White collar crimes don’t often get the publicity of violent crimes. The perception that there is no direct victim can keep them off the front page and out of the public conscious. But law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute them rigorously, as one scholar just found.
From research to practical application
The 75-year-old man in question was formerly a professor at the University of Miami, where he studied drug trafficking and organized crime in Latin America. Arrested in 2019, he pled guilty earlier this week to money laundering and was sentenced to six months in prison by a federal judge in Manhattan.
The accusation against the academic arose from payments he began receiving, in 2017, from a Columbian businessman. Each month the businessman would send him $200,000 per month, ostensibly for attorney’s fees. However, the convicted man was instead laundering the money, retaining 10% for his efforts. Over the course of the investigation, he purportedly laundered approximately $2.5 million illegally.
Defending against a charge of money laundering frequently takes the shape of challenging that the source of the money was illegal or by showing that the individual did not have the required intent or knowledge to commit the crime. The facts of a case often involve complex financial transactions, making them difficult to prove and easy to misinterpret.
The prosecution must prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt, opening the door for a sound defense strategy to shed new light on the case. If you are being investigated or have been arrested for money laundering, it’s critical to have a team that is experienced in handling white collar crimes such as this, to ensure your defense is of the highest caliber.