Crime Overview Money Laundering

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According to National Fraud Center statistics, the cost of economic crime rose from $5 billion in 1970 to $100 billion in 1990. Today, the cost of economic crime is estimated at well over $250 billion. Among some of the most economically damaging crimes in America is money laundering.

Money laundering is the act of making illegal money appear legal. During this process, illegally acquired money is passed through a legitimate business or bank account in order to disguise its illegal origins. Money laundering, as explained by the Anti-Money Laundering Network, occurs in three distinct stages: Hide, Move, and Invest.

Money laundering is a white-collar crime and punishment varies by state. In most states, punishment is severe. This means that if you are convicted of money laundering, you will spend anywhere from several years up to 20 years or more in prison, you will have to pay fines, and you will most likely be sued by any other individuals involved in the case who may have been damaged financially.

In the past, the term money laundering was only applied to financial transactions related to organized crime. Today the definition has been expanded by government and international regulators, like the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

In another form of money laundering, an individual may have, but hide, a large sum of cash for a particular reason. Sometimes this is in an effort to keep it from being taxed, and other times its in order to keep it hidden from others who think they may have a claim on it an ex-spouse or a creditor, for example.

You are required to report cash or other bearer instruments, such as traveler's checks, for example. If you have a foreign bank account, that must be reported on your taxes each year as well. Every time income is made, and not reported, a crime is being committed.

If you are suing a convicted money launderer for financial damages, or other damages, resulting from their money laundering activities, you should hire a civil lawyer or attorney. If the person was not convicted and you still want to sue for damages, you should still hire a civil lawyer or attorney.

If you have been accused of money laundering, whether you are guilty or not, you will need to hire a criminal lawyer or attorney, who will argue your case in a court of law. A criminal lawyer will also prepare all the paperwork, handle pretrial motions and bail hearings, and construct a strong defense to present in front of the jury.

If you have been arrested for money laundering, you should request an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. If you are ready to search for a criminal lawyer or attorney, visit the American Bar Association. The ABA website features a lawyer locater to help you quickly and easily locate a criminal lawyer or attorney in your area. Access to the site and the lawyer locater is free.