There are so many ways for businesses to potentially violate the law that it can sometimes seem impossible to keep track of them all. From environmental regulations to laws about employee rights, companies have to protect themselves from financial losses or legal problems through compliance with existing statutes.
At the same time, businesses often need to get creative with how they generate funds, especially if they have recently experienced a drop in sales or income. Trying to draw in any customers or clients possible is often the strategy when a business finds itself struggling financially.
Unfortunately, some of the people who might want to do business with your company may put you at risk for criminal charges. If your business regularly services those affiliated with drug trafficking, prostitution or other illegal activities, you could wind up accused of money laundering.
What is money laundering?
Those who earn money illegally need to take money obtained through criminal activities and legitimize it. Spending ill-gotten cash at of business is one way to turn illegal money into legal, reported income.
When a company frequently does business with people who have connections with a criminal conspiracy, this could potentially implicate the business in the conspiracy, especially if the company takes their money and provides them with resources or services.
How can it lead to criminal charges?
Generally speaking, individuals must pay income tax on any money they earn. For those hoping to profit from criminal activities, the fact that they must work with a cash economy quickly becomes problematic.
First of all, there are restrictions on how much cash people can or should carry. Carrying large amounts of cash could create suspicion if that person interacts with law enforcement. It could lead to the loss of that cash through civil asset forfeiture if the officers believe that you obtained the money from criminal activity.
It could seem like the easiest way to mitigate those risks would be to deposit illicitly-earned money into a legitimate bank account. However, banks report large deposits to the government. Any amount over $10,000 will require that you fill out a special form. Routinely making cash deposits without documentation could also be a red flag that could bring someone to the attention of either local or federal authorities.
Fighting against money laundering charges will require both strategy and evidence. The sooner you begin preparing, the better your chances of clearing your name and protecting your business.