One of the most difficult aspects of criminal activity, like selling drugs, is the fact that transactions are almost exclusively cash. Especially if local or federal law enforcement officers suspect criminal activity, the risk arises for marked bills from controlled buys to create a chain of evidence that could implicate people involved in the enterprise.
In order to take money received from criminal activities and make it legitimate money that they can claim as income or spend on bigger purchases, people engage in money laundering. Money laundering involves using proceeds from criminal activity to invest in a legitimate business.
Many money laundering schemes involve either restaurants or some kind of retail establishment due to the need to cover up frequent cash transactions.
Money laundering comes in all shapes and sizes
Sometimes, money laundering looks like a drug trafficker running a small restaurant so that there is no way to tell what cash income is legitimate and what comes from their illegal business activities. Other times, money laundering might involve a local business reaching an agreement with people engaged in criminal activity.
The store might not keep thorough records about who purchases prepaid debit cards with cash at their business in order to prevent anyone from tracing those purchases back to specific people. They might welcome large cash purchases for items that people usually finance or buy on credit.
Not only do the people trying to launder the money have risk, but the business involved is also at risk. The owner and workers could face criminal charges, and the business and all of its assets may be subject to seizure in some cases.
Defending against money-laundering requires planning
Unlike some criminal acts which are easy to catch in progress, money laundering often requires either a source inside the company providing information to investigators or long-term monitoring in order to establish enough evidence to bring charges.
Anyone worried about losing their business or their freedom because of money laundering allegations may want to carefully go over their financial and business records with a criminal attorney. In some cases, what seems like intentional money laundering might actually be a business owner getting taken advantage of by local criminals. Only after looking at the evidence against you and the records for your business can you begin to strategize for a proper defense.