What is considered money laundering and when do I need a fraud solicitor?
A fraud solicitor has a great deal of experience defending various types of fraud cases on many different levels (from student visa crime to multi-million-pound cases) and money laundering falls under the list of fraudulent activity that we aim to defend. But what makes money laundering so specific that it gets its own category of charges? And when is the line crossed from regular fraud – which on its own is a criminal activity – to money laundering, and what will you be faced with in court if these charges are put against you?
What is money laundering?
Under the law of the United Kingdom, money laundering includes all forms of possession and handling of criminal property; this includes the proceeds of one’s own crime, also, if you facilitate any handling or possession of the said criminal property. Furthermore, money laundering may be defined as the process whereby criminals retain, disguise, and conceal the proceeds of their crime and/or raise, consolidate, or retain funds for use in financing terrorism.
The crimes mentioned above may include illegal arms sales, illegal trade of diamonds or precious metals, drug trafficking, human trafficking, modern slavery, smuggling, theft. These involve a physical property that is obtained illegally and then traded for money which is then hidden from the state. However, illegal money may also be obtained from fraud, bribery, and corruption, all of which are crimes that often involve money or illegal trade goods. Anyone knowingly benefiting from a deal from an illegal service or trade who is caught concealing money is considered a money launderer.
The cycles of money laundering
While it is clear that money laundering involves a criminal activity to acquire cash, that cash then goes through a cycle of stages to be kept hidden from the authorities;
Stage 1 – Placement – the collected “dirty” money – from means mentioned above – is moved from its source and placed into circulation in financial institutions like casinos, shops, bureau de change, and other businesses, both local and abroad. The money is kept moving but then it enters the next stage of the cycle.
Stage 2 – Layering – through buying assets and reselling them, the “dirty money” becomes more difficult to trace as the sale of said assets is not likely to be illegal, the money is then put into a financial institution like a bank and appears to be from a reputable source. As it becomes “clean” this now enters the 3rd stage, known as integration.
So if the money that a business or person – which seems to have been legitimately earned – can be proved to have originally come from a source of criminal activity, and then laundered through nefarious means then said person or business may be charged with money laundering.
What can I expect from a solicitor for fraud?
Solicitors for fraud will offer you well-considered advice throughout the investigation of either yourself or your company and should the investigation proceed to official charges, they will prepare your case in advance of the trial as well as prepare you for the court where they will be able to represent you if you have breached any money laundering regulations.
Should you have any concerns about having breached any such regulations, call one of our lawyers immediately to seek advice and representation.