Money Laundering and Structuring Under Federal Law
In layman’s terms, money laundering is a process by which an individual or group tries to disguise the origin of “dirty money,” such as the proceeds of fraud, extortion or drug trafficking, so that it appears to come from a legitimate source. There are two federal criminal laws that specifically address money laundering. The first law (18 U.S.C. §1956 ) makes it a crime for any person to engage in a financial transaction with money that was obtained from criminal activity with the intent to try and promote the criminal activity or conceal it. The second law (18 U.S.C. §1957) makes it a crime for a person to engage in a monetary transaction in an amount greater than $10,000, knowing that the money was obtained through specific criminal activity.
Domestic financial institutions are required to report to the Internal Revenue Service any cash transactions exceeding $10,000, pursuant to the terms of the Currency and Foreign Transactions  Reporting Act (CFTRA)(Title 31 U.S.C. § 5313). The CFTRA is a law that was enacted in 1970 to identify criminal activities such as money laundering, illegal drug profits, and tax evasion. While that law established a requirement for banks to file Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), it did not make it illegal for individuals to structure their deposits so that no single transaction exceeded the $10,000 in order to evade the CTR filings.
In 1986, Congress criminalized currency structuring in the Money Laundering Control  Act. “Structuring” is defined as conducting one or more transactions in currency, in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner, for the purpose of evading reporting requirements. Many individuals bank with more than one institution and have more than one account. Making deposits “in any amount” on “one or more days” could place you in a position to be charged with felony currency structuring if it is believed you made the deposits to avoid the CTR filings.
Speak to a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Money laundering, extortion, and many other white collar crimes may be charged at the state level, but are often prosecuted in federal court. These type of cases are often times document intensive, requiring exhaustive and time-consuming review of voluminous evidence in order to build an effective defense. Money laundering is a serious criminal offense that can have a great impact on your life if you are accused of it or convicted. Due to its associations with organized crime and international terrorism, money laundering has severe penalties to any defendant.
If you have been accused of money laundering or structuring, you need an attorney that is experienced in negotiating with federal prosecutors on your behalf. Your lawyer must understand the complex nature of money laundering and structuring, and needs to be prepared to represent you in a federal trial. The Federal criminal defense attorneys at Duffy Law are experienced trial lawyers, and they understand the complex financial language that the law uses to define money laundering cases. Felice Duffy was a federal prosecutor for over ten years, during which time she prosecuted many laundering and structuring cases, and she is prepared to share her years of experience to present a legal defense on your behalf. Call Duffy Law today at 203-946-2000.
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