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On the Wrong Side of the Law
posted on 9/26/23

Jimmy had operated a neighborhood restaurant for years and somehow managed to squeeze out a decent living. Through recessions and hard times, he always made sure that his employees were paid, and while the restaurant’s debt piled up at times, Jimmy had somehow always survived.

Pandemic Effects

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were more severe, however, and the shutdowns, paired with subsequent worker shortages, began to take their toll. Jimmy’s restaurant came through those recent adverse events, and he was still able to serve great food to the neighborhood. Jimmy was concerned, however, about his rising debt and squeezed profit margins.

Fateful Day

One day, Jimmy’s old high school friend Steve appeared at the restaurant, and Jimmy bought Steve a late lunch. Steve, sporting a Rolex and some gold chains that looked real, spent most of the lunch extolling the virtues of his new business.

Without going into detail, Steve said that he had created a cash business that was throwing off over $50,000 in profit per month. The problem was–according to Steve– that he couldn’t just take $50,000 per month and drop it into a bank account. Steve didn’t have any other source of income, and he rightfully worried that his bank might have to notify the IRS about his large cash deposits.

The Plan

Steve went on to say that he knew Jimmy had a steady business, as Jimmy had told Steve that the restaurant was doing close to $1,000,000 per year in sales. Steve then explained his scheme:

Steve would bring $50,000 per month to Jimmy. Jimmy would treat that cash as restaurant sales and would deposit an average of about $1,600 per day, along with the rest of his daily receipts. Jimmy would then put Steve on the payroll and issue him bi-weekly paychecks just like the rest of the employees. 

Steve said that Jimmy could keep the approximately 7.5 percent that the restaurant would have to pay as social security payroll tax. And, to seal the deal, Steve said Jimmy could keep another 10 percent for his trouble. 

Why Not?

Jimmy figured that his fake increased sales would not raise any eyebrows because the economy was improving. Also, because Jimmy had a lot of older customers, he normally deposited a good amount of cash anyway. Finally, an extra $5,000 per month was exactly what Jimmy would need to start righting the ship and paying down debt. Jimmy certainly had an idea that Steve’s money might be coming from an illegal business, but he had no proof and didn’t ask. What could happen?

Money Laundering

Despite getting into the finite details about how to accomplish such a plan, Jimmy ultimately decided that this was not the right way to remedy his situation. Unfortunately for Jimmy, Steve’s business proposal was related to the sale of drugs. And, even though Jimmy had a change of heart, the Feds caught insight into the proposed scheme. Soon, the F.B.I. was hanging out at Jimmy’s restaurant, asking for a formal interview. One agent mentioned conspiracy to launder money.

Domestic federal money laundering transactions are described in the United States Code 18 U.S.C.U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1). The code states that “To be criminally culpable under 18 U.S.C.U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1), a defendant must conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction, knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represents the proceeds of some unlawful activity.” 

Jimmy now knew that he had a big problem.

Get Qualified Legal Help

Jimmy did the right thing and quickly called an attorney for help. If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law, do not attempt to handle the situation yourself. If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact them today for a compassionate case review. Glasgow & Olsson understands that predicaments can occur, and the seasoned attorneys will concentrate on the necessary steps to help resolve your issue.