Oakley & Oakley, LLC, as soon as possible.
Collateral Consequences to Money Laundering Charges
Long after time is served and fines are paid, people convicted of money laundering may have to deal with collateral consequences – these are the penalties of a criminal conviction that are not part of the direct consequences (prison, fines, and probation). This can include loss of professional licenses, restrictions on firearm possession, the inability to secure employment or work as a government contractor, and more.
Many businesses in Kentucky have policies preventing hiring of felons. On a more personal level, criminal convictions can prevent people from participating in volunteer opportunities or even adopting a child or step-child. Because money laundering is often connected to other criminal penalties, collateral consequences may result from all charges.
Get a Free Legal Consultation with a Lexington Money Laundering Defense Lawyer
For questions regarding money laundering charges, contact Lexington money laundering defense attorneys at Oakley & Oakley, LLC. We fully understand everything that is at stake and will do everything possible to keep you out of jail, and your legal rights intact. Because time is of the essence when criminal charges are pending, do not wait to talk to a lawyer in Lexington, KY. Call us at (859) 254-4035 to schedule your free phone or video consultation.