Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past five or six months, you likely have heard or read some as-yet-unproven allegations about key figures close to the president or his administration and money laundering.
Until the full facts are made known, however, it’s important to note that the allegations remain unproven and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But what does the crime of money laundering actually constitute anyway?
What, exactly, is money laundering?
Money laundering involves transferring money earned or received from a criminal enterprise into what appears to be legitimate revenue streams in order to hide the original source of the funds.
Money laundering laws originally targeted organized crime families, but in recent years the shift has been more to drug cartels and terrorist funding.
After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which gave teeth to the laws already in place to combat money laundering while expanding regulations on financial transactions. Some of the new requirements include prohibitions against the willful blindness of institutions where money laundering activities were going on. Companies now must designate a compliance officer, conduct independent audits and implement training programs.
Under the Patriot Act, banks and other financial institutions must have procedures that verify their customers’ identities as part of the requirements to “know your customer.”
These types of financial crimes can be very difficult to successfully prosecute, as well as being complicated to defend. Usually there will be multiple defendants involved, some of whom will be trying mightily to turn the tide in their favor by cooperating with prosecutors.
It’s always a good idea to align yourself with competent legal counsel as soon as you become aware that you are the subject of a money laundering operation to give yourself the best possible chance at beating the charges.
It is a given that with all of the ramifications of a federal investigation involving close associates of the current administration in Washington, D. C., no prosecution will take place without a thorough review of all evidence.