Money laundering is the practice of engaging in a financial transaction to conceal the source, amount, identity, or destination of the ill-gotten money. Each federal circuit interprets the requirements for proving money laundering differently. In other jurisdictions, the money has to be traced to the underlying criminal offense. In some jurisdictions, a deposit of any ill-gotten money into a bank account taints clean funds.
Thus, money laundering charges are complicated to prove and vary by court and judge; thus, a defendant accused of money laundering requires an attorney that understands federal criminal law.
Under federal law, there are two money laundering statutes. One prohibits engaging in financial transactions that use ill-gotten funds to further the criminal activity. The other prohibits any person from engaging in a monetary transaction involving $10,000 where the money derives from specific unlawful activity.
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