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What is money laundering?

You were probably shocked when you were accused of money laundering, wondering what you could have done to result in such a claim. Money laundering is a process of concealing the proceeds of a crime or converting proceeds into a service or goods. For instance, a Ponzi scheme works by taking money given to you by new investors and giving it to old investors for them to "cash out." That makes it look like the old investors and your services have success, making more people invest. Eventually, each person tends to lose his or her investments.

It's possible for someone to accuse you of money laundering when you weren't involved at all. Maybe you worked somewhere where a Ponzi scheme took place or worked in stocks and didn't know there were criminal acts going on. Not knowing you were part of a crime can be a good defense that you can speak with your attorney about.

There are many kinds of money laundering other than Ponzi schemes. Some common types include bank fraud, prime bank notes schemes, government fraud, advanced fee schemes, health care fraud and others. Each kind of money laundering is a federal crime, making it more likely for you to suffer a more severe punishment for being involved.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the department that oversees the investigation into money laundering schemes. This organization can be complicated, making it even more important for you to build up a strong defense against the charges made against you, so you can fight back for your reputation and freedom. White collar crimes can be charged at the federal level, putting you at risk of long prison sentences or heavy fines.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Money Laundering," accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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