Skilled Sevierville Defense Attorneys Helping Clients Accused of Money Laundering
Aggressive defense of white collar criminal charges in the Tri-Cities region, Sevier County, Greeneville and beyond
Money laundering is the act of making “dirty” money “clean” – or, to be more accurate, the act of taking illegal or ill-gained proceeds and funneling them through a series of steps in order to make those proceeds appear as if they came from a legitimate source. Even when the alleged laundering is charged at the state level (in our case, when charges are brought by the State of Tennessee), the prosecution usually takes place at the federal level.
Money laundering is a very serious charge; at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, we never lose sight of what is at stake. Our Sevierville federal defense attorneys are well-known throughout Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, Greeneville and Sevier County for being aggressive and formidable litigators. If you are accused of laundering money, seek our counsel immediately.
The three steps of money laundering
Dirty money comes from illegal sources. In most money laundering cases, that means fraud and drug trafficking, though terrorism, sex trafficking, and illegal gambling are also common sources. There are three steps to making dirty money clean:
- Placement, or introducing the funds into the financial system.
- Layering, when money is moved around to hide its origins.
- Integration, the act of reacquiring that money through legal and legitimate means.
Here’s an example of how the process works: John Doe sells heroin throughout East Tennessee and the surrounding states. He also owns a chain of laundromats. John takes the drug trafficking money and introduces it into his daily intake for the laundromats (placement), which he uses as a “front” for his drug money. Then, he uses the “proceeds” of the laundromat to invest in real estate, or uses it to buy more laundromats (layering). After a few months, he sells the extra businesses, or sells the buildings he purchased (integration). In this way, the dirty money is made clean, and is fully integrated into the financial system.
Another popular form of money laundering involves “smurfing,” wherein the illegal money is deposited into multiple accounts (often offshore) in batches of no more than $9,999 (the threshold for reporting by banks to the federal government is $10,000), in the hopes of avoiding the federal government’s notice.
The penalty for being convicted of federal charges of money laundering range between 10 and 20 years (18 U.S.C. §1956 and 18 U.S.C. §1957), and may be increased if you are convicted of additional crimes, such as extortion, racketeering, or other similar “white-collar” crimes.
Defending against federal charges of money laundering
There are two things anyone facing money laundering charges should remember. First, it is the job of the federal government to prove you laundered money. Second, intent plays a critical role in that proof. If you receive money that was earned through illegal means, and then spend that money on a new home without knowing that the money was dirty, you are not guilty of money laundering.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, we know how easily an innocent mistake can be misconstrued as an illegal act, and how unwitting participants can become embroiled in a larger scheme. Our Sevierville-based team of federal defense lawyers reviews all evidence and documentation, to show that even if a financial transaction occurred, it was not illegal nor intended to commit a crime.
Trusted Tennessee lawyers helping people fight federal charges of money laundering
If you are facing federal charges of money laundering, you need a defense attorney who knows how to fight back. Delius & McKenzie, PLLC offers aggressive, comprehensive representation on behalf of clients throughout East Tennessee, whose futures are at stake. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation with an experienced Sevierville criminal defense lawyer please call 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form. We are proud to represent clients in and around Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport, Greeneville, Seymour, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding areas.