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What To Do If You’ve Been Charged With Money Laundering

Brian J Smith Sept. 17, 2018


If you’ve been charged with money laundering in the state of Nevada, the chances are good that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Prosecutors typically only make this charge in conjunction with some other suspected illegal activity that generates large sums of cash.

That’s because the act of money laundering involves making illegal cash transactions look innocent. Consider: a drug dealer might end up with rolls and rolls of cash, but he can’t buy a house or a new car or a business with grocery bags stuffed full of green bills. It would look too suspicious, so he must find a way to make his possession of all of that money look legitimate.

Paper Trails

Money launderers use a variety of strategies. They might operate businesses that do a lot of daily transactions in cash, which can then be innocently deposited into a bank account at the end of each business day. This creates an honest-looking paper trail. In a state like Nevada, where casino gambling is so prevalent, money launderers might use cash to buy casino chips, just as many ordinary gamblers do, but then cash in the chips for a check paid into a legal checking account.

Other strategies might involve moving money to a nation where tax laws are looser. Or converting cash to cyber currency that’s harder to track.

Whatever the method, individuals suspected of money laundering might have come to the attention of authorities because of their suspected involvement in other cash-generating activities. This might include narcotics dealing, human trafficking, embezzlement, robbery, tax evasion, extortion, kidnapping or other serious felonies.

That’s another reason why you must immediately consult a criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas if you think money laundering is suspected — because there’s likely to be more bad news to come.


In addition to the expectation of other serious charges associated with that crime, the penalties for money laundering can be quite severe. Defendants found guilty might be sentenced to as much as 20 years in federal prison and fined up to the greater of a half million dollars or double the amount of money laundered.

Defense Strategies

With penalties that severe, your attorney must do everything possible to fight the charges or at least mitigate the penalties. This can mean fighting hard to disprove that any deliberate acts were committed in the first place to plea-bargaining a reduction of charges. The specific defense strategy used in your case can only be determined by carefully scrutinizing the circumstances of your activities and studying the case being built by the prosecution.

But the first thing you need to do is contact a competent and experienced criminal law attorney Las Vegas to discuss your situation. Call Brian J. Smith, Criminal Defense Attorney, today and let me get started. I can be reached at 702-380-8248.