Money laundering is when money earned from illegal activities is “washed” by integrating it into legitimate businesses. The concept of this received quite a bit of buzz when the show Breaking Bad first came out and showed how Walter White took his profits from making meth and “washed” the money through his family-owned car wash, making it reportable to the IRS and “legitimate.”
While TV shows like this romanticize this act to a certain extent, it’s a crime and comes with serious consequences if you are caught. Some of the most common types of money laundering can be found here.
Methods of money laundering
The most common type of money laundering is called “smurfing” or “structuring.” This is when large amounts of cash are divided and deposited into several accounts. The goal is to make sure the deposits are so small that they don’t raise any red flags.
It also occurs by using mules, wire transfers or currency exchanges. A mule is someone who sneaks large amounts of money across a border to deposit it into a foreign bank account.
There are other ways that money laundering is done. These include counterfeiting, using shell companies (companies that only exist on paper), buying and selling assets or investing in items that can be moved easily.
Your options when facing money laundering charges
If you are facing money laundering charges, it’s important to understand that this is a serious charge. It is considered a white-collar crime and requires you to take your defense seriously. The potential penalties for this crime include significant fines, jail time and more. Also, a conviction can make it impossible to find gainful employment once your sentence is complete. Because of this, you need to know your legal options when dealing with this type of charge.