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Criminal Charges For Money Laundering

money-3It was a brazen bank heist, but a 21st-century version in which the criminals never wore ski masks, threatened a teller or set foot in a vault.

Elvis Rafael Rodriguez and Emir Yasser Yeje, two of those charged in Brooklyn on Thursday, posed in March with approximately $40,000 in cash that the authorities say they were laundering.

In New York City alone, the thieves responsible for A.T.M. withdrawals struck 2,904 machines over 10 hours starting on Feb. 19, withdrawing $2.4 million.

The operation included sophisticated computer experts operating in the shadowy world of Internet hacking, manipulating financial information with the stroke of a few keys, as well as common street criminals, who used that information to loot the automated teller machines.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn unsealed an indictment charging eight men — including their suspected ringleader, who was found dead in the Dominican Republic last month. The indictment and criminal complaints in the case offer a glimpse into what the authorities said was one of the most sophisticated and effective cybercrime attacks ever uncovered.

It was, prosecutors said, one of the largest heists in New York City history, rivaling the 1978 Lufthansa robbery, which inspired the movie “Goodfellas.”

Beyond the sheer amount of money involved, law enforcement officials said, the thefts underscored the vulnerability of financial institutions around the world to clever criminals working to stay a step ahead of the latest technologies designed to thwart them.

“In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet,” said Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn. “Moving as swiftly as data over the Internet, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of A.T.M.’s in a matter of hours.”  Full story, source.

Money Laundering History

Money laundering is the process of making illegally-gained proceeds (i.e. “dirty money”) appear legal (i.e. “clean”). Typically, it involves three steps: placement, layering and integration. First, the illegitimate funds are furtively introduced into the legitimate financial system. Then, the money is moved around to create confusion, sometimes by wiring or transferring through numerous accounts. Finally, it is integrated into the financial system through additional transactions until the “dirty money” appears “clean.” Money laundering can facilitate crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism, and can adversely impact the global economy.

In its mission to “safeguard the financial system from the abuses of financial crime, including terrorist financing, money laundering and other illicit activity,” the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network acts as the designated administrator of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

The BSA was established in 1970 and has become one of the most important tools in the fight against money laundering.

Charges of Money Laundering Are Under Federal Jurisdiction

According to the federal law, money laundering occurs when someone attempts to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of unlawful activity.

The type of criminal activity does not matter when bringing a charge of money laundering, but the most common sources of illegal money is from illegal drug sales, fraud, corruption and tax evasion.

The crime of money laundering usually consist of 3 steps: placement, layering and integration. The cash obtained illegally is placed into the financial system, a financial transaction takes place to disguise the source of the funds and then the money can be used as legal funds.

Money laundering can range from simple to complex strategies – from breaking up large amounts of cash into smaller amounts then depositing the smaller amounts, to purchasing real estate, selling it and then depositing the proceeds from the sale.

In the United States, all financial institutions must report to the federal government all transactions of $10,000 or more.

Money laundering is a serious offense due to its associations with organized crime and international terrorism. In short, it is the willful act of disguising the origins of illegally obtained money by making it appear to have come from a different source. Charges of Money laundering are under federal jurisdiction. The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 saw to it that there is no minimum threshold of money for charges to be placed upon an individual, organization, or business entity.

If you have been charged with money laundering you must consult with a criminal attorney immediately.

West Palm Beach Money Laundering Defense Attorney

While money laundering may seem like an outdated charge, more suited to the prohibition-era than modern-day Miami, the consequences can nevertheless be very serious. Money laundering is a felony, which may be charged in state or federal court. The penalties include jail time, a fine, and the forfeiture of any cash seized by the government. If the cash from an illegal enterprise is deposited in a bank account that contains other funds, the entire bank account could be seized.

Money laundering, or “smurffing” as it is otherwise known, occurs when you conceal the use of funds or money that came from an illegal enterprise. In reality, money laundering charges are usually the result of over-zealous prosecutors.

Any time you deposit cash from an illegal enterprise into a bank account, or attempt to pay someone with cash that was gained from an illegal enterprise, you could be charged with money-laundering. You could also be charged with money laundering if you are a business person or professional, such as a lawyer, who accepts cash payments from clients without reporting the transaction to the IRS. Under Florida and federal law, cash transactions of $10,000 or more have to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Attempting to structure cash payments to avoid the $10,000 IRS reporting requirement is also a crime.

At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we are very experienced in defending people who are charged with this crime, which is often associated with drug trafficking and fraud charges. To protect your money and your freedom, we will be proactive in addressing the underlying criminal charges, whether that is drug trafficking, fraud, or another white-collar crime.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.

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