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Las Vegas Money Laundering Attorney

Last Modified: December 18, 2023

Money Laundering Charges In Las Vegas, NV

In recent decades, the global rate of money laundering has increased sharply. To fight this crime, U.S. federal agencies and international law enforcement have stepped up their efforts by improving their abilities to prevent and investigate money laundering cases. With more resources and anti-money laundering initiatives, there has been an increase in investigations and charges related to white-collar crime associated with drug trafficking, tax evasion, or gambling. These charges often result in lengthy prison sentences as well as the seizure of cash and property which could be forfeited.

If you’re facing money laundering charges in Nevada, you need a competent federal criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the advanced financial, legitimate, and sentencing concerns of money laundering cases and can deal with government prosecutors. At Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers, our Las Vegas money laundering attorney has the know-how, administrative ability, and court experience in federal courts to protect you against these charges at the national level. Contact our office today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you.

Federal Money Laundering Statutes

The passage of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 made money laundering a federal crime. This act carries heavy penalties, including up to 20 years in prison.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1956, any person or business executive can commit money laundering if they intentionally and knowingly promote carrying on illegal activity – avoid paying taxes or transaction reporting requirements – or they conceal the nature, ownership, location, source – or commit a variety of different acts, including conducting, or attempting to conduct as a financial transaction involving money when they know it was earned from unlawful activity; Transport, transfer or transmit, (or attempts) any funds to or from a foreign country; or conducts (or attempts) a financial transaction involving money represented to be proceeds of unlawful activity or property used to conduct the unlawful activity.

(1) Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, conducts or attempts to conduct such a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity—

(i) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; or
(ii) with intent to engage in conduct constituting a violation of section 7201 or 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [26 USCS § 7201 or 7206]; or

(B) knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or in part—

(i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or
(ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law,
shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both. For purposes of this paragraph, a financial transaction shall be considered to be one involving the proceeds of specified unlawful activity if it is part of a set of parallel or dependent transactions, any one of which involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, and all of which are part of a single plan or arrangement.
 

(2) Whoever transports, transmits, or transfers, or attempts to transport, transmit, or transfer a monetary instrument or funds from a place in the United States to or through a place outside the United States or to a place in the United States from or through a place outside the United States—

(A) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity; or

(B) knowing that the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer represent the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity and knowing that such transportation, transmission, or transfer is designed in whole or in part—

(i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or
(ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law,
shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both. For the purpose of the offense described in subparagraph (B), the defendant’s knowledge may be established by proof that a law enforcement officer represented the matter specified in subparagraph (B) as true, and the defendant’s subsequent statements or actions indicate that the defendant believed such representations to be true.
 

(3) Whoever, with the intent—

(A) to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity;
(B) to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of property believed to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity; or
(C) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law,
conducts or attempts to conduct a financial transaction involving property represented to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, or property used to conduct or facilitate specified unlawful activity, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (2), the term “represented” means any representation made by a law enforcement officer or by another person at the direction of, or with the approval of, a Federal official authorized to investigate or prosecute violations of this section.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1957, any person or business executive can commit money laundering when they knowingly engage or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000.

(a) Whoever, in any of the circumstances set forth in subsection (d), knowingly engages or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000 and is derived from specified unlawful activity, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
 

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the punishment for an offense under this section is a fine under title 18, United States Code, or imprisonment for not more than ten years or both. If the offense involves a pre-retail medical product (as defined in section 670) the punishment for the offense shall be the same as the punishment for an offense under section 670 unless the punishment under this subsection is greater.

(2) The court may impose an alternate fine to that imposable under paragraph (1) of not more than twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the transaction.

(c) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, the Government is not required to prove the defendant knew that the offense from which the criminally derived property was derived was specified unlawful activity.

(d)The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are—

(1) that the offense under this section takes place in the United States or in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or

(2) that the offense under this section takes place outside the United States and such special jurisdiction, but the defendant is a United States person (as defined in section 3077 of this title, but excluding the class described in paragraph (2)(D) of such section).

(e) Violations of this section may be investigated by such components of the Department of Justice as the Attorney General may direct, and by such components of the Department of the Treasury as the Secretary of the Treasury may direct, as appropriate, and, with respect to offenses over which the Department of Homeland Security has jurisdiction, by such components of the Department of Homeland Security as the Secretary of Homeland Security may direct, and, with respect to offenses over which the United States Postal Service has jurisdiction, by the Postal Service. Such authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Postal Service shall be exercised in accordance with an agreement which shall be entered into by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Postal Service, and the Attorney General.

(f) As used in this section—

(1) the term “monetary transaction” means the deposit, withdrawal, transfer, or exchange, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of funds or a monetary instrument (as defined in section 1956(c)(5) of this title) by, through, or to a financial institution (as defined in section 1956 of this title), including any transaction that would be a financial transaction under section 1956(c)(4)(B) of this title, but such term does not include any transaction necessary to preserve a person’s right to representation as guaranteed by the sixth amendment to the Constitution;

(2) the term “criminally derived property” means any property constituting, or derived from, proceeds obtained from a criminal offense; and

(3) the terms “specified unlawful activity” and “proceeds” shall have the meaning given those terms in section 1956 of this title.

Elements Of Money Laundering Charges

According to Nevada law, money laundering charges can only be brought if the money in question was made through certain specific crimes, which are also called specified unlawful activities (SUAs). SUAs encompass a wide variety of serious federal offenses such as:

Common Types of Money Laundering

There are a few ways that money laundering may be conducted, and the specifics of each money laundering charge are critical when building a defense. A skilled Las Vegas money laundering attorney will carefully examine your case and decide the best course of action to combat the charges. Specific types of money laundering include:

Casino Money Laundering

In particular, this is relevant to Nevada law. Individuals take money that was earned through illegal means and take it to a casino. They turn the money into chips and gamble with them for a period of time. Once they’re finished gambling, they trade in the chips for a check from the casino. This check is then deposited into a bank or another financial institution.

Cash-Intensive Business

The suspect might own a company that uses cash heavily and then reports the illegally gained money as income. Also known as “washing money”, cash-intensive businesses are one of the more common types of money laundering schemes.

Trade-Based

Invoices can be padded, reduced, or entirely made up to cover the fact that the funds were illegally obtained. Also known as “cooking the books”, this type of money laundering scheme is common, especially in business-rich areas like Las Vegas.

Bulk Cash Smuggling

Bulk Cash Smuggling is a reporting offense under the Bank Secrecy Act and is part of the United States Code (U.S.C.). The code stipulates that if you attempt to illegally transport over $10,000 in cash or other monetary instruments across U.S. borders in order to evade currency reporting requirements, you will be guilty of a currency smuggling offense.

Real Estate

Laundering money by buying property with illegally obtained funds, selling it, and collecting the proceeds. Criminals can launder money by making purchases through a third party, such as a family member with no criminal record. This type of transaction is often difficult to trace back to the original source.

Penalties For Money Laundering Charges In Las Vegas

The IRS reports that money laundering can be connected to other crimes, making it a complicated law. The FBI outlines the primary statutes regarding money laundering below. If found guilty of money laundering in Nevada, you may face the following sentences:

  • Fines up to $500,000; and
  • Prison time of up to 20 years. If you are convicted of money laundering in the state of Nevada, you will have to serve your prison sentence in a federal prison located outside of Nevada.

The court has the authority to freeze or seize the assets of a person accused of money laundering, which may include accounts with money that was not part of the scheme. Money laundering charges in Nevada are very severe, and if you have been arrested for this crime, it’s critical that you reach out to a qualified Las Vegas money laundering lawyer right away.

Money Laundering Connection To Other Crimes

It’s important to remember that while money laundering can be a criminal offense on its own, it is often closely related to other federal crimes. For example, people being investigated for money laundering by the federal government are often also under investigation for mortgage fraud, securities fraud, credit card fraud, bank fraud, drug trafficking, cryptocurrency crimes

Not only that, but money laundering charges in Nevada are also commonly linked with other types of federal offenses that entail organized criminal activity. This regarded crime is generally a complicated and lengthy federal offense involving making illegally-obtained money appear to come from a lawful source. Money laundering can be executed through various intricate financial transactions and transfers.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand that money laundering often transpires through multiple steps – putting dirty money into a financial institution, executing numerous convoluted financial transactions to cover the paper trail, and finally returning the “clean” cash back into society by hiding it under a legal financial transaction. This is considered a federal fraud crime punishable by imprisonment and expensive fines. If you have been apprehended for this type of violation, you will need an experienced Las Vegas money laundering attorney to build your defense.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Defenses To Money Laundering Charges In Nevada?

There are numerous defenses to money laundering charges in Nevada. However, your specific case will determine what type of defense is required. Our Las Vegas money laundering attorney will evaluate your case and figure out the approach that will provide you with the best possible outcome in your case. Three common defenses to money laundering charges are:

  • No Money Laundering – If the U.S. Attorney’s Office cannot demonstrate to a high degree of certainty that the defendant completed a financial transaction using funds from illegal activity, then the defendant can’t be prosecuted for money laundering.
  • No Intent To Money Launder – If you commingle funds from criminal activity with other money and then perform a financial transaction, that is only considered money laundering if your goal was to make the source of the funds untraceable. Unless the prosecutor can prove without a doubt that you laundered with intention, you may still be held accountable for any initial crimes – just not money laundering.
  • Police Misconduct – In many instances, when federal law enforcement is investigating a possible money laundering case, they will carry out extensive undercover operations. If it’s possible that the police exceeded their limits by conducting an illegal search, the defense attorney may file a motion to suppress evidence. This would be a request to the federal court asking that all illegally obtained evidence be disregarded. And if the court complies with this request, it might weaken the government’s case against the defendant to proceed.

What Are The 3 Stages of Money Laundering?

Money laundering refers to knowingly hiding the source of illegally-obtained funds. The charge is more specifically defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1956, “Laundering of monetary instruments.” In simple terms, this means that illegal funds are disguised to look like they were obtained legally. There are 3 stages of money laundering, they are:

  1. Placement – Money gotten through criminal activities often finds its way into the financial system when, for example, it’s deposited in a bank.
  2. Layering – To obscure the source of their funds, deposited money is used in one or multiple transactions. For instance, it may be divided into different bills.
  3. Integration – One or more individuals receive the illegally-obtained funds, with the person distributing the money typically taking a commission.

Contact Our Las Vegas Money Laundering Attorney Today

If you’re facing money laundering charges in Nevada, it’s crucial that you seek qualified legal representation immediately. At Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers, we can provide you with a highly skilled defense team who will fight for you in court and ensure the best possible outcome in your case. Our Las Vegas money laundering attorney has significant experience in federal crimes, you can trust us to be your strongest advocate and protect your rights every step of the way. Contact our office today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you fight the case.

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