Money laundering is considered a specific intent crime, meaning that the person who commits the crime must have a certain and specific intent or purpose when committing the crime. If an attorney can prove that there was no specific intent to commit the crime, then the prosecutor may have a much more difficult time proving guilt.
This is one of the primary defenses when defending against a money laundering charge. Without the intent to commit a crime, and being able to prove that you were unaware that the money in question was obtained through illegal means, there is no way to show that you had the necessary intent to commit money laundering.
Another defense is when a defendant claims they were under duress as the reason they took part in the crime. In money laundering schemes, it is common for criminals to force bankers, accountants and others to launder money by threatening them or their loved ones. When duress can be proven, it can also yield an effective defense.
Another solid defense strategy is to claim there is insufficient evidence to prosecute on money laundering charges. A conviction can only take place if there is sufficient evidence that shows the trail of the money funneling from its origin to its end point, as well as showing that specific funds were received from a specific criminal activity.
If either of these elements is missing, then a defense attorney can poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
Money laundering is a serious crime
Under federal laws, money laundering can carry significant penalties upon conviction. Depending on the specific statute, a defendant can be sentenced to up to 20 years. Much of the severity of the sentence will be determined primarily by the amount of money involved in the offense.
Because of this, mounting a strong defense is critical and should take place as soon as there is an indication that a money laundering charge is either pending or has just taken place.
The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.