Though money laundering, or smurfing as it is sometimes called, may seem like an outdated charge more suited to prohibition-era Miami than modern-day West Palm Beach, it’s actually a very real crime with very real penalties. Money laundering is usually a charge the prosecution tacks on to an underlying offense, such as drug trafficking or a case of fraud. However, any time you deposit cash obtained through illegal enterprise, attempt to pay someone with cash that has been obtained through illegal enterprise, accept payments in excess of $10,000 from clients without reporting to the IRS, or attempt to structure payments to avoid such reporting, you can be charged with money laundering.
This can result in major fines, jail time, forfeiture of involved money, and bank account seizure. An experienced West Palm Beach fraud crime defense attorney can fight to protect your rights and work toward a favorable outcome in both your money laundering case and for any underlying charge.
West Palm Beach Money Laundering Defense Lawyer
The crime of money laundering is an offense both in Florida and at the federal level, and can serious impact your future. If you have been arrested for money Laundering anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, and Wellington, protect your rights, your future, your freedom, and your money by contacting Andrew D. Stine, P.A.. When considering an attorney as part of your defense strategy, it is best to contact him as soon as possible after your arrest.
With over 10 years of criminal defense experience, Andrew Stine is a skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach defense lawyer. As a former army medic who turned public defender after law school, Andrew Stine has a militantly detailed and passionate approach to constructing comprehensive, customized defense strategies for his clients. For more information on what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your Palm Beach County money laundering or other fraud case, call 561.880.4300 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Florida Money Laundering Definition
Also known as the Florida Money Laundering Act, Fla. Stat. § 896.101 is the statute that governs the offense of money laundering in Florida. This law puts money laundering in three basic sections. Under Fla. Stat. § 896.101(a), it is illegal to knowingly conduct or attempt to conduct transactions involving funds or other monetary instruments (such as bonds, traveler’s checks, etc.) earned through illegal enterprise with the intent to foster the continuation of such illegal activity.
It is also illegal under this part of the law to knowingly conduct transactions involving funds or monetary instruments attained from illegal enterprise when you are aware that such a transaction is meant to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of such funds, or avoid reporting or registration requirements assigned by state law. Fla. Stat. § 896.101(b) makes it unlawful to conduct the transportation of funds or monetary instruments under the same circumstances it is illegal to conduct transactions in Fla. Stat. § 896.101(a).
The last section of the Florida Money Laundering Act, Fla. Stat. § 896.101(c), makes it illegal to conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction involving property or money which a detective, other law enforcement officer, or a person under the guidance of such an officer presents to the alleged offender as being involved in illegal enterprise, and the alleged offender’s intent is to promote the continuance of such illegal activity, conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of such property or money, or avoid a transaction reporting requirement under state law.
Generally, if you are involved in the transportation of or a transaction including funds or property earned through illegal means, such as in a drug trafficking scheme, and/or are trying to avoid federal or state reporting requirements (like to the IRS), you may be charged with money laundering. This is a serious charge with serious penalties that rarely is assigned on its own – working with an experienced Palm Beach County fraud defense lawyer can ensure a defense strategy for your West Palm Beach money laundering charge, and for the underlying charge that was the source of the illegal funds.
Penalties for Money Laundering in Palm Beach County
What class of charges and penalties you will face for money laundering in Florida depends on the amount of money involved in the transaction or transactions. Fla. Stat. § 896.101(5) states that money laundering involving transactions from $300 to $20,000 in value in any one 12-month period is a third-degree felony. Second-degree felony money laundering is for transactions with a total value of $20,000 to $100,000 in any 12-month period, and transactions totaling $100,000 or more in a 12-month period constitutes first-degree felony money laundering. The penalties for these money laundering charges are the presumptive penalties provided in Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082-775.084, and include:
Third-Degree Felony Money Laundering
- Up to 5 years in prison, and/or
- Up to $5,000 fine
Second-Degree Felony Money Laundering
- Up to 15 years in prison, and/or
- Up to $10,000 fine
First-Degree Felony Money Laundering
- Up to 30 years in prison and/or
- Up to $10,000 fine
Additionally, a conviction, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendre (no contest) to any money laundering charge may result in a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the value of the involved transactions, whichever is greater. A subsequent violation may result in a $500,000 fine or five times the value of the involved money laundering transactions, whichever is greater.
For any money laundering violation, a civil penalty of up to transaction value or $25,000, whichever is greater, may also be assessed. A money laundering investigation and conviction can also result in the seizure and/or forfeiture of any involved assets or cash. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach fraud defense lawyer could be the difference between facing all of these penalties and achieving a more favorable outcome, such as case reduction or dismissal.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Money Laundering Defense Attorney in Palm Beach County
If you have been arrested and charged with money laundering in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, and Tequesta, or anywhere else in Palm Beach County, take the first important step in your defense and contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A. immediately. Andrew Stine is a skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach defense attorney with 10 years of experience helping criminal defense clients like you. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561.880.4300 today and schedule yours.