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What exactly is money laundering?

Many Indianapolis residents may have heard about people, including high-profile people, getting accused of money laundering either at the state or federal level.

While they may therefore recognize that money laundering is something that authorities frown on, they may not fully understand what sort of behavior the phrase is referring to, as it is admittedly a little strange sounding.

For instance, a person can get confused and believe that federal laws prohibiting money laundering forbid a person from ever being discreet about where they acquired certain funds. Such, however, is not the case, as there may be good reasons, or even just privacy issues, that justify a person's not wanting to be totally candid about the origin of money.

Where one can run in to serious legal trouble, however, is when authorities suspect that a person is hiding the source of, or some other key piece of information about, money in order to carry on some other underlying illegal behavior.

For instance, funneling gains from drug deals through what looks like a legitimate business in order to be able to use the drug money more easily could constitute money laundering. If charged as a federal crime, such behavior can land one in prison for up to 20 years and can also result in hefty fines.

As is the case with other white collar crimes, people can with surprising ease get accused of being involved in a money laundering scheme when in reality they were without fault or, at worse, were just careless in the way they managed their affairs. Given this and the fact the penalties are so harsh, defending against money laundering charges is well-advised.

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