Experts estimated that around $5 trillion each year is laundered, and law enforcement authorities only recover a small fraction of that amount. Despite the gap, U.S. agencies take money laundering investigations seriously. While we might think of large banks and other financial institutions when thinking of money laundering. However, anyone can be a target of these investigations, such as business partners, board members, or antique dealers.
It is uncomforting to get a call or visit from a federal agent or agency, but you must remain calm. Additionally, hiring a white-collar crimes attorney can be beneficial. They can guide you through the investigation and ensure you do not incriminate yourself.
Steps to Take When Under Investigation for Money Laundering
Federal law enforcement generally takes an aggressive approach when it comes to money laundering investigations. The steps you take during the investigation are crucial to securing your freedom.
End Any Questionable Activities
If you believe that you are under investigation for money laundering in California, you must end any questionable activities. Federal investigations typically proceed for weeks to months before the targets receive notice of the investigation, so you should assume law enforcement has been monitoring your activity for a while. You should also assume that they have access to your bank records and agents bugged your phone lines. Law enforcement officers may also monitor your whereabouts through GPS tracking.
Even if the investigators already have evidence of your activities, ceasing to provide them more information may only help your case.
Do Not Talk to Others about the Investigation
Once you have suspicions or learn you are the target of a money-laundering investigation, you should not speak to anyone about the case except for your defense attorney. Government attorneys might subpoena your communications, including phone records, text messages, social media messages, and emails. Thus, it is safe to assume that the government is privy to electronic communications and may use that evidence against you.
Furthermore, anyone you speak to about the case may have to testify about that information in court. Even mentioning facts about the case to colleagues, friends, or family members might result in evidence against you.
Never Destroy Evidence
Although destroying or deleting evidence that appears incriminating may be tempting, it is never a good idea. Destruction of evidence may obstruct justice, which is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Prosecutors take destroying evidence very seriously, and they may charge you with obstruction of justice if they have reasonable suspicion that you intentionally destroyed the evidence. Additionally, destroying electronic evidence is often unsuccessful since companies can quickly recover the evidence.
To avoid obstruction of justice charges, you should refrain from deleting any electronic files or destroying any physical copies. Even if what you are deleting or throwing away is unrelated to the investigation, doing so may only make you look guilty. Additionally, you should disable any auto delete programs you set up on your computer and take actions to preserve physical documents.
Hire a White-Collar Crime Defense Attorney
A white-collar crime conviction has the power to tarnish your reputation. Felony charges remain on your record permanently, meaning anyone can see the conviction on a background check. A simple Google search will likely show the conviction and details surrounding the offense. If a court convicts you of the crime, you may face fines and jail time. You must also remember that money laundering is often a federal crime, so it is wise to work with an attorney who has experience handling federal charges.
A lot is on the line, as a federal felony conviction may lead to you losing some of your constitutional rights –– including the right to possess a firearm –– hefty fines, and prison time. You might also have difficulty finding a job with a conviction on your record. While employers cannot discriminate against applicants because of their prior criminal history, they may choose a candidate who has a clean record over one with a criminal conviction. Some employers or hiring managers may completely reject applications from those who have been convicted of financial crimes. Do not take the chance of hiring a lawyer who is not experienced in white-collar crimes or federal charges, and contact Attorney Dod today.
Contact a White Collar Crime Defense Lawyer in California Today
Penalties are severe for money laundering convictions, including hefty fines and jail time. A conviction can also present severe hardships in your personal and professional life. Hiring a skilled white-collar crimes attorney is your best chance of navigating these charges. When you need legal representation, contact Dod Law.
Attorney Dod is an experienced criminal defense attorney well-versed in the law and will do everything possible to clear your name. As a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, Attorney Dod dedicates himself to protecting and fighting for his clients. For a free consultation, call (619) 814-5110 or complete our online contact form.