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Many people assume that money laundering prosecutions exclusively take place in federal court, but to the contrary numerous individuals are charged in state court under the Florida Money Laundering Act. This law was created as a comprehensive tool to prosecute individuals who are suspected of various forms of money laundering. If you are being investigated or have been charged with money laundering do not speak to law enforcement without contacting a criminal defense lawyer. State law enforcement officers and agents from the IRS and FBI are trained to elicit damaging statements from unrepresented suspects. A suspect could easily give a seemingly harmless statement that ends up being key piece of the state’s evidence. No person is required to cooperate with law enforcement regardless of what they say, and investigators or detectives routinely make false promises. At the first sign of law enforcement activity contact South Florida criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst for a free consultation. Benjamin specializes in money laundering cases in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. He is also an experienced financial crimes lawyer for all defendants in the Tri-County area and the Treasure Coast jurisdictions of Martin and St. Lucie County. Benjamin is available 7 days a week to speak, and also has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach office locations.
The Florida Money Laundering Act prohibits a host of illegal activity including knowingly conducting financial transactions with proceeds from unlawful activity. The law also prohibits an individual from attempting to conceal or disguise the nature, source, location, ownership or control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, and to transport monetary instruments or funds with the intent to aid in any of these unlawful activities. Anyone who was involved with these alleged acts could be prosecuted, and law enforcement often targets those with minimal involvement to seek cooperation agreements. Again, the risk outweighs the benefits of speaking to state or federal government without consulting with an attorney first. Money laundering charges range from a third-degree felony if over the course of 12-month period the value of the transaction(s) was $300 but less than $20,000, and a second-degree felony if the transaction(s) was valued from $20,000 to $100,000. Money laundering of $100,000 or more constitutes a first-degree felony that is punishable by up to 30 years in jail. The charges are severe, but Benjamin has experience negotiating with law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and in some cases can prevent his clients from being charged. He also can explain any defenses that may be available in your case such as lack of knowledge and entrapment. It is not a defense that law enforcement used deception or facilitated the transactions, as long as the defendant was a willing participant from the outset.
One of the most common money laundering offenses is avoiding transaction reporting requirements. This also happens to be one of the easiest types of money laundering offenses to prove in both federal and state courts. Under Florida law 896.102 persons involved in trade or business are required to report all cash or currency transactions of $10,000 or more with the department of revenue. Two or more related transactions totaling $10,000 also must be reported in order to remain in compliance with this law. Failure to report large cash transactions is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law with a maximum jail sentence of 1-year and the possibility of a $250,000 fine. Benjamin fights for clients facing charges for money laundering and failure to report currency transactions in all Florida courts, and is available anytime to discuss your case at (954) 543-0305. He is also an experienced white-collar criminal defense lawyer for other financial crimes in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast. Benjamin frequently travels anywhere from Miami to Port St. Lucie to meet with clients, and is standing by to plan your defense. Benjamin provides his cell phone number to all clients, and is available on nights and weekends to answer questions or discuss strategy in off hours.