Fighting Money Laundering Charges in San Francisco


Fighting Money Laundering Charges in San Francisco

Getting charged with money laundering can be scary. Even if you think your innocent, proving it can be an uphill battle. This article will give you a basic overview of money laundering laws in San Francisco, common defenses, and what to expect if your facing charges.

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is when someone tries to hide the source of illegal funds or make them look legal. It often involves complex financial transactions to disguise where “dirty” money came from. Some common examples include:

  • Depositing cash from drug sales into a bank account
  • Buying expensive assets like cars or property with illegal profits
  • Transferring money between accounts or businesses to hide it’s source

Most money laundering charges in San Francisco involve drugs, fraud, or other organized crime. Prosecutors need to prove you knew funds were illegal and tried to conceal that. Penalties can include hefty fines and years in prison depending on amounts laundered.

Money Laundering Laws in San Francisco

California money laundering laws closely mirror federal statutes. The main state law is California Penal Code Section 186.10. This makes it illegal to conduct transactions involving profits from criminal activity. Prosecutors need to show:

  1. Funds came from criminal activity
  2. You knew the source was illegal
  3. You took steps to hide the source through financial transactions

Related charges often include tax evasion, fraud, and conspiracy. San Francisco uses both state and federal agencies to investigate money laundering. Key agencies include the IRS, FBI, Homeland Security, and local police.

Common Defenses Against Charges

Fighting money laundering charges starts with understanding prosecutors burden of proof. Their case often relies heavily on financial records and transactions. Some potential defenses include:

  • Lack of Criminal Source – Argue funds did not come from illegal activity. For example, cash deposits from a legal business.
  • Lack of Knowledge – Claim you did not know the source of funds was criminal. For example, you thought deposits were from a family inheritance.
  • No Intent to Conceal – Argue you did not try to hide source of funds or make them appear legal. Deposits and transfers were done openly.
  • Duress – Argue you only laundered money due to threats of violence or harm by others.

An experienced money laundering defense lawyer can also scrutinize the prosecutions evidence and hold them to meeting their burden of proof.

What to Expect If Charged

Being charged with money laundering in San Francisco means your facing serious felony charges. Here’s an overview of what you can expect after getting charged:

  1. Arrest and Booking – Most money laundering defendants are arrested and booked into jail. This involves getting mug shots and fingerprints taken.
  2. Hearing and Bail – You’ll have a hearing within 48 hours to determine bail. Bail is usually set very high given the serious charges.
  3. Hiring a Lawyer – A money laundering lawyer can protect your rights, seek pretrial release, and start building a defense.
  4. Pretrial Motions – Your lawyer can file motions contesting evidence, requesting dismissal, or negotiating a plea bargain.
  5. Trial – If no plea bargain, prosecutors must prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. You can challenge evidence and testify on your own behalf.
  6. Sentencing – If convicted, you’ll face fines and jail time depending on amounts laundered and your criminal history.

Facing money laundering charges isn’t easy. But an experienced lawyer can help develop a strong defense and get the best possible outcome in your case. Don’t hesitate to seek legal help if charged in San Francisco.