The term “money laundering” can be applied to a lot of different criminal financial activities. It is commonly used to describe efforts to hide the source of ill-received funds. If you are being investigated by the United States Attorney’s Office, reach out to the Tampa money laundering attorneys at Joffe Law, P.A. Our Hillsborough County, Florida white collar criminal defense attorneys can help you mount a potent defense to combat these very serious charges.

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Types of money laundering

  • Wire fraud. Before the days of modern technology, wires were used to communicate with people living in other states through telephone calls and, before that, telegraphs. If these communication devices were used for the purpose of defrauding another person, it was deemed to be wire fraud. Today, of course, most communication is wireless, but if the fraudulent communication crosses states lines, it is a federal offense and is still called by the archaic term of wire fraud.
  • Mail fraud. Before wire communications, there was mail. If the US Post Office, authorized depository, private or commercial interstate carrier is used to send or deliver any fraudulent scheme to intentionally deprive another of property, there is a possibility that mail fraud has been committed.
  • Mortgage fraud. This area of money laundering can get very complex. The American dream of home ownership can be tainted my fraudulent activity. Mortgage fraud is such a serious problem that the United States Department of Justice in conjunction with the FBI set up a program titled “Operation Malicious Mortgage”. Its focus is to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases. In the simplest conditions of mortgage fraud, a person presents fraudulent information on a mortgage application in order to qualify for a mortgage or to obtain a larger mortgage. This is termed fraud for housing. Fraud for profit is when insiders of the mortgage industry, such as bankers, appraisers, or loan brokers take advantage of their knowledge of the lending process to attain money or equity from homeowners or lenders. There are even nicknames for mortgage fraud activities. Straw buyers are used to disguise the true buyer of a property. If a straw buyer is granted a mortgage, it is called an air loan. A double sale is the sale of a mortgage to more than one note carrier. It is understandable why the Federal District Attorneys have created a special program for mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud is prosecuted at the federal level when the questionable activity crossed state lines, involved federal agencies like the FHA (sets standards and insures loans), or included federally regulated financial institutions.
  • Insurance Fraud. Insurance fraud can work both ways. Either the entity or person who is insured presents an untrue situation to an insurance company in an attempt to secure funds, or the insurance company denies payment to the insured for an item the policy covers. A third type of insurance fraud is when an employee of an insurance company, with knowledge on how the insurance business works, games the system for their financial gain. In John Grisham’s “The Rainmaker”, young attorney Rudy Baylor, takes on an insurance company that refuses to pay for a bone marrow transplant that could have saved a man’s life. In the end, the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, and the insurance company is ordered to pay punitive damages.

Notorious examples

  • Al Capone. Although his final downfall was tax evasion, notorious mobster Al Capon used laundromats to hide his estimated $1 billion of mob money in the roaring 1920s. Some believe that is where the term for “laundering” money came from. Another theory suggests the term is used because the objective is to clean “dirty” money.
  • Ferdinand Marcos. Once president of the Philippines, he stole billions in public money that he laundered through banks in the United States and Europe.
  • Pablo Escobar. Not only mobsters and crooked politicians, but drug operatives, also, need to wash their money. At one time, Escobar controlled 80 percent of the world’s cocaine. This resulted in a lot of money that he washed with the help of bribes and unethical bankers.

Defenses against related charges

A successful prosecution of money laundering must prove the following:

  • the source of the money was from a crime
  • an intentional attempt to conceal the origin of the money in question
  • the defendant performed the questionable actions willingly
  • there was an attempt to hide the money

If you are facing federal charges of money laundering in Hillsborough County or elsewhere in Florida, let the Tampa money laundering defense lawyers at Joffe Law help you mount the best defense possible to combat them. We will make sure your rights are protected throughout the process. We will work with you through the investigation, the filing of charges, and court appearances. Take control of your defense today.