In a case that made for some eye-grabbing headlines, federal prosecutors recently filed money laundering charges against a university professor who has for many years been recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on money laundering.
According to news reports, prosecutors say the University of Miami professor laundered $3 million from foreign individuals who had acquired the money through bribes and embezzlement from a large project in Venezuela. Prosecutors say the professor received the money as large deposits in overseas bank accounts. He would then withdraw 90% of the money as a cashier’s check and hand the check to an unnamed individual who, prosecutors say, is a Columbian national. He would keep the other 10% and send it to his personal account.
Money laundering is a crime that involves disguising an illegal source of funds by transferring the money into channels that appear to be legal. A common scenario in money laundering prosecutions is an accusation that a person who owned a restaurant or other small business actually made most of their money through drug trafficking or other illegal operations. However, many money laundering are not so simple.
Money laundering cases often hinge on very complex evidence. With that in mind, both prosecutors and defense attorneys must rely on the testimony of expert witnesses who can make sense of the complicated financial transactions and other evidence involved. This evidence can be difficult to explain to a jury, and it can be easily misunderstood.
For these and other reasons, people who are charged with money laundering should seek out help from a criminal defense attorney who has experience with charges of money laundering and other highly complex financial crimes.