Money laundering is different than most other white-collar crimes because it does not deprive a victim of resources. Instead, money laundering involves taking money or assets acquired through illegal activity and falsifying information about its origin. Money laundering often facilitates large criminal enterprises.
Retail businesses are among the kinds of companies that could end up facing accusations of money laundering. Those working at a retail establishment are among the few people who could end up involved in money laundering without ever even realizing that they have done anything wrong.
How money laundering occurs in a retail environment
Any means of converting cash to money usable online could lead to money laundering. Some of the popular services provided at neighborhood convenience shops and grocery stores actually lend themselves to abuse by criminal elements looking to legitimize ill-gotten proceeds.
Cash transfers and prepaid credit or debit cards are among the services that retail businesses can provide that could end up tying them to a money laundering operation. Investigators may not believe someone’s claim that they were unaware of why the same dozen people would come in weekly to purchase thousands of dollars in prepaid cards. Unfortunately, prosecutors may try to hold business owners or managers responsible for behavior that they did not actually participate in and which may not have resulted in any profit for them whatsoever.
Business records and other documents can help those who have been accused fight back
There are many ways for a business owner or shop manager to push back on claims that they knowingly participated in a money laundering scheme. Seeking legal guidance to craft the strongest defense strategy possible is generally the best first step forward.
The exact reason that investigators claim money laundering took place and the size of the business involved will have a profound impact on the best defense options for those accused of involvement in a money laundering operation. Choosing to fight back and looking into every option will be a smart move for those who have been accused of white-collar criminal offenses like money laundering.