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Can I Get in Trouble for Unknowingly Helping Someone Launder Money?

 Posted on October 26, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Plano federal criminal defense attorneyWhen criminals or criminal organizations are taking in large amounts of money because of their criminal activities and need to make that money look like it came from a legitimate source, they will often engage in a process known as “money laundering.” This is the process of taking “dirty” criminal money and “cleaning,” or laundering it, through sources that appear to be legal. Money laundering is a serious crime that is often prosecuted at the federal level. Banks, companies, and even international organizations are constantly renewing their efforts to catch and prevent money laundering, but criminals are nothing if not creative, and new ways to launder money are constantly being created. 

Sometimes, people get involved in money laundering schemes without realizing that was what they were doing - or at least, not to the full extent of the charges they may be facing. Whether you realized it or not, you may have been committing a serious crime, even if you were accidentally helping someone launder money, and you need help from a Texas criminal defense lawyer. 

Money Laundering Mules

Someone who moves criminally obtained money for someone else is known as a “mule.” When mules are used to launder money, the mule may not necessarily know they are engaged in money laundering - although there are usually some red flags that all is not well. If someone paid you a commission to help them deposit money in your personal account or small business, you may have been serving as a money laundering mule and you can still be prosecuted for your actions. 

Money laundering mule “opportunities” are often structured as “work from home jobs.” These often target young people who have little financial knowledge or sophistication. Signs of a money-laundering operation may include: 

  • You only communicate with your boss via email
  • Your “job” has little or no description and you are not asked to do anything except manage money
  • Your boss makes promises of major commissions with very little work on your part
  • You are asked to open bank accounts or a new company to manage money
  • You are asked to transfer money through your own bank accounts or under your name
  • You were contacted on a dating site about moving money for someone else

Even if you were helping someone launder money without knowing it, you may still face federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, bank fraud, and even identity theft. These felony charges carry serious penalties with jail time and fines. Your identity may also be stolen by the people you work for, including your personal credit information, and you may even have to pay restitution to people who lose money because of your actions. 

Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer

Even if you claim you were not aware that you were helping someone launder money, charges of money laundering are serious and can bring consequences that could change your life forever. If you are being charged with or investigated for money laundering, get help right away from an experienced, aggressive Tarrant County criminal defense attorney with The Crowder Law Firm, P.C.. We fight for each of our client’s constitutional rights and will make sure your case gets the due process it deserves. Call us today at 214-544-0061 to schedule a free consultation. 





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