Money Laundering Defense Attorneys in Michigan
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Money Laundering Charges in State and Federal Court
Both Michigan and the United States have laws against so-called “money laundering.” These are complicated cases and require handling by a very sophisticated attorney who has an education and experience in business and accounting. Several attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have business degrees, law degrees, and decades of experience handling complex state and federal, criminal litigation.
Felony Money Laundering
You most likely have heard the term “money laundering” and have a general idea of what it means. Or do you? Money laundering is a simplistic title and does not do justice to how complicated the money laundering laws are.
Money Laundering in Michigan
Money laundering is knowingly receiving money or property which is the proceeds of a crime, when the receiver has actual prior knowledge that it is the proceeds of a crime, it will aid the receiver in getting away with the crime, and is designed to hide the source or ownership of the money or property or will allow the receiver to avoid legal reporting requirements. Offenders are additionally able to be charged if the underlying crime was a controlled substance violation (drug deal). Importantly, if several money laundering actions take place, all of them that occur within 30 days can be added up, and the total is the amount that will determine which degree of money laundering you will be charged with.
Federal Money Laundering
There are three types of federal money laundering. They are domestic transactions (within the United States), international transactions, and undercover “sting” transactions. There are two kinds of federal money laundering:
- Type 1, Intent-Based: the federal prosecutor must prove the defendant acted with at least one of the following four specific intents: 1) the intent to promote the carrying on of a specified unlawful activity, 2) the intent to engage in tax evasion or tax fraud, 3) the intent to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, or 4) the intent to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State or Federal law. The intent requirement includes actual knowledge that the transactions in issue were for the reasons stated.
- Type 2, $10,000 Monetary Transaction: the four possible intent requirements above are replaced by a simple $10,000.00 value threshold, and are related only to monetary transactions (a deposit, withdrawal, transfer, or exchange, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of funds or a monetary instrument by, though, or to a financial institution) as opposed to other illegal activities, such as tax evasion.
Both state and federal prosecutors may also file a civil forfeiture action against the money or property involved, and a federal prosecutor additionally has the authority to seek civil monetary penalties.
Are money laundering penalties serious?
Absolutely. Money laundering isn’t an error in judgment, or a crime of passion, or the product of negligence. The law and judges treat deliberate, premeditated crimes harshly. As you can see below, the penalties are stiff.
Michigan Law Penalties
- Fourth Degree (Up to $10,000.00 value): 2-year “misdemeanor” (treated as a felony) and a $10,000.00 fine or twice the value of the money or property;
- Third Degree (Over $10,000.00 value or a drug crime): 5-year felony and a $50,000.00 fine or twice the value of the money or property;
- Second Degree (Over $10,000.00 or a drug crime): 10-year felony and a $100,000.00 fine or twice the value of the money or property;
- First Degree (Over $10,000.00 or a drug crime): 20-year felony and a $500,000.00 fine or twice the value of the money or property.
Federal Law Penalties
- Type 1, Intent-Based: Up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000.00 fine or twice the amount of the transaction, whichever is greater, plus a civil fine of $10,000.00 or an amount equal to the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.
- Type 2, $10,000 Monetary Transaction: Up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater. There is no civil penalty in these cases.
Due to the fact that Michigan’s lowest possible charge (Fourth Degree) is a 2-year penalty crime, it technically constitutes a felony in Michigan, even though it is called a “misdemeanor.” Therefore, not only will you face possible jail, but if you have such a crime is on your record, you will suffer collateral consequences like the loss of a job, inability to get a new job, loss of ability to own guns, bankruptcy, loss of ability to vote while in jail, deportation, damage to your credit score, and more.
Criminal Defense Law Firm for Money Laundering Charges
If you face money laundering charges, there is hope for you. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have extensive experience with fraud cases of all types, including money laundering. Our attorneys have business degrees from college which are highly beneficial in understanding money laundering mechanics, and give us an edge over other attorneys who do not have such backgrounds, such as prosecutors.
The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on complex felony charges in the United States District Court and in state courts in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.