Money laundering, an activity in which a person or business attempts to hide the true source of money, is prohibited by law and may be federally prosecuted. In cases of money laundering, the person or business attempts to hide the source of money derived from illegal activities, such as health care fraud, drug trafficking or public corruption, for purposes of evading taxes that would otherwise be owed.
Money laundering investigations often involve investigators with the Internal Revenue Service. Part of an investigator's job in a money laundering case is to review numerous different kinds of documents and records. The records may come from banks, online accounts, property records and real estate transaction records. When an investigator is reviewing the records, they are looking to trace the source of suspected laundered money in order to determine its legitimacy.
Such cases are often complex, potentially involving thousands of pages of documents. Allegations of money laundering and tax evasion are occasionally used in order to seek a conviction for a person who is suspected of other criminal activity but for which the evidence of the other criminal activity is insufficient for an arrest or conviction.
Facing federal felony charges can potentially be very serious as well as frightening. There are some people who may be charged with money laundering even when their actions were innocent. Others who may have engaged in money laundering may need to mitigate their cases in order to secure pleas guaranteeing little or no incarceration time. Whether a person is innocent of the offense or needs to mount a defense to charges that might have some basis, a criminal defense attorney may be of assistance.
Source: The Internal Revenue Service, "Overview - Money Laundering," Feb. 12, 2014