Federal authorities have accused four American Airlines flight attendants of money laundering after they were allegedly found with more than $22,000 in cash during a customs check.
An arrest report says a Customs and Border Patrol agent put a 40-year-old flight attendant through a routine check after arriving at Miami International Airport on a flight from Chile early Monday.
Reports indicate that he claimed to have $100, but an agent found $9,000. Three other flight attendants were then searched.
The report says a 55-year-old flight attendant had $7,300 and a 48-year-old flight attendant had $6,371. A fourth flight attendant was also arrested.
The flight attendants told agents they were smuggling the cash on behalf of someone else.
American Airlines said it is cooperating with authorities, according to reports.
Money laundering is a serious crime that carries very real and severe penalties if convicted. Money laundering is defined as transferring money obtained from any kind of illegal activity and then “cleaning,” or disguising the funds by using a legal means to hide the source of the money. To fight these criminal charges, it is vital to have a South Florida White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton on your side who has experience and understanding of your legal rights and options. Federal money laundering charges will never go away on their own. This is a white collar crime that is aggressively prosecuted because of the deception and fraud tactics involved. The stakes are high in these types of cases and the government will do everything in their power to obtain a conviction.
Money laundering and all other related offenses are commonly prosecuted in federal courts, which is why anyone accused of this crime needs criminal lawyers that are capable of handling a federal defense. Federal Courts are different from State Courts and these cases require different types of defense strategies. You need to be aware that money laundering is investigated by large government agencies, like the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) or ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), that have essentially a limitless supply of resources and time to build their cases. If you think you might be a suspect or under investigation for money laundering, or if you have been charged with a crime by the federal government, it is absolutely critical that you obtain the services of our experienced Federal Crime Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton.
In order for a prosecutor to successfully prove the crime of money laundering, they must only show that the source of the dirty money was from some type of criminal activity. Criminal activity can include:
- Drug trafficking
- Drug distribution
A conviction for money laundering is subject to strict sentencing guidelines and lengthy prison terms and financial restitution based on the amount of money involved. If convicted of money laundering under the federal statute, a person could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of $500,000 or twice the amount of the money laundered in the scheme, or in some cases both.
When you are facing a money laundering charge, you are likely under high levels of stress and concerned about what could happen to your future. Your life is on the line in these cases, and our Florida White Collar Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand this. We want to help you fight through this difficult time. As former prosecutors, we have an intimate knowledge of working on these types of cases, and we can provide you with an effective and committed legal defense. We can support you throughout criminal proceedings and fight tirelessly to protect your rights. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome in your individual case.
The sooner that we get involved in your case, the better your chances at preventing formal charges from being filed. Money laundering charges usually involve multiple parties that are responsible for illegal activity, and we will want to minimize the consequences that you are facing. What we do at the very start of your case has the potential to change the entire outcome of the investigation. By having us on your side, you can improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
We also understand that good people make mistakes. We do not want to see you end up in jail for a crime that you did not commit or for something that you were forced to participate in. We can help you develop an aggressive defense strategy immediately.