What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering charges are incredibly serious under federal law. Money laundering involves the use of criminal activity in connection with financial transactions. Obtaining money through criminal activity is referred to as “dirty money.” The money laundering process is used to take the “dirty money” and turn it into “clean money” by making the obtainment of money seem legal. This process is often completed in a way that hides the criminal activity used in the process.
Concerning PPP loan fraud, several individuals have been charged and convicted by the federal government with money laundering in relation to a PPP loan fraud investigation.
Money Laundering statute
There are two central governing statues for the charge of money laundering.
18 U.S.C. § 1956 outlaws four kinds of money laundering—promotional, concealment, structuring, and tax evasion laundering of the proceeds generated by designated federal, state, and foreign underlying crimes.
18 U.S.C. §1957 lays out the elements of convicting an individual with money laundering for proceeds worth more than $10,000. There are five elements to this offense that the government must prove:
- the defendant must knowingly engage or attempt to engage in a monetary transaction;
- the defendant must know that the transaction involved criminally derived property;
- the criminally derived property must be of a value greater than $10,000;
- the criminally derived property must also, in fact, have been derived from a specified unlawful activity; and
- the monetary transaction must have taken place in the United States [or, if applicable, the special maritime jurisdiction of the United States as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 7]]; or [outside the United States and the defendant is a U.S. person.]
Money Laundering Penalty
The federal penalty for money laundering can be severe. An individual convicted of money laundering could face 10 to 20 years in federal prison. Further, there may be fines of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the laundered funds involved in the crime.
Since the charges and penalties of money laundering are high, please don’t hesitate to contact Cantafio & Song PLLC to help assist you or someone you know in the matter right away.