According to the state of Florida, money laundering occurs when criminal activity generates proceeds which a person or group then attempts to conceal or process through one or more financial transactions. Money laundering activities are usually thought to be done concurrently with organized crime or racketeering, and they can lead to charges that range in severity from third-degree felonies to first-degree felonies.
In a case that some Florida taxpayers may find interesting, a military officer received a sentence of 42 months in federal prison for allegedly scamming $9 million in supposed training funds. He entered a guilty plea in December 2013 to money laundering and disclosing confidential information to a company seeking a government contract. The U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City also determined he would need to follow his sentence with three years of community supervision, which was delayed until August 4. The Internal Revenue was one of the agencies that investigated the case.
An alleged Spanish drug lord is on trial in federal court in Miami, where he faces charges of conspiracy and money laundering. U.S. attorneys have accused the man of attempting to "clean" over $20 million acquired in the drug trade by paying cash for real estate, cars and other luxury goods in Miami under the name of a shell company or straw buyer.
Authorities in the U.S. have reported that they have identified a man they believe is connected to an elaborate money laundering operation that used an extensive financial network, spanning the Caribbean to Canada, in an effort to launder the profits of an equally extensive Medicare fraud scheme. The case highlights the degree to which law enforcement officials may go in cases of alleged money laundering and other white collar crimes.
A Florida doctor was recently sentenced to 70 months in Miami federal court after pleading guilty to money laundering, tax evasion and conspiracy to distribute pain medication, in significant amounts, without a legitimate medical purpose. According to authorities, the doctor was in charge of a pill mill which wrote more than 12,000 prescriptions for oxycodone in 10 months.
It may seem that financial crimes are on the rise in South Florida as yet another jury has delivered convictions in a federal prosecution. Although some may assume crimes like are the official territory of career criminals, these fraud and money laundering charges stem from the illegal practices of three chiropractors operating in the West Palm Beach, Florida area.
Cases of money laundering seem more prevalent in the news in Florida lately as criminal investigation efforts increase across the nation. Unfortunately, as these efforts increase, more and more people who have made honest mistakes may find themselves accused of intentional or willful criminal acts.
In February, we discussed the possibility of Florida's first money-laundering prosecution related to the digital currency Bitcoin. Two men were arrested in Florida on charges of money laundering and "engaging in an unlicensed money servicing business."
In the past century, the definition of money has certainly changed a bit. The money that we have sitting in the bank isn’t necessarily a physical stack of dollar bills. Instead of going to a safety deposit or a bank to access hard cash, we may type a few numbers on the keyboard and hit send to pay another party what we owe.
White collar crimes are aggressively prosecuted, with investigations into suspected fraud sometimes taking months before an arrest is ever made. Convictions often mean lengthy prison sentences and large fines. A Florida life insurance salesman now faces severe criminal penalties after entering a guilty plea to four counts of fraud and money laundering. He has been accused of defrauding several investors through a Ponzi scheme.