When it comes to commercial litigation, an investigation by the IRS or Justice Department can be confusing and stressful. This feeling can be even worse when facing the reality of a criminal trial for the charge of money laundering. At the time of trial, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account in order to be properly prepared.
One is the type of evidence that may be admissible to prove the charge of money laundering. A person is guilty of the crime of money laundering if the person transports or possesses property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity. Several courts have held that evidence of a defendant’s failure to report significant sums of money in tax filings is relevant to, and evidence of, the defendant’s participation in a money laundering conspiracy. Furthermore, tax information may be relevant to show a plan to conceal transactions, and its probative value at the time of trial outweighs any prejudice it may cause a defendant.
Another consideration at the time of trial is whether an expert may render an opinion concerning a money laundering charge. Expert witnesses are used at the time of trial to assist the jury in understanding the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. However, expert testimony is not necessary to tell the jury the obvious. Jurisdictions around the country have found that expert testimony may be beneficial concerning a charge of money laundering.
The court in United States v. Cordoba found that because money laundering by its nature often involves large numbers of financial transactions and multiple bank accounts, the testimony of an expert who is experienced in sorting through such transactions can be helpful to the jury. Further, in United States v. Bourne, the court found that methods of money laundering and structuring are not self-evident to a layperson, and so expert testimony may be helpful to jurors.
A final consideration is the audience that you are appealing to at the time of trial. Jury selection is an important process in determining who will be the triers of fact and will determine the outcome of the case. The defendant in a jury trial has the right to participate in jury selection, along with their attorney. Considerations to keep in mind when selecting a potential juror in a money laundering case are their background, education and whether they own or work for a business.
If you are looking for more information about trial considerations for the charge of money laundering, be sure to contact the attorneys at Sandelands Eyet LLP at (908) 470-1200.