Do you need a criminal defense attorney for money laundering offenses near Houston?
Money laundering is a serious criminal offense that occurs when the proceeds of a crime are disguised, then integrated into the financial system of a legitimate business. When individuals engage in illegal activities, it can be problematic for them to use the money gained from these activities because they are unable to explain where the money came from. Those who are accused of money laundering in Texas face a serious criminal offense. It is imperative that you speak to a highly skilled white-collar crime attorney like Nathaniel Pitoniak, who has successfully represented his clients accused of money laundering.
Any time you have disguised and integrated the monetary proceeds of a crime into a legitimate financial system, you may be charged with money laundering. Once funds have been laundered, it can be very difficult to distinguish those funds from “legitimate funds.” The seriousness of your money laundering charges will depend on the underlying crime you are being charged with, the placement, or initial entry of the illicit money into the financial system, the layering, or the process of separating the funds from their original source, and the integration of the money. Integration refers to the return of the money to the person who committed the underly crime.
What are Some Specific Types of Money Laundering?
There are many, many different ways of laundering money, and most depend on the underlying criminal offense to determine how the money is being laundered. Just a few of the ways money can be laundered include:
- Laundering money through a casino;
- Cash-business laundering, which occurs when illegal monies are inserted into the legitimate deposits of a cash business;
- Trade-based laundering, which may also include embezzlement, and
- Structuring bank deposits of illegally obtained income in small amounts to avoid detection.
Are Banks Considered Complicit in Money Laundering Schemes?
Laundering money virtually always requires that the funds go through a bank—or perhaps, a series of banks. Should a bank have any concerns regarding the legitimacy of the money, they are required under law to file a suspicious activity report. Over the past few years, there have been many high-profile scandals regarding banks and money laundering. One bank in particular, HSBC, admitted to failing to monitor more than $200 trillion in wire transactions between U.S. and Mexico. Obviously, it is very different for you to be charged with money laundering as opposed to a giant bank with virtually unlimited resources being charged with money laundering.
Why is Solid Legal Representation So Important Following Charges of Money Laundering?
Those charged with money laundering in the state of Texas are facing serious charges. To convict you of this criminal offense, it must be shown that you had knowledge the money was illegally obtained. In other words, suppose you received a gift that was purchased with laundered money. If you had no knowledge of the criminal activity that led to the laundered money, the prosecutor would find it very difficult to present a case against you.
Whatever the exact situation surrounding your money laundering charges in Texas—whether you are guilty, not guilty, or committed the crime under extenuating circumstances—it is so important to have an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer in your corner. When that lawyer if Nathaniel Pitoniak, your chances of the best outcome possible, goes up considerably. Charges of money laundering—or charges of any white-collar crime—should never be faced on your own. Having Nathaniel Pitoniak by your side ensures you will receive exemplary representation while your rights and your future are fully protected.
What Are the Houston, Texas Penalties for Money Laundering?
Money laundering in the state of Texas is a felony criminal offense, however, the exact penalties imposed will depend on how much money you are accused of laundering. If you are accused of laundering from $1,500 to $20,000, you could be facing from 180 days to two years in jail, and fines as large as $10,000. If you are accused of laundering from $20,000 to $100,000, you are facing a third-degree felony, and, if convicted, you could face from two to ten years in prison, and a fine as large as $10,000.
If you have been charged with laundering in excess of $100,000, you are facing first-degree felony charges, with very stiff penalties if convicted—from five to 99 years in prison, and a fine as large as $10,000. Your eligibility for probation will depend on your prior criminal history, as well as the severity of the charges. In the state of Texas, even if you were not present during the illegal actions but you knew the money was gained through an illegal activity, you could still be charged with money laundering.
Are There Any Legal Defenses to Charges of Money Laundering?
If you are facing charges of money laundering in the state of Texas, it is essential that you speak to a knowledgeable Houston criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. There are a number of legal defenses to charges of money laundering that your attorney could be able to use on your behalf. The evidence against you could have been illegally obtained, or evidentiary rules could have been violated when the evidence was obtained. Perhaps the police officers and prosecutor have no solid evidence related to an underlying criminal activity, therefore, there is little foundation to support money laundering charges. Your exact defense will depend on the specific facts surrounding your alleged crime, but it is extremely important that you not face these charges on your own.
Do I Have a Defense for My Charges of Money Laundering?
Every case is different, as far as the circumstances of the crime itself, as well as the individual’s prior criminal history, however, some of the defenses commonly employed for money laundering charges include:
- Lack of real knowledge about where the money you accepted or deposited came from. As an example, suppose your spouse or friend convinced you he or she had a legitimate business that earned large amounts of cash. You might routinely deposit the money but have no idea the money was gained through illegal activities.
- You might be asked to cooperate with authorities regarding a “bigger fish” in the operation as a means of minimizing your own legal punishments.
- If your charges are based on statements by a witness or witnesses, if there are grounds to argue the witness is mistaken or being deceitful, those statements can be challenged.
- Duress may have occurred if you believe you would be in danger if you refuse to participate in the money laundering crime; in the world of money laundering, accountants, bankers, or others may be forced to launder illegally-obtained money by threatening to harm them or their loved ones.
- Insufficient evidence—To prove money laundering, there must be an intent to prevent illegally-obtained funds from being traced to their origins, plus prosecutors must be able to show the money came from a specific illegal activity.
Can the Law Offices of Nathaniel Pitoniak Help with Your Money Laundering Charges?
If you live in Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, or Galveston Counties, and are looking for a money-laundering or white-collar attorney near you, look no further. Houston criminal defense attorney, Nathaniel Pitoniak, offers a free consultation, and a thorough, aggressive defense. Nathaniel Pitoniak truly cares about your rights, and your future, and will work hard on your behalf to find a solution with the fewest long-term consequences for you and your family. Contact Nathaniel Pitoniak today
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