Federal Money Laundering Crimes
The government has the following three ways to forfeiture property in money laundering cases:
- an in personam forfeiture money judgment against the defendant;
- direct forfeiture of specific property made forfeitable by statute as provided by 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(1), (b)(1) and 21 U.S.C. § 853(a);
- in the absence of directly forfeitable property, the government may seek forfeiture of other substitute property belonging to the defendant as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 982(b)(1) by meeting the requirements of 21 U.S.C. § 853(p).
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(1), any property, real or personal, involved in a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 for money laundering, or any property traceable to such property is subject to criminal forfeiture.
These federal money laundering forfeiture authorities often apply to a larger class of property than traditional forfeiture authorities.
For example, money laundering based forfeitures are not limited to the proceeds of the crime. Money laundering forfeiture encompasses all property “involved in” the crime, which can include so-called “clean” or “legitimate” money that is commingled with “tainted” money derived from the specified unlawful activity.
In a forfeiture proceeding for money laundering, the Court will determine the amount of forfeiture based on the overall criminal venture.
“The calculation of forfeiture amounts is not an exact science” because the courts use “general points of reference as a starting point for calculating the losses or gains from fraudulent transactions and may make reasonable extrapolations from the evidence established by a preponderance of the evidence.” United States v. Treacy, 639 F.3d 32, 48 (2d Cir. 2011).
Criminal forfeiture can take into account all of the conspiracy’s gains that any defendant could have foreseen.
For example, in United States v. Lo, 839 F.3d 777, 794 (9th Cir. 2016) the court concluded that when a person pleads to only certain offensive conduct that is relevant to an overall scheme, “the court was authorized to order forfeiture of the funds obtained from those schemes, including from the additional executions of the schemes alleged in the indictment and admitted in the plea agreement.”
Attorneys for Federal Money Laundering Crimes
An attorney can help you deal with all aspects of money laundering crimes including a criminal prosecution or attempts to seize property for forfeiture proceedings.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand federal anti-money laundering laws that might apply to your case.
Federal Forfeiture Laws in Money Laundering Case
A person convicted of federal money laundering must forfeit to the government all property that is either “involved in” that violation or traceable to it. See 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(1)).
Property eligible for forfeiture includes both the corpus, money, or property which was actually laundered, along with “any commissions or fees paid to the launderer and any property used to facilitate the laundering offense.” United States v. Puche, 350 F.3d 1137, 1153 (11th Cir. 2003).
The substantive scope of property that may be forfeited from a defendant convicted of money laundering is found in § 982(a)(1). Additionally, the procedural provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 853 govern any seizure and disposition of the property and any related judicial or administrative proceeding.
For this reason, criminal forfeiture under § 982(a)(1) is part of the tradition of “in personam, criminal forfeitures,” which are wholly punitive and serve no remedial purpose. See United States v. Joseph, 743 F.3d 1350, 1354 (11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam). Property forfeited under the criminal forfeiture laws is conveyed to the United States, not the victim or any other third party. Id.
This article was last updated on April 11, 2022.