Money laundering is a criminal act that obfuscates the origins of capital. By filtering money through a business or certain financial accounts, people can make funds with illegal origins appear legitimate.
Oftentimes, those involved in money laundering operations are well aware of the origin of the funds coming through their business. They may establish an arrangement to launder their own ill-gotten capital or provide resources for others engaged in criminal activity. However, sometimes, those implicated in money laundering were unaware of how others obtained the money or misused their business.
Convenience stores can facilitate money laundering unintentionally
Typically, money laundering is an intentional act conducted by those already breaking the law in some other manner. There are also scenarios in which someone could facilitate money laundering without intending to do so.
For example, gift cards, prepaid debit cards and money transfer services can all be lucrative for local convenience stores. These services draw people to the business and can generate revenue. However, they also present an opportunity for those engaged in drug trafficking or prostitution. They can use cash obtained through criminal activity to purchase gift cards or debit cards and use it for legitimate purposes. The business might only receive the small service fee that it charges instead of any profit from the illegal scheme rather than any kind of kickback. Still, owners or managers might face accusations that they intentionally contributed to money laundering operations.
Anyone who has been accused of a white-collar crime like money laundering may have a very complex criminal case ahead of them. Carefully analyzing financial evidence with the assistance of a skilled attorney is often the starting point for a defense against money laundering charges or similar criminal allegations.