How Much Money is Considered Money Laundering?
Money laundering is more about the intent than the amount of money, but you will likely be investigated for money laundering if you bring more than $10,000 in cash into or out of the United States, deposit $10,000 or more in cash into a bank account, or if you spend more than $300,000 in cash on a real estate purchase.
Even before the pandemic, cash transactions accounted for a smaller percentage of all sales. Inserting a credit card into a chip reader or holding your Apple Watch up to a device that accepts Apple Pay have become common ways of making purchases in person, to say nothing of storing your debit card information in ecommerce apps and floating your friends and relatives $20 on Venmo instead of just handing them a banknote. In these circumstances, keeping large amounts of cash seems increasingly shady; perhaps cryptocurrency is the only shadier way to shop. At least, law enforcement tends to see it that way. If you have $100,000 in cash in a shoebox in your closet, chances are that not all of it came from the proceeds of your dog walking business. From a legal perspective, large cash transactions raise red flags about money laundering. If you are being accused of money laundering when, in fact, you prefer to cash your paycheck so you cannot be tempted to swipe your debit card, contact the Gwinnett County, Georgia white collar crimes defense lawyers at Zimmerman & Associates.
The Many Manifestations of Money Laundering
Money laundering is any operation in which a person or group of people makes transactions to disguise the origins of money obtained through illegal activities (such as drug trafficking or sex trafficking) to make it appear as though it came from legitimate source. These are some common money laundering tactics:
- Having several individuals divide the illegally obtained money into small amounts and deposit it in a large number of bank accounts, resulting in so many transactions that the money becomes difficult to trace.
- Smuggling cash across national boundaries.
- Buying valuable items such as real estate and luxury cars in cash and then reselling them.
- Listing assets in the name of shell corporations.
- Falsifying the records of businesses that naturally deal in cash (such as restaurants and laundromats) to make the illegally obtained cash appear to be a normal part of the company’s revenues.
U.S. Money Laundering Facts and Statistics
Money laundering can get you in serious trouble. More people get charged with money laundering in the United States than in any other country, and 91% of defendants convicted of money laundering receive prison sentences. The average money laundering case involves just over $200,000 of laundered money. Despite this, 95% of automatically generated money laundering alerts (such as when someone buys real estate in cash or makes a large cash deposit in a bank) are false positives and do not represent actual money laundering.
Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Money Laundering Defense
An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself against accusations of financial crimes such as money laundering. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.