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What is money laundering?

Money laundering is a crime that can have a range of serious consequences. It’s a concern within Texas as well as all over the world, and as a result it’s important to understand the basics to get a good grasp on the types of penalties that may occur if you’ve been charged with this financial crime.

According to Business Insider, there are some basic methods used to launder money, many of which entail complex schemes in order for the operation to go undetected. For instance, some people will utilize a third party who is responsible for making many small transactions to hide the source of the money. These people are typically referred to as “smurfs”, who receive cash via courier and then deposit it as the larger entity sees fit. The people involved in depositing and transferring money can become greedy, which often leads to opulent purchases that draw attention.

There are other avenues money laundering can take however, including setting up offshore accounts in places known for money laundering. This can include Hong Kong, which is well known for its flexibility when it comes to questionable financial practices. There are a larger number of banks in Hong Kong, and many are amenable to helping foreign businesses conceal the source of their money (either to avoid taxes or because it came from nefarious practices).

There are also other corporate options for money laundering operations. Over-invoicing is exceedingly common in this case, which involves adding on a few million dollars to a contract, which is then transferred to a shell company for safe-keeping. The person at the center of the operation can then access the money as he or she sees fit, without worrying about detection. While these methods are used quite frequently, thanks to modern technology and surveillance money launderers face a very real possibility of being charged with and convicted of their crimes. 

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If you or your company is under investigation, charged or indicted for federal or state crimes, or you want to ensure future compliance, contact Hilder & Associates, P.C., for more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston white collar criminal defense lawyer.

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