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Panama Papers shine light on money laundering, related crimes


The Panama Papers have made a lot of headlines, partially for the people named in them, but also for the allegations against them. Many of the individuals implicated in the Papers have been suspected of money laundering and other types of white collar crime.

For anyone accused of laundering money, both federal and state charges can be brought. That can mean the need for a quick and thorough legal defense, to protect the interests of the accused as much as possible. If you have been accused of money laundering, understanding the charges against you is very important.

What is money laundering?

When people launder money, they process it through a network of various activities. The goal is to make it appear that the money was legitimately earned, instead of acquired through illegal activities. A lot of crime syndicates find ways to launder money, but they are not the only people who engage in the activity. Many people who are focused on the process of money laundering will set up businesses as "fronts" for activities that may not be legal. However, there are also people who are falsely accused of money laundering, when the businesses they operate are actually legitimate. For people who are accused of this activity, getting legal assistance is crucial.

What are the penalties?

There are significant federal penalties for money laundering, and these are based on the specifics that come with the crime. Jail time and very large fines are certainly possible for those who are convicted. In some cases, the fines may be as high as $500,000, though sometimes fines are based upon the value of the money laundering transaction itself. Fines can go as high as twice of amount of the transaction based on either actual money or property. Additionally, some sentences can range up to 20 years in prison. Being accused of a money laundering crime is not something to take lightly. For those who are accused, there is significant risk to both finances and freedom.

How long is the statute of limitations?

There is a statute of limitations on money laundering cases, lasting for five years. Unless the laundering of money can be tied to a capital offense, no one can be prosecuted for a money laundering crime after that point in time. In some cases the statute of limitations will run out before any charges are filed, and in other cases a person will be charged much more quickly. Some of that can depend on the severity of the crime and whether it is tied to other crimes. Another part of the decision can have to do with the level of evidence the authorities feel they have regarding the alleged crime.

If you have been accused of money laundering, don't take your chances on the statute of limitations running out. A highly experienced attorney is your best option for helping you create a strong defense. That can give you the opportunity to have your charges reduced or dropped. With a proper legal defense, you will be much more likely to receive the best outcome for your particular situation.

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