Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyers for Money Laundering Charges
Money laundering describes the act of hiding sums obtained through criminal activities. Every state, including Texas, criminalizes money laundering activities. Money laundering is also a federal crime investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by federal prosecutors. The penalties for money laundering are significant. If you are convicted, you face substantial prison sentences and steep fines. Understanding the legal defenses to money laundering can help protect your rights and future.
Developing a Legal Defense Strategy
Money laundering cases are interesting because of the nature of the allegation. Proving an allegation of money laundering requires prosecutors to trace the money back to the source of the funds. As a result, there are many different ways to challenge the prosecution’s case. For example, a defendant may be able to challenge the concealment issue, stating that they never concealed the funds. They may be able to challenge the prosecution’s assertion that the money was illegally obtained.
Due to the unique nature of money laundering charges, you should work with an attorney who understands these cases. Attorney Steven Jumes has extensive experience defending clients facing state and federal money laundering charges. He understands what it takes to develop an effective legal defense strategy.
Illegally Obtained Evidence
Law enforcement officers and prosecutors cannot violate a defendant’s constitutional rights. Whether you have been accused of money laundering or any other criminal offense in Texas, you can challenge the charges against you if the authorities violate your rights when gathering evidence against you. For example, suppose a police officer or FBI agent searches your home without a warrant or without meeting one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement. In that case, your attorney can ask the court to throw out any evidence they gathered during the search.
Evidence of money laundering is not admissible in court when law enforcement officers violate the defendant’s rights when finding the evidence. Similarly, if a law enforcement officer seized your employer’s accounting records without a warrant, you can ask that the evidence be dismissed because it was gained in a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. If you suspect that you are under investigation for money laundering, reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible can help protect you. Your attorney can ensure that law enforcement agencies do not violate your rights when attempting to gather evidence against you.
Lack of Criminal Intent to Launder Money
When prosecuting a defendant for money laundering, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant intended to commit money laundering. Consequently, the prosecution must prove that you intentionally misrepresented your financial records to make it appear that you received certain funds or assets through legal business activities when those funds were the proceeds of illegal activities.
People who are bankers, accountants, or who regularly handle large sums of money are frequently charged with money laundering even if they did not know they were committing a crime. You would not be the first person to face money laundering charges without intending to commit money laundering. If you can prove that you did not know the money you obtained was from an illegal source, you do not have the necessary intent to commit money laundering.
You could be able to use the defense that the inaccuracies in your company’s financial records were due to unintentional mistakes. You may be able to argue that the funds that were illegally obtained were accurately recorded in your business’s accounting records. Perhaps you did not know that the funds were gained due to illegal activities. You cannot be convicted.
Money Laundering Under Duress
In some cases, defendants can argue that even though they may have committed money laundering by filtering illegally obtained funds through their business, they did so under duress. Proving that you were under duress is challenging. You would need to show that you only engaged in money laundering because someone threatened you with physical violence or another consequence if you did not do it. This would make you the victim of extortion rather than guilty of money laundering. Using the legal defense of duress is rare, but it can be applicable in certain cases, especially when illegal activities like drug trafficking are involved.
The Prosecution Has Not Met the Burden of Proof
Our legal system was designed to protect innocent defendants. As a result, prosecutors must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a difficult standard for prosecutors to me. When a prosecutor does not have enough evidence to meet the burden of proof, your defense attorney can point out all the holes in their case and their lack of evidence. In some cases, prosecutors bring cases against white color defendants knowing they do not have enough evidence. If this has occurred in your case, attorney Steven Jumes can negotiate with the prosecutor to dismiss the case against you or reduce the charges against you.
Money Laundering Charges are Often Added to Other Criminal Charges
Prosecutors will often add money laundering charges to other criminal charges. For example, if you are accused of distributing marijuana, the prosecutor may include a money laundering charge. For this reason, you should hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. In addition to representing clients in money laundering charges, attorney Steven Jumes has experience defending clients in a wide range of charges, including drug crimes and white-collar crimes.
Discuss Your Case With a Skilled Money Laundering Defense Attorney in Fort Worth
Local Texas prosecutors and federal prosecutors take money laundering charges seriously. The conviction could cost you your freedom and future if you are convicted. If you are being investigated for money laundering or you have already been charged, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side. Attorney Steven Jumes has the experience and legal knowledge necessary to make a compelling legal defense on your behalf. Contact the Law Offices of Steven Jumes today to schedule your free case evaluation.