Money Laundering

The white collar criminal defense attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph have represented clients facing allegations of money laundering violations in a variety of contexts. Indeed, given the way Congress has written the federal money laundering laws, very few money laundering cases are the same, and the white collar criminal lawyers who handle money laundering cases must bring their knowledge of a host of laws and industries into every money laundering case they handle. Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph’s white collar criminal lawyers are uniquely suited to do so.

First, the federal money laundering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a), provides as follows:

(1) Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, conducts or attempts to conduct such a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity—

(A) (i) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; or

(ii) with intent to engage in conduct constituting a violation of section 7201 or 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

(B) knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or in part—

(i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or

(ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under state or federal law,

shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both. For purposes of this paragraph, a financial transaction shall be considered to be one involving the proceeds of specified unlawful activity if it is part of a set of parallel or dependent transactions, any one of which involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, and all of which are part of a single plan or arrangement.

Clearly, the federal money laundering statute is a serious one which can lead to lengthy terms of incarceration and hefty fines. However, often overlooked in the public discussion of money laundering are the innumerable ways that the money laundering statute can be violated. Indeed, further down in the statute, Congress has created an exceptionally broad definition of “specified unlawful activity” – i.e. the criminal offenses the proceeds of which form the basis of a money laundering violation – so that virtually every crime imaginable can lead to a money laundering conviction; see 18 U.S.C. § 1956(c)(7). While money laundering is most often associated with drug trafficking convictions, money laundering offenses can also be associated with offenses such as bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, healthcare fraud, bribery, smuggling, export violations, and dozens of others.

Thus, in order to defend against allegations of money laundering, white collar criminal defense attorneys must not only be skilled in the courtroom, they must also have an in-depth, sophisticated understanding of their clients’ businesses and business practices. Moreover, given the huge number of ways in which money laundering crimes can be committed, lawyers defending money laundering cases must be able to apply their knowledge of money laundering laws across industries, and may never see the same money laundering violation twice. Furthermore, particularly with respect to highly regulated businesses like healthcare providers and money services businesses, the lines separating criminal and lawful acts can often be blurry and subject to multiple interpretations. Money laundering attorneys must therefore be careful to never paint with too broad a brush: What violates the law in one industry may be commonplace in another, and every detail of the client’s business must be understood in context of the industry in which the client operates.

The white collar criminal defense attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph bring a deep, sophisticated understanding of their clients’ businesses to every case that comes into the office. The firm’s unique foundation – offering comprehensive representation to highly regulated businesses – defends against money laundering allegations in a broad spectrum of industries. We take care to understand our clients, their businesses, criminal law, anti-money laundering law, and the various laws governing our clients’ businesses, as all of this is critical when defending against money laundering allegations, and we give every client the time and attention they deserve.

If you have been charged with or are under investigation for a money laundering violation, contact us now for a free consultation by emailing us at or by calling us at 305.350.5690.

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