In recent years, money management has become both easier and more complex. The advent of Internet commerce has opened up massive opportunities for people to make investments, open accounts and move funds to and from different accounts with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. But these sorts of transactions will also typically leave an electronic paper trail, allowing the authorities to track what they believe may be illicit financial activities.
One form of financial crime for which a businessperson may come under scrutiny is that of money laundering. According to information on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, money laundering is simply knowingly using proceeds that were generated by criminal activity.
As such, money laundering is actually a secondary crime that is associated with the primary crime that created the profits. The idea behind money laundering is to take the proceeds that were gained through a criminal enterprise, say drug trafficking, and convert them into goods or services. By doing this, the laundered funds can be reinvested in other forms of commerce.
Money laundering can be employed to disguise many forms of fraud, such as tax fraud, insurance fraud and bank fraud. And it is also used by those engaged in the drug trade, public corruption, Ponzi schemes and organized crime. Additionally, laundered money can be used as a means to help finance terrorism.
The FBI views this process as having an interruptive impact on the money supply and financial institutions. There are a number of federal statutes that exist to deal with many of the known forms of money laundering. But by the FBI’s own admittance, methods of money laundering are many and varied.
If you are faced with allegations of money laundering, it is a safe bet that there are other crimes for which you will be investigated. The federal government has vast resources and power, which can be brought to bear on someone they suspect of criminal activity. Therefore, in the interest of giving yourself the best chance of mounting a successful defense, it is a good idea to select an attorney who understands the federal legal system.