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Articles Tagged with #moneylaundering

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The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unlawful searches and seizures by the government.  When the government wants to obtain a search warrant, an affidavit must be drafted and application must be made to a U.S. Magistrate judge (in federal matters).  The affidavit can be more than a hundred pages at the minimum in complex cases.  The affidavit will begin with an introduction and the background of the agent (his/her experience).  In this section, statements beginning with “Based on my training and experience” are plentiful.  The next section generally addresses probable cause and sets forth facts that show probable cause has been established to support the issuance of a search warrant and that items listed have a reasonable probability of being found during the search.  Finally, it will detail what needs to be searched and what items the government is seeking.  Law enforcement often request search warrants when seeking documents, electronic devices, money, drugs, paraphernalia, ledgers, photos, receipts etc.  A warrant can be requested for real property, a person, electronically stored information from your phone, iPad, computer, external hard drives, a tracking device on a car, the car itself, and/or other modes of transportation such as a boat.

Once the search warrant is signed by the judge, the search warrant will be executed.  Generally, the government will work to execute the warrant with local law enforcement officials. The search can take hours, and often times, questioning will occur at the same time.  NEVER SPEAK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT at this juncture without a lawyer.  This interview at your home or office is often recorded by body cam, audio, and other video devices.  It can be difficult to get those statements excluded at trial for a variety of reasons.

After the execution of the search warrant, a copy of the search warrant inventory will be left, and it will list out exactly what was seized.  In the case of the execution of the search warrant for Donald Trump, there is a search warrant, sworn affidavit, and application filed, but it is under seal.  Mr. Trump also received a search warrant inventory. Hopefully, these documents will be released to the public sooner than later.

The Department of Justice just announced that U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland created COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.

Cases have included:

  • Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards

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The IRS has just announced that Operation Hidden Treasure will seek to find taxpayers with unreported income from currency transactions.  Did you notice the new question on page 1 of the Tax Form 1040?  It states, “At any time during 2020 did you receive any financial interest in virtual currency?”  Last year this question was only on Schedule 1.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) will look for typical “flags” in money transactions.  That may include “structuring” (transactions in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements), “the use of nominees, shell corps” (entities used solely for moving money around) or “getting on and off the chain.” (On chain transactions – blockchain is modified to reflect the transaction on a public ledger. Off chain transactions are those that that go off the blockchain.  They work by swapping private keys to an existing wallet instead of transferring funds.)

The IRS identifies and investigates these tax evasion flags.  Operation Hidden Treasure is “all about finding, tracing, and attributing crypto to U.S. Taxpayers.” Do not be fooled into thinking that since it’s cryptocurrency the government does not have the know how to investigate.   Charges for tax evasion, false information on a tax return or even money laundering or structuring can be forthcoming.  Call Conaway & Strickler, PC if you have had a friendly visit from an IRS CID Agent or if you think you might be facing some issues with the IRS.  Carolyn Schenck, national fraud counsel in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel states, “Operation Hidden Treasure is designed to find, trace and attribute such transactions to taxpayers. These transactions are not anonymous.  We see you.”

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