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Beating a Money Laundering Case: The Basics


Anyone charged with money laundering could be facing significant punishment. The best way to deal with it is with representation by an experienced attorney.

The illegality of money laundering is covered under federal law 18 U.S.C. 1956. The original intent of this law was to provide a way to prosecute different types of criminal activity, which includes drug trafficking. Anyone charged and convicted of money laundering could be given serious punishment.

Money Laundering

The legal definition of money laundering in federal law is getting money from an illegitimate source and then passing it through legitimate financial channels. This will then make the money appear to be clean. Individuals are often surprised when they discover it has three separate offenses to it. There are international money laundering, domestic money laundering, and undercover stings. There are specific requirements necessary for a person to be convicted of this offense. A federal prosecutor will have to establish certain things to be successful.

  • It must be established an individual had the intent to launder money
  • It must be established an individual attempted to perform or did perform a money laundering financial transaction
  • The money or property used in a financial transaction came from illegal activity
  • An individual knew the money or property was from illegal activity


Someone charged and convicted for money laundering in a state court may face less severe punishment than from a federal court. A charge and conviction on money laundering in a federal court could result in an individual being sentenced to a maximum of 22 years in prison. They could also be given a fine of $475,000 or more.

Legal Defenses

Simply because someone is charged with money laundering does not automatically mean they will be found guilty. There are effective legal defenses that can be used.

Intent – It is possible for individuals working in the financial industry to be charged with this crime. In many cases, they did not intentionally commit money laundering. If an experienced attorney can establish their client did not know the money they handled was from illegal sources, it is an effective defense. It shows a person did not have the intent to commit money laundering.

Duress – An attorney may be able to establish a person only engaged in money laundering because they were under the threat of harm.

Insufficient Evidence – It is possible a prosecutor will not have sufficient evidence for a money laundering trial and conviction. Should an attorney be able to show there is not enough evidence to convict a person of money laundering, the case could be dismissed.

Anyone who has been charged with money laundering is facing serious punishment. This is when they should seek representation from the legal professionals at Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum. These knowledgeable attorneys will know how to analyze the facts of a case and determine the best possible legal defense. Contact them today to discuss your situation.

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