Decatur, Illinois Money Laundering Lawyer
Money laundering is a term often associated with organized crime. But anyone can be charged with money laundering, even if they are not part of a known criminal group. And a money laundering conviction carries serious penalties, including jail time and the potential seizure of a defendant’s assets.
In short, a money laundering allegation is not something that you can simply dismiss. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime, you need to seek immediate legal advice from an experienced Decatur, Illinois money laundering lawyer. At Patel Law, PC, our team has represented many clients charged with this crime; we understand how to deal with prosecutors–and if necessary, how to present your best defense to a jury.
Understanding a Money Laundering Charge
The basic idea behind money laundering is that someone takes money obtained by illegal means and funnels it into an otherwise legal venture. Put another way, money laundering is the attempt to conceal the criminal sources of certain funds in an attempt to avoid prosecution for the underlying illegal act. Of course, if the government finds out, the person can be charged with both the original offense and the money laundering.
Money laundering is a federal crime. A prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew the property involved in a specific financial transaction represented the process of “some form of unlawful activity”, and that they acted with the intent to promote the carrying on of that unlawful activity–or avoid paying taxes on the income from the illegal activity. Alternatively, the prosecutor can show the defendant acted knowing that a financial transaction was designed, at least in part, to conceal or disguise the “nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity.”
Given the complexity of money laundering cases, there may be several potential defenses to such a charge. For example, a defendant may argue they did not know the money they used in a financial transaction came from an illegal source. Another defense is that the money was not in fact obtained through any illegal activity. In some cases, a defendant may also contend they were forced or coerced into participating in a money laundering scheme against their will.
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Oftentimes, money laundering is simply one part of a larger case the government seeks to build, which means it may be possible to negotiate a favorable plea deal. Or the government may allege money laundering because its overall case is weak and they are grasping at straws hoping to shake down a guilty plea. This is why it is critical to work with a skilled money laundering defense attorney who can review the specific facts of your case and help you identify any weaknesses in the government’s evidence before you make a decision on how to proceed.
So if you need to speak with a qualified Decatur, Illinois money laundering attorney, contact the team at Patel Law, PC, today to schedule a free case evaluation.