The Federal Crime of Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of disguising criminal proceeds—that is, the process of cleansing the taint from the proceeds of crime.  Money laundering, as a very general matter, occurs when a person or organization earns money through certain illegal activities and then moves, attempts to move, or conspires to move that money in an attempt to obscure its origins or cause it to it appear legitimate (i.e., “launder” it to make it look clean). Common methods include disguising the source of the proceeds; changing the form of the proceeds; or moving the proceeds to a place where the proceeds are less likely to attract attention.

Federal statutes proscribe money laundering.   The first federal Anti-Money Laundering statute was enacted in 1986 with the passage of the Money Laundering Control Act (“MLCA”), codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957.  The MLCA was amended in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-690), which amended § 1956 to add a provision making it a crime to conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity with the intent to violate § 7201 (attempted tax evasion) or § 7206 (false tax return) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.  The MLCA was further amended in 1992 by the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act and the money laundering laws have been amended and supplemented in other subsequent enactments.

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Jury Convicts Roman Catholic Priest of Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, And Wire Fraud – Court Orders Restitution

A jury recently convicted Marcin Stanislaw Garbacz, a Roman Catholic priest, of 50 counts of wire fraud, nine counts of money laundering, one count of interstate transportation of stolen money and five counts of making and subscribing a false tax return.  For the tax return years 2013 through 2017, the defendant had unreported income totaling $235,818 and income tax due totaling $46,008.  As a result, the district court ordered tax-based restitution to the IRS of $46,008 under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act.  United States v. Garbacz.

The recent case of United States v. Garbacz reinforces the fact that the federal government often prosecutes tax violations, even violations involving relatively small amount of unpaid tax such as that involved in the case—some $46,008 over the course of five years.  The case also illustrates the restitution provisions at when federal convictions involve amounts owed to the IRS.

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President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with his associate Richard Gates, were indicted last week, with a long list of criminal charges filed against them.

The charges include engaging in conspiracies against the United States and to launder money, making false statements, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

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William Byrnes

U.S. Title Insurers Required to Identify High-End Cash Buyers in Six Major Metropolitan Areas

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that will temporarily require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in six major metropolitan areas.

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The Los Angeles Fashion District spans 100 blocks, with over 2,000 businesses selling fashions and accessories at 30% to 70% off retail prices.

Saturdays are the busiest Los Angeles Fashion District shopping days, when wholesale-only shops open to the general public. The Sunday shopping epicenter is Santee Alley, between Olympic and Pico Boulevards, where you’ll find low prices, lots of knock-offs and fakes.

Thanks to a recent raid of dozens of businesses in the Fashion District, rock bottom prices and a wide-selection of clothing isn’t all that the Fashion District is now known for. Law enforcement operations have revealed that money laundering activities and Read More

“Money laundering generally refers to financial transactions in which criminals, including terrorist organizations, attempt to disguise the proceeds, sources or nature of their illicit activities.”…U.S. Department of Treasury Website

Law enforcement and financial regulators everywhere are on the lookout for money laundering. Big corporations and financial institutions hire compliance experts, and those experts cooperate fully rather than face huge fines and penalties.

While money laundering is a single process, it does have three stages:

1. The Placement Stage

This is where the “dirty” money or cash proceeds of criminal activity first enter the Read More

whistle blowWe first posted Whistleblower Exposes Massive Offshore Corruption!  On May 6, 2013 where the enormous value of whistleblowers has once again been demonstrated with the release of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists into off-shore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories hiding trillions of dollars in income and assets

The anonymous whistleblower sent to the ICIJ 2.5 million electronic files containing what the organization calls “the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization.”

Now we have come to discover another whistleblower, an HSBC employee who passed data  a former  to French authorities about the bank’s Swiss arm has supplied a list of nearly 3,000 secret accounts belonging to French residents or entities, hiding up to $5 billion (CHF4.8 billion) in undeclared assets.

The figure was revealed on Wednesday July 10, 2013, in a French parliamentary report. The report also described a variety of legal, technical, diplomatic and procedural issues that began almost as soon as the French tax authorities received five DVDs of data.

The report, explaining why it had taken so long to act on the data, said that there were internal obstacles over the different remits of the tax authorities and the prosecutor’s office, which in 2010 transferred responsibility for the case from the Mediterranean city of Nice to Paris. Read More