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Federal money structuring laws can impact Florida transactions

Money laundering and money structuring are financial transactions that are primarily associated with tax evasion or illegal activity. The federal law called the Bank Secrecy Act is used to charge money laundering and money structuring claims. This federal law has the potential to be applicable to financial transactions in Florida.

Recently, attorney Phillip Kwon faced civil charges under the Bank Secrecy Act for financial transactions in relation to his family's business. His mother runs a liquor store and his wife receives financial compensation for her involvement with the business. From April 2010 until February 2011, 222 cash deposits were put into a checking account owned by the business. The cash deposits were just under $10,000. The case was settled after Phillip Kwon made a payment of $160,000 to federal authorities.

These cash deposits were considered money structuring. Money structuring happens when large amounts of money are separated into small amounts. Banks are required by federal law to notify specific agencies when more than $10,000 in cash is deposited. Money structuring charges can either be pursued under criminal or civil actions.

Criminal charges that result in convictions often have penalties that result in large fines or prison. Civil money structuring charges are often used instead of tax fraud charges because money structuring charges have less complex litigation than tax fraud. Money structuring differs from money laundering in that money laundering is the act of moving money that is gained from criminal activity and money structuring focuses on the control of the money.

Money laundering and money structuring can have very severe civil and criminal implications. A knowledgeable attorney can analyze financial transactions and devise a defense strategy that creates positive outcomes for those charged under these laws.

Source: New Jersey Online, "Liquor store run by Supreme Court nominee's family settles with U.S. authorities over $2M in deposits," Christopher Baxter, January 29, 2012

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