An accusation of money laundering rarely stands on its own. Instead, money laundering is typically charged in addition to another underlying crime which is believed to be the source of the funds in question. When a defendant is charged with money laundering as a stand-alone offense, it is often used as leverage to get a defendant to give up a “bigger fish.”
Regardless of why you have been accused of money laundering, the accusation should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. In this blog post, I’m going to discuss briefly what you should do if you are being investigated for, or have been formally accused of, money laundering.
Steps to Take If You Are Accused of Money Laundering
If you are unfamiliar with the federal criminal justice system, you may be surprised to receive a “target letter” informing you that you are the target of a money laundering investigation. Although it is not always that obvious, a suspect typically has some idea that an investigation is underway and that they are part of that investigation.
If you find yourself a suspect in a money laundering investigation, or you have formally been charged with money laundering, there are several steps you should take, including:
- Do not discuss the matter with anyone. It is natural to want to share your fears and solicit advice when faced with something as serious as this; however, discussing the investigation or ongoing case with anyone other than your attorney could jeopardize your freedom and your future. While conversations you have with an attorney are protected by the attorney-client privilege, discussions with partners, friends, family members, and co-workers are not protected.
- Gather and preserve evidence. If you have tangible evidence that could help in your defense, start gathering that evidence together and keep it in a secure location. This might include proof of the source of income, business records, or anything else you think might be helpful. Your attorney can sort through the records and decide what is useful for your defense. Just make sure you don’t make any changes to documents or files, because even if you are making only slight corrections, any alterations can be construed as a crime.
- Retain an experienced federal defense attorney. Do not make the mistake of trying to dissuade investigators from pursuing a case against you on your own. More importantly, do not wait to consult with an attorney. The minute you suspect that you are a potential suspect in a money laundering case, you need experienced legal advice and guidance. A federal defense attorney with experience handling financial criminal cases may be able to prevent an investigation from turning into a prosecution. If that isn’t possible, you need someone on your side to aggressively defend you throughout the criminal prosecution.
Get Help from an Orlando Money Laundering Defense Attorney
Money laundering is a serious crime with serious consequences. If you are convicted, you could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the transactions involved in the money laundering. To fight such serious charges, you need a federal money laundering defense attorney who is familiar with how federal prosecutors work and experienced at fighting white-collar criminal charges.
Attorney Dan Eckhart has the experience and expertise you need. He is a former Federal Prosecutor and Special Agent who spent most of his career investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes, including money laundering. Call us at 407.276.0500 or submit our online form today.