Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your Case
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Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your Case

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Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer, Dallas Money Laundering Lawyer, Dallas Lawyer

Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer, Dallas Money Laundering Lawyer, Dallas Lawyer

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Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your Case Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your Case Document Transcript

  • Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your CaseDallas Money Laundering Attorney CharlesJohnson provides premier legal services forindividuals facing money launderingcharges. Unlike many large corporate law firms,The Charles Johnson Law Firm structures a flatfee to cover these types of cases, rather thancharging high hourly rates for work that is oftenunnecessary.If you’ve been charged with or are underinvestigation for money laundering, it is importantthat you hire a highly skilled defense attorneywith experience defending money launderingcases. Money laundering criminal investigationsare extremely thorough and often involve financialexperts who know how to follow the money trail.The Federal crime of Money Laundering istraditionally understood to be the practice offiltering “dirty” money, or ill-gotten gains, through a series of transactions until the funds are “clean,” orappear to be proceeds from legal activities. The United States Criminal Code takes a broader stance towardsmoney laundering, and criminalizes knowingly engaging in a broad array of financial transactions that involvemoney either derived from or meant to promote various illegal activities, or that involve certain elements ofdeception. While money laundering charges are often perceived as related with drug crimes, they are morefrequently related with business-related crimes. For example, money laundering charges may be associatedwith illegal funds obtained through business fraud, mortgage fraud/real estate fraud schemes or other whitecollar crimes.The Charles Johnson Law Firm represents individuals and institutions in matters such as:  Hiding money  Failing to file require cash transaction reports  Making multiple cash withdrawals or deposits slightly below the $10,000 reporting threshold  Evading taxes by underreporting income  Alleged Patriot Act violations  Illegal wire transfers  Financial transactions involving proceeds of unlawful activity  Other illegal transactions  Federal criminal appeals involving money laundering 1
  • Such activities are often viewed by federal prosecutors as indicators of money laundering. Dallas MoneyLaundering Lawyer Charles Johnson will provide a vigorous defense of clients who have drawn scrutiny fromthe federal government for their financial transactions. If the government is able to make the case that yourfinancial transactions were an effort to “launder” money received from criminal activities such as drugtrafficking or weapons trafficking, you will face forfeiture of your assets. Dallas Lawyer Charles Johnson isavailable to speak with you directly about your case, anytime night or day, at 214-234-0111 if youhave been charged with or are being investigated for Money Laundering.Overview of Money Laundering in TexasAlthough money laundering can be a complex process, it usually involves three distinct steps that can occursimultaneously or sequentially. These steps are referred to as (1) Placement, (2) Layering, and (3)Integration.  Placement is the initial process of getting illegal funds into “the system,” or placing unlawful proceeds into legitimate financial institutions. A common technique used for placement is structuring, or “smurfing,” which involves dividing the funds into multiple deposits of cash that are below reporting thresholds and then depositing the funds at one or more institutions, using one or more individuals to make the deposits. Placement may also be accomplished by purchasing money orders or travelers checks at one institution and depositing them into accounts at other institutions.  Layering is the process of converting funds after they have entered the legitimate system. This step involves a series of complex financial transactions that move the funds in order to distance them from their illegal source. For example, dirty money may be converted to clean money through the purchase and sale of stocks, bonds, art, or jewelry. It may also be wired as payment for non-existent goods, disbursement to a non-existent borrower, or simply a transfer to another account.  Integration is the process in which the illegal funds re-enter the legitimate economy and become virtually indistinguishable from legal funds. The newly cleaned funds, often commingled with legitimate funds, are then ready for use, be it in investing in real estate, purchasing luxury items, or financing business ventures.Common elements that drive the efforts of money launderers throughout this three step process include “theneed to conceal the origin and true ownership of the proceeds, the need to maintain control of theproceeds, and the need to change the form of the proceeds in order to shrink the huge volumes ofcash generated by the initial criminal activity.” It is important, when reviewing literature on moneylaundering, to be aware that a conviction for the crime of money laundering may not necessarily reflectactivity that would traditionally be understood to constitute money laundering. For example, someone whobuys legitimate goods online commits money laundering, under the federal statute, if the supplier is outside ofthe country and the supplies are intended to facilitate one of several crimes — even if the product is itselflegal and is being used in a legal way. (For example, purchasing napkins in such a way would be moneylaundering, if they were to be used by an illegal casino.)Off-shore AccountsIdentifying and verifying money laundering is a difficult task, partly because of the complexities of the multi-transactional process but also because of the legal, political, and economic barriers that interfere with andoften completely prevent investigation or enforcement of U.S. law outside of U.S. borders. Some of thesebarriers are reduced through the use of “memoranda of understanding” (MOUs), or mutual agreements —between agencies or officials of different nations — to exchange information and cooperate in criminal 2
  • investigations. However, not all nations enter into these or other cooperative agreements. Examples of theseinstances include Nauru, Myanmar, and Nigeria.Costs and StatisticsThere is no clear picture of the actual amount of money laundered globally. Estimates based on reportedcrimes will tend to underestimate the figure, and estimates based on the size of the underground economywill tend to overestimate the actual amount. Synthesizing a variety of sources, the International MonetaryFund cites figure of between ¾ of a percent to 2 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, when usingthe reported crime method and 5 to 85 percent of a nation’s economy (depending on the nation) when usingthe underground economy method. These two figures can be found in other sources, roughly combined to givea range of 2-5 percent of the world’s GDP. In 1996, the 2-5 percent formula yielded between 590 billion and1.5 trillion dollars. This figure is relatively often quoted as being the range of the magnitude of the moneylaundering problem (sometimes “rounded up” to 600 billion)- such as by the FBI. The U.S. Department of theTreasury has also been quoted as estimating that “$600 billion represents a conservative estimate of theamount of money laundered each year.” Using 2005’s world GDP of 59.6 trillion, the 2-5% approach wouldgive one a figure of between 1.2 and 3 trillion dollars. Of course, the research that provided the main supportfor the 2-5% figure is itself a decade old, and money laundering has become an issue commanding muchgreater legislative, regulative, and law enforcement attention in the wake of September 11th. In fiscal year2001, federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. seized more than $300 million in criminal assets that wereattributable to money laundering. In 2001, U.S. district courts completed 1,420 money laundering cases andconvicted 1,243 individuals, or more than 87 percent of the defendants prosecuted. Some of these casesinvolved more than $100 million in laundered funds, and one-fifth of the cases involved more than $1 million.Of the Money Laundering Control Act charges made in 2001, 63 percent involved fraud, bank embezzlement,transporting stolen property, and counterfeiting, and 16 percent involved drug trafficking. Almost half (44percent) of the money laundering cases referred to U.S. Attorneys in 2001 occurred in the six geographicareas designated by the U.S. Departments of Justice and the Treasury as areas of high risk for financial crimesand money laundering activity (High Intensity Financial Crime Areas or HIFCAs). These areas are (with theyear designated a HIFCA)  New York and Northern New Jersey – (2000)  Los Angeles – (2000)  San Juan, Puerto Rico – (2000)  The southwest Texas and Arizona/Mexico border – (2000)  The northern district of Illinois (Chicago) – (2001)  The northern district of California (San Francisco) – (2001)  Southern Florida (Miami) – (2003)High Profile Examples/Case StudiesIn 2006, Charles E. Edwards was sentenced to 13 years in prison and was ordered to pay $320,397,837 inrestitution following his September conviction on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy tocommit money laundering. The evidence showed that from 1996 through September 2000, Edwards, thefounder of ETS Payphones, Inc. (ETS), raised capital to grow his coin-operated payphone business by using anetwork of independent insurance agents to sell payphones to investors throughout the United States for$5,000 to $7,000 per phone. Edwards convinced investors to buy payphones and lease them back to ETS forwhat Edwards claimed would be a guaranteed profit of approximately 14 percent per year. The schemedefrauded approximately 12,000 nationwide investors out of more than $400 million. Edwards siphoned off 3
  • approximately $21 million of the fraud proceeds for himself and his wife. In addition, the evidence showedthat Edwards engaged in a series of unusual and convoluted financial transactions, which served no legitimatebusiness purpose and were intended solely to conceal and disguise the source, location, ownership, nature,and control of the proceeds involved in those transactions.In 2006, Edmundo P. Rubi was sentenced to 70months in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering. Rubi previously pled guilty to thecharge that he conspired to conduct a scheme to defraud investors out of more than $12 million using hiscompanies, Knights Express, Ltd. and Djmler Enterprises, Inc. Rubi was also ordered to pay restitution in theamount of $12,483,000. According to the plea agreement, beginning in 1999 and continuing up to October 31,2001, Rubi formed and operated Knights Express Ltd. and Djmler Enterprises, Inc. for the purpose of solicitinginvestments from members of the public. In connection with his guilty plea, Rubi admitted that he madefraudulent representations that investor funds would be used to purchase and resell Federal Reserve notes inan international trading program. In actuality, no such international trading program existed. Millions ofdollars of investor funds were used instead to pay the periodic returns that investors received and to makeunsecured investments. Rubi also intentionally concealed from investors the fact that millions of dollars ofinvestor funds were converted for his own personal use and benefit.The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) andU.S. Attorney’s Office in New York completed in 2002 a “long-term investigation targeting the moneylaundering and narcotics activities of the Khalil Kharfan Organization operating in Colombia, Puerto Rico,Florida, and the New York Tri-State area.” Initial statements by the agencies indicated that more than $100million in narcotics proceeds were laundered in the scheme. The organization used members to open fictitiousbusinesses, which they used for the deposit and transfer of money between countries. Approximately $1million has been recovered.In 2002, a California jury convicted two principals in a Costa Rican tax evasion-money laundering ring. Wayne Anderson, 62, and Richard Marks, 58, were arrested in one of the largestundercover stings in IRS history. The two men were charged with conspiracy to launder $470,000, mostlythrough offshore trusts that concealed millions of dollars for U.S. taxpayers who wanted to evade U.S. taxes.The case resulted in seven federal convictions. “A Nashville, Tennessee man was sentenced to 20 years in jailfor his three-year role in a large-scale cocaine distribution and money laundering organization in the Nashvillearea. The individual pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distributecocaine. The defendant used several vehicles with sophisticated hidden compartments to transport the cocaineand the proceeds to pay for it back and forth between Chicago and Nashville.” “On June 21, 2002 a federaljury in North Carolina convicted Mohamad Hammoud and his brother Chawki, Lebanese immigrants, forproviding material support to the terrorist group Hezbollah through racketeering, conspiracy, and conspiracyto commit money laundering by funneling profits from a cigarette smuggling operation. In March 2002,several of the Hammoud’s co-defendants pled guilty in North Carolina federal court to racketeering,conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit money laundering for funneling profits from their cigarette smugglingoperation to purchase military equipment for the Hezbollah terrorists. The case began when the West VirginiaState Police seized a significant quantity of contraband cigarettes. The Federal indictment alleged that millionsof dollars worth of cigarettes were smuggled out of North Carolina to resell in States, including Michigan,where higher State taxes greatly increase the sales price.”The Response/Current EffortsLegislation and Regulation The U. S. has imposed a number of legislative and regulatory standards to determoney laundering. The most significant of these are the following:  The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), signed into law in October 1970, implemented a reporting system for large financial transactions (over $10,000) to monitor and deter the flow of criminally obtained proceeds. (Codified 31 U.S.C. §§ 5311-5330) 4
  •  The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 amended the BSA and specifically made money laundering – spending, saving, transporting, or transmitting proceeds of criminal activity – a federal felony. (Codified 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957)  The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 increased the penalties and sanctions for money laundering crimes and amended the money laundering provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 to include financial transactions with the intent to violate § 7201 (attempted tax evasion) or § 7206 (false tax return) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C.). (Pub. L. 100-690)  The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act identified violations of money laundering statues as “predicate offenses” that constitute racketeering activity and provided for both civil and criminal actions against violators. (Codified 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968)  The Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998 required that the Secretary of the Treasury coordinate and implement a national strategy to address money laundering. (Pub. L. 105- 310)  The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 established new rules and responsibilities affecting financial institutions and commercial businesses to prevent, detect, and prosecute terrorism and international money laundering. For example, the Act required banks to actively monitor customer transactions, expanded the ability of public and private institutions to share information, and increased civil and criminal penalties for money laundering. (Pub. L. 107-56)Current Efforts To Reduce Money LaunderingIn 2005, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) completed Operation Mallorca, an investigation into the use ofthe Columbian Black Market Peso Exchange to launder drug money. Operation Mallorca resulted in the arrestof 36 individuals and the seizure of 7.2 million dollars, 947 kilograms of cocaine, 7 kilograms of heroin, and21,650 pounds of marijuana. In 2005, the multinational Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forcecompleted Operation Cyber Chase, an investigation that targeted illegal Internet pharmacies. Thesepharmacies used more than 200 websites to sell controlled substances internationally and to launder theproceeds. Just one of the organizations involved used this system of web-based distribution to moveapproximately 2.5 million dosage units of Schedule II-V pharmaceuticals (including Vicodin, amphetamines,and anabolic steroids) permonth. “Operation Wire Cutter,” a two and a half year joint effort of U.S. andColombian law enforcement, uncovered a massive money laundering operation for several Colombiannarcotics cartels that channeled money through New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Juan, and PuertoRico using the Black Market Peso Exchange. The efforts resulted in 37 arrests – 29 in the U.S. and eight inColombia – as well as the seizure of more than $8 million, 400 kilos of cocaine, 100 kilos of marijuana, 6.5kilos of heroin, nine firearms, and six vehicles. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, efforts to reducemoney laundering – throughout the world – have increased significantly, with particular attention paid toassociations with terrorist activities. Effective September 24, 2001, for example, President Bush issuedExecutive Order 13224, “blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten tocommit, or support terrorism.” Initially, 27 individuals and organizations were identified as SpeciallyDesignated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entities under Executive Order 13224. By June 6, 2003, 282 individualsand organizations had been identified as SDGTs, and over $137 million in associated assets had been frozenworldwide. In July 2002, the second National Money Laundering Strategy issued by the U.S. Department ofthe Treasury pointedly addressed the issue of money laundering as “integral to the war on terrorism.”Specifically, the strategy (1) presented “government’s first plan to attack financing networks of terroristentities” and (2) focused on “the use of charities and other non-governmental organizations to raise, collect,and distribute funds to terrorist groups.” 5
  • Penalties for Money Laundering Charges in TexasMoney laundering refers to the process of concealing financial transactions. Various launderingtechniques can be employed by individuals, groups, officials and corporations. The goal of a money launderingoperation is usually to hide either the source or the destination of money in connection with a criminal act.Money laundering is a white collar crime that will be investigated by many different sources including: local,state and federal investigators that may also include the Department of Justice, the State Department, theFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA). A person can be charged with money laundering if suspected of receiving, concealing, possessing,transferring, transporting or having any interest in the proceeds of criminal activity. In fact a moneylaundering charge can be filed against a person that has almost anything at all to do with the proceeds of acriminal act. In Texas, money laundering charges have varied penalties depending on the amounts involved: 1. Value from $3000 to $19,999 = third degree felony (2-10 years in prison plus a hefty fine if convicted) 2. Value from $20,000 to $99,999 = second degree felony (2-20 years in prison plus a hefty fine if convicted) 3. Value from $100,000 and up = first degree felony (5 to life years in prison plus a hefty fine if convicted)There are several different types of money laundering charges you can face. Some are more serious thanothers and could result in severe punishments and steep fines. In fact, if you are convicted of moneylaundering, you could be forced to pay a fine up to twice the amount of the total dollar amount of fundsinvolved in the illegal activity.It is important that you contact Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson as soon as you areaware of charges against you or a loved one. If you are confronted with federal charges, you will want anexperienced attorney who is familiar with federal court procedure as it is quite different from the state courtprocess. Attorney Charles Johnson is well-versed in both federal and state law and courtprocedure. No matter what your money laundering charges or other white collar crime charges entail, youcan trust that he will prepare a solid defense on your behalf.Defenses for Money Laundering Charges in Texas  Absence of intent to commit a crime — Most crimes require intent to commit the crime. In terms of money laundering, people who are accountants, bankers, or others who deal with large amounts of money are often charged with money laundering without even knowing they committed a crime. If you can prove you were unaware the money obtained was illegal, then there is no way you can have intent to commit money laundering.  Duress — Duress occurs when a person truly believes there will be some danger or harm if they do not participate in the crime. In money laundering, criminals often force accountants or bankers to launder illegally obtained money or else be subjected to harm. If this is the case, you will have a good duress defense (as the banker or accountant).  Insufficient evidence — A criminal charge can be dismissed if there is insufficient evidence to prosecute. In money laundering, an intention to prevent illegally obtained funds from being traced to its origin is required for a conviction. A conviction also requires proving the money laundered came 6
  • from a specific illegal activity. If one of these two things is missing, then there is a possibility this defense will work.The main defense to Money Laundering is the defendant’s lack of knowledge that the funds were from anunlawful activity. Attorney Charles Johnson may be able to establish that you did not intend to promoteunlawful activity or that the transaction was not designed to conceal the unlawful activity. This is usually avalid defense when a person is merely an employee of a business, or a non-involved partner who is basically“duped” into managing a business whose proceeds are the result of an illegal activity. This defense can besupported with evidence from the company’s financial statements or accounting records showing materialmisrepresentation or omissions, committed by someone else other than the defendant. Many times onedevious business partner will ask another partner to “sign off” on certain loan documents or tax returnswithout telling the defendant that the information contained therein is false misleading. Just because adefendant has signed off on paperwork that might be designed to cover up the source of money or funds doesnot mean the defendant actually knew about the source of the funds. It is important to interview all of theparties involved to ascertain the defendant’s good character and honesty and lack of control over this area ofthe company’s finances, and to emphasize the partner’s bad character. Another defense is tracing the fundsinvolved in the transactions and proving that these specific funds did not fund, nor were the proceeds of, anyunlawful activity. The defenses for Money Laundering are quite complex (as are all white collar cases) andinvolve many hours of records research by attorneys and expert witnesses. It is often beneficial to utilize a“forensic accountant” to also go through the documents in order to defend against the Government’sallegations. Additionally, because the Charles Johnson Law Firm fights conviction from all angles, they will assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those is the “denial of right to Counsel”. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding fingerprints analysis; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; GPS tracking monitors; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading policereports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccuratecrime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Money Laundering lawyer to defend you who hasknowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case. While related charges can further complicate amoney laundering defense or other type of case, it is important to remember that just because you havebeen accused, doesn’t mean you are guilty. Contact Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnsonimmediately for your free phone consultation. Attorney Johnson will take your call 24/7 365 days/year at 214-234-0111 to discuss your case. Put his knowledge to work for you.Hire the Best Dallas Money Laundering Lawyer: Dallas White Collar CrimesLawyer Charles Johnson 7
  • At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, our attorneys possess the necessary skills and knowledge to successfullydefend individuals facing federal money laundering charges. Unless you retain counsel who will aggressivelyinvestigate the matter on your behalf, you may have a poor chance of avoiding a lengthy prison term amongother severe consequences. Money laundering is a serious offense with potential long-termconsequences including jail time. When your future is at stake, contact the Leading Dallas Criminal Lawyerat the Charles Johnson Law Firm. You can reach Attorney Johnson directly anytime night or day at 214-234-0111.Posts Related to Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right DallasWhite Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Your Case  Arrested for Federal Drug Trafficking in Dallas? Select the Right Federal Drug Lawyer If you have been caught with drugs or accused of selling or trafficking in drugs, you may be charged under state or federal drug laws. ...  Facing Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges? Choose The Right Dallas Criminal Lawyer All that a federal prosecutor needs to charge you with conspiracy is evidence that you agreed to commit an illegal act with another person. While ...  Dallas Lawyer: Arrested for Distribution Of Cocaine? Felony charges for drug possession or distribution are the most typical felonies in criminal law. If youve been charged with possession or distribution of cocaine, ...  Arrested For Child Pornography in Dallas? Hire the Right Dallas Criminal Lawyer Dallas Lawyer Charles Johnson aggressively defends clients charged with a sexual offense. He handles all sexual offense charges, whether in state or federal court, and ...  Dallas Lawyer: Search and Seizure - What Law Enforcement Officials May and May NOT Do Dallas Search and Seizure Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm Although individuals within the U.S. are entitled to privacy and freedom from government intrusion, there ... 8
  • Original article may be found at:Arrested for Money Laundering in Dallas? The Right Dallas White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Make aDifference in Your CaseDallas Lawyer Charles Johnson can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.Major Credit Cards Accepted.Dallas Lawyer Charles JohnsonSolving Problems...Every Day®http://www.dallaslawyer.com/815 Walker Street #1047Houston, TX 77002E-Mail: charlesjohnson@dallaslawyer.comPhone: (713) 222-7577Toll-Free: (877) 308-0100Map To Office 9