The process of transforming funds achieved in criminal activity into legal properties is defined as money laundering. Its goal is to disguise the illegally earned money as funds from a non-criminal activity. For proving that a certain case can be deemed money laundering, it must meet the following three elements.
The awareness about a fraud money source
To accuse someone of money laundering, it must be proven that the defendant was aware that the money they hold came from fraud. Otherwise, even if one participated in money laundering but not consciously, they cannot be accused of criminal activity since they did not suspect that they are performing a crime. Nevertheless, the prosecutor’s burden of evidence or circumstantial proof is rather low. The prosecutors actually have to prove that you knew of the illegal status of funds obtainment.
The defendant started or completed a financial activity
For accusing someone, the prosecutor must demonstrate that one was involved in the beginning or end of a financial transaction such as purchasing, donation, loan, withdrawal, transfer, credit extension, safe-deposit operations, etc.
The defendant participated in the three money laundering phases
A person can be accused of money laundering if they were involved in one of the following money laundering steps:
- Transfer – a large amount of “dirty” money was placed in a financial company. Financial institutions pay attention to cash-rich companies. If such companies deposit larger cash amounts, it triggers the institution’s suspicion.
- Layering – another triggering activity is participation in misleading financial practices aiming at masking illegal income as a part of regular business activities.
- Implementation – this step means that money was taken back to the local economy, now being identified as legal.
Proof for accusation
The task of the prosecutor is to find out what happened during the money laundering case. They need to link the illegal activities to the people who conducted them and prove that those individuals were aware that the funds were coming from an illegal source. Moreover, the prosecutor needs to find evidence that the convicted individuals deliberately planned to “launder” the “dirty” money and make them look legal.
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