In the world of fiction, money laundering often represents an important plot point. This is especially so in dramas on the big screen and television programs involving crime. However, money laundering is also one of the more serious white collar crimes in real life.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), money laundering is a process that channels funds obtained through criminal activity into legitimate sources. This allows alleged criminals to disguise the money's illegal origins. For the record, money laundering cannot take place unless a previous crime that produced illegal profits has already occurred.
In terms of defense, a prosecutor cannot try you for money laundering without evidence that a prior crime took place. Some examples of crimes often linked to money laundering include:
- Health care fraud
- Drug trafficking
- Human trafficking
- Complicated financial scams
If you think that arrests associated with money laundering cannot happen in St. Louis, you are mistaken. The FBI is prepared to work with state and local law enforcement agencies any time it suspects money laundering has occurred. This means that officials in St. Louis and other Missouri locations may collaborate with the FBI to prosecute white collar crimes that involve money laundering.
Those accused of this crime should not underestimate the seriousness of these charges. The federal government takes an aggressive stance against such activities just as it does against other white collar crimes. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney is imperative after an arrest or if you are caught up in a money laundering investigation.
Strategic efforts from you and your defense attorney can help you avoid the harshest sentence if a conviction is handed down. In some cases, you may even be able to avoid a conviction altogether as long as you have prepared a stalwart defense.