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Important federal money laundering laws to know

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2023 | White Collar Crimes

Money laundering can come in several forms. It may involve concealing ownership of money or the source of it. Also, it may involve certain business operations, investments or various other methods. Section 1956 of the U.S. Code outlines a few different forms of money laundering. For people facing money laundering charges in Missouri, it is essential to understand the differences.


Domestic money laundering is a common type of white-collar crime. Section 1956(a)(1) covers this type. It says that people are prohibited from making transactions with money from suspected unlawful activity. The transactions referred to in this section include four potential types of intent. A person may intend to conceal fund information, evade taxes, promote illegal activity or avoid reporting requirements. Hiding fund information may involve disguising the nature, location or source of funds.


Section 1956(a)(2) applies to any cross-border transactions. According to this section, people cannot receive or transfer proceeds from suspected unlawful activities. There must be intent to promote more illegal activity or conceal information about the funds. That information may be about the source, nature or location of the money.


Section 1956(a)(3) relates to sting operations. It applies when law enforcement officials represent funds as proceeds from illegal activities. People who receive these funds are prohibited from using the money to make any transactions. Such transactions must aim to promote more illegal activities or conceal fund information. That concealment may involve information about the source, location or nature of the funds.

The penalties for money laundering may involve significant fines and prison time. Fines vary and can be more than $250,000. For domestic and international money laundering, convictions can come with prison sentences of up to 20 years. The prison sentence for undercover money laundering may be up to 10 years. With these potential consequences, it is important to take money laundering charges seriously.