Get Along Better With Your Coworkers

There is an excellent chance you spend more time with your coworkers than with anyone else. That includes your spouse, kids, parents or friends. If you have a good relationship with them, that may not be a bad thing, but if you don’t, your time at work can be miserable. If you don’t know how to get along with your coworkers, it’s time you found out.

Good workplace relationships can help you do your job better. They can make going to work every day enjoyable or, at least, tolerable. Bad ones can distract you from your duties and can turn a so-so job into a nightmare. Follow these tips to learn how to get along better with your coworkers.

Respect Your Colleagues
For any relationship to succeed, the individuals who are part of it must have—and show—respect for each other. One way to demonstrate respect is by avoiding doing things others might find offensive. For example, don’t leave a mess behind, don’t come to work sick and don’t steal credit for someone else’s work. More

Steer Clear of Cringe-Worthy Topics
You might feel so comfortable with your colleagues that you think it’s ok to talk about anything at work. What you must keep in mind is that your coworkers are a captive audience. They can’t leave if they don’t like the topic of conversation, and they may feel awkward asking you to change it. Some controversial subject matters, politics and religion for example, could even cause arguments that might lead to discord in the workplace. Wait until you’re with your friends and family to discuss them. More

Get Your Workplace Relationships Off to a Good Start
There are a lot of things to stress over when you start a new job, but you may be most worried about forming relationships with your new coworkers. If you didn’t get along with your colleagues at your last job, you might fret that things will be the same at this one. If you had great relationships, you could be concerned things will never be the same.

It may not happen overnight, but you will eventually bond with everyone (or at least almost everyone) at your new job. You can get off to a good start by being friendly to your new coworkers. A warm smile goes a long way. Asking questions and accepting lunch invitations do too. More

Find A Way to Get Along With Even the Most Difficult People

Annoying Coworker
WB Digital / Stone / Getty Images
You know the old saying “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”? You could say the same about your colleagues. You are unlikely to have any control over who your coworkers are and what they are like. A few—hopefully not too many—may have some annoying qualities. Whether you work with a chatterbox, a gossip, a delegator, a complainer or a credit grabber, your life will be much easier if you find a way to get along with him. More

Don’t Spread Malicious Gossip

Office Gossip
Laurence Monneret / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Based on rumor or fact, gossip can get you into trouble. Resist the urge to share juicy bits of news about anyone with whom you work. When you do, it sends a message to your coworkers that you aren’t trustworthy, and they will wonder if they will be your next subject.

What is The Outsourcing of AML Compliance Says

Several banking giants, such as HSBC and Standard Chartered, are currently being investigated by US regulators for alleged failings in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. All fingers point to lapses involving outsourcing units operating without adequate oversight.

There is some debate about how far a financial institution can go in offloading its AML compliance tasks to a third party. In other words, how hands-off can a financial institution be? Are there any tasks that should be kept in-house only? Outsourcing may seem to be a cost-effective and efficient way of managing AML compliance, but it can result in great disaster if not adequately monitored.

inancial institutions, there are several important differences to note between AML outsourcing and other common outsourcing activities. AML compliance requires a higher level of training in contrast to standard outsourcing tasks. Legally, the financial institution is ultimately responsible for the quality of work executed by an outsourcing operation.

Banks seeking to save costs by outsourcing increasingly sensitive and sophisticated work overseas are now forced to step up oversight of their back office operations. Outsourcing the wrong tasks or not providing appropriate oversight exposes banks to legal risk, security risk, operational risk, and reputational risk, not to mention regulatory fines and potentially the disruption of business.

Activities that are appropriate for outsourcing companies are typically those that are low risk; meaning that they can be effectively and safely done by a non bank employee. For example, outsourcing companies are suitable to handle labor intensive but routine work including tasks such as customer due diligence, enhanced due diligence, verification of customer identification. Other activities that can be conducive to outsourcing might include alert reporting and notifications generated by automated transaction monitoring systems.

Notably, a financial institution remains responsible for all AML systems and controls related to outsourced activities. Therefore, financial institutions, in particular, are wise to review and address any and all risks, as well as their risk tolerance, before they even begin to think about outsourcing specific functions.

Activities that are not conducive to outsourcing are any that include the filling of sensitive reports. Filing sensitive reports is the obligation and responsibility of the financial institution and as such, are best completed by an employee of the financial institution. The targets of filings cannot be disclosed by a financial institution.

Transaction analysis is also considered the most sensitive part of the money-laundering detection process because it provides the underpinning for the filing of suspicious activity reports. Clearly, a third party is not even in a position to analyze transactions because it may not have access to all of the customer information, such as daily internet activity or loan files, which is essential in analyzing transactions.

Likewise, internal investigations of suspicious activities should be handled by the financial institution and should be approved by the board of directors of the institution. These types of investigations may involve employee interviews, finding and reviewing documents, and preparation of reports, all of which should effectively be kept highly confidential. Also, if a financial institution is confronted with a government investigation, it is recommended to immediately consult a legal counsel.

On the face of it, AML outsourcing may appear to be a win-win situation. But is everything really that simple? Can a financial institution simply find the cheapest supplier of services and watch the overheads fall? Nothing is simple in AML outsourcing. Assess what you outsource, avoid risk, and remember: the ultimate responsibility of AML compliance is in the hands of the financial institution. Responsibility can not be outsourced.

Make the Bail in My Case Tips

This is an economic tool that promotes two different justice systems for those of wealth and those with limited financial resources that can’t afford to bail. The amount of bail is many times determined by the severity of the charge, the likelihood of flight risk, and the financial resources available to the defendant. There are options available for you to pursue with different conditions of release if you can’t afford to bail.

One of the simplest and most direct options if you cannot afford bail is to simply request a lower bail amount from the judge. If someone is arrested and is experiencing economic hardship or is given a bail amount that is extreme for the circumstances, they can request that the bail amount be reduced. This request is not always or even typically granted and is at the discretion of the judge many times. Certain crimes have certain standard minimal bail amounts and bails for certain cases are designed to make it extremely difficult for the accused to pay. The dynamics of requesting a lower bail amount varies between states and jurisdictions. These requests can be made at arraignments or special hearings. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S Constitution protects people from being charged excessive bail amounts and many real life circumstances are arguably unconstitutional. This is because the correctional systems are flooded with people who simply do not have the money to pay the bail, not because they simply decline to pay. However, receiving a lower bail is possible and is worth pursuing if appropriate.

Another option is to obtain a bail bondsman if you cannot afford the total amount of the bail. A bail bondsman pays or puts up the amount of the bail for the defendant and charges the defendant a fee that is typically 10% of the bail. This makes the bondsman responsible for ensuring that the defendant returns to court and helps the accused get out of jail with minimal expenses.

Providing collateral or getting a property bond for very high bonds for serious crimes is another option. Putting up houses or expensive cars that may need to total double the amount of the bail may be necessary to pursue this option. This is a good option when cash flow isn’t available or easy liquidation of assets isn’t feasible for the one arrested or their family and friends.

Simply being released on your own recognizance may be an option in certain situations and this results in no bail being paid in the conditions of release. The defendant simply makes a promise to return to court and this suffices as assurance of trial appearance without posting a bail. This is typically more common when it’s a less serious crime, the accused isn’t a flight risk, and when there are capacity issues with the jail. These options should be exhausted if someone cannot afford bail.

How to Start a Legal Career

So, you are considering a legal career but don’t know where to begin. The legal services industry is exploding and legal employers are willing to pay top-dollar for competent professionals with in-demand skill sets. Below are eight tips for jump starting a career in the legal field, whether you are a student evaluating career opportunities or an experienced professional transitioning into the legal field.

Educate Yourself

One of the best ways to put your legal career in drive is to advance your education. To get ahead in some specialty areas you may need an advanced degree or professional certification. For example, paralegals and legal nurse consultants are obtaining certifications in their field to demonstrate a commitment to the profession and enhance their professional credibility. For lawyers employed in certain niche fields such as tax, an LL.M. might enhance employability. Legal secretaries with bachelors’ degrees may have an edge over those without a college education.

Leverage Your Expertise

If you have experience or background in another field such as accounting, nursing, engineering or the physical sciences, you can leverage your expertise into new career opportunities in the law, either through consulting or through specialization in your niche area. For example, a strong foundation in engineering or the physical sciences may give you an edge in the field of intellectual property, a background in nursing may open opportunities to work as a legal nurse consultant, and a CPA or accounting degree may open doors in the area of tax law.

Perform a Self-Assessment

Before embarking on a career path in the law, it is important to conduct an honest self-assessment to determine if a career in the law is a good fit for you. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and objectively review your experience and credentials to determine if a career in the law is for you. Skills required for all legal professionals include strong writing and communication skills, strict adherence to deadlines, organizational ability, attention to detail and strong technology skills. More

Research The Field

Career disillusionment is not uncommon in the legal profession, particularly among lawyers and paralegals. Therefore, it is wise to read literature and explore websites for information relating to the qualifications, duties, educational requirements, salaries and job outlook relating to the legal position in which you are interested. You might also visit the career center of a local law school to learn more about law school and the legal field. Talking to lawyers, law students and other legal professionals about the nature of the profession will also increase your knowledge base.
Cultivate Professional Contacts
One of the best ways to learn about the legal profession in general and job opportunities in particular is through word of mouth. You should network feverously to gain professional contacts and learn about the profession. Contact area law firms, corporate legal departments and legal staffing agencies. Attend local chapter meetings, conferences, seminars, and luncheons and talk to people who work in the field to learn more about the profession and available job openings.

White Collar Criminals That You Should Know

Quick, who’s the top white collar criminal of all time? If you said, “Bernie Madoff” you’d be wrong, at least as far as sentences go. You wouldn’t be too far off—Mr. Madoff’s 150-year-sentence is impressive, but he only ranks fifth in the list of sentences imposed on high-dollar scammers. Here’s the list of the five most notorious “businessmen” of all time, beginning with that fifth-place notable crook:

#5. Bernard L. Madoff, 150 years – Judge Denny Chin handed down the maximum sentence allowable after Madoff confessed to running the largest financial fraud in history. Though Madoff is often purported to have stolen $65 billion, he actually stole $20 billion in principal funds that were invested with him. His firm, however, told investors they had returns totaling $65 billion. “As far as the people who’d entrusted their life savings with Madoff were concerned,” writes CNN money reporter Aaron Smith, “they really did lose $65 billion. It’s just that two-thirds of that money was a figment of Bernie’s imagination.”

#4. Robert Thompson, 309 years – This clever career criminal isn’t serving time in just any federal facility. He’s housed in one of only two units in the country designed to deal with inmates who are likely to commit additional crimes using communication with the “outside world.” That’s a good thing, since he ran his fraud ring from inside prison. According to U.S. Attorney David R. Dugas, Thompson and co-conspirators (including corrections officers) obtained bank-account numbers for more than $20 million in deposits.
“The actual loss was … roughly $100,000,” Dugas said. “But he was after much more.”

#3. Norman Schmidt, 330 years – Investors in Schmidt’s “high yield” investment scheme were promised rates of return from 2 to 400 percent per month. Schmidt and his co-conspirators se up corporations under names like Reserve Foundation Trust and Capital Holdings to further fool investors, who lost over $40 million. Of course, the money was never invested but helped finance Schmidt’s lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of the historic Redstone Castle in Colorado and eight NASCAR race cars. “If someone promises to double your money overnight, don’t believe it,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid. Schmidt died in prison in 2013 at age 78.

#2. Keith Pound, 740 years – A mortgage broker from Illinois, Pound died in prison at age 51 after serving just four years of his term. He helped skim $450 million from National Heritage Life Insurance Company along with the number one white collar criminal …

#1. Sholam Weiss, 845 years – Not only did Mr. Weiss abscond with enough money to bring down the National Heritage Life Insurance Company, he just plain absconded. Weiss vanished during his trial , made the FBI’s most wanted list, and led authorities on a chase across three continents. He was finally caught in Austria, where he was living under the name of Charles Dick, and extradited to the U.S. He appealed to the Supreme Court to return to Austria. The court rejected his plea.

The Cause of Money Laundering and Why is It Illegal

In simplest terms, money laundering involves the transfer money obtained from criminal activity into “legitimate” channels to disguise its illegal origins. According to the federal law, money laundering occurs when someone attempts to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of unlawful activity. For example, many gangster movies depict mobsters hanging out in restaurants they own (often just before getting shot by a rival). The restaurant would be the “legitimate” business the mobster owns, and he would funnel his ill-gotten gains through the books of the restaurant, fraudulently showing the funds as profits from food sales. Just as a washing machine cleans your clothes, this method of hiding the origins of the ill-gotten gains are supposed to clean their “dirty” origins, hence the origin of the term “laundering.”

The reason for money laundering may seem obvious: to hide the origin of money. But why worry about that? Why would a criminal ever tell anyone about where there money is? Because of tax evasion. Al “Scarface” Capone was a well known mobster. He was so powerful and careful that investigators were not able to tie him to any of the more obvious criminal activities in which he and his associates were engaged, like murder and racketeering. So the government had to get creative, and they did. They audited Capone’s financial situation and noted that he had far more wealth and income than he had ever claimed on his taxes. As a result, Capone was convicted of tax evasion.

So, to avoid a similar fate, those engaged in criminal activity quickly became savvy at either hiding their actual income and wealth or using misdirection as to its origin. Thus, money laundering was born. As an interesting aside, it should be noted that the tax code does allow a criminal to claim income from “ill-gotten gains.” Of course, flagging this as the source of income will likely lead to an immediate investigation of that person’s activities, but technically if one has made money illegally there is a way to legally claim it on their taxes!

Money laundering can range from simple to complex strategies. Examples include:

Structuring: Also known as “smurfing,” cash is broken into smaller deposits of money, used to defeat suspicion of money laundering and to avoid anti–money laundering reporting requirements (banks usually have to report transactions in excess of $10,000). Another approach to structuring is to use smaller amounts of cash to purchase bearer instruments, such as money orders, and then ultimately deposit those, again in small amounts.

Bulk cash smuggling: Physically smuggling cash into another jurisdiction, usually overseas, and depositing it in a financial institution, such as an offshore bank, with greater bank secrecy or less rigorous money laundering enforcement.

Cash-intensive businesses: A business typically involved in receiving cash uses its accounts to deposit both legitimate and criminally derived cash, claiming all of it as legitimate earnings. Best suited is a service business. As such business has no variable costs, it is hard to detect revenues-costs discrepancies. Examples are parking buildings, strip clubs, tanning beds, or casinos.

Trade-based laundering: Under- or over-valuing invoices to disguise the movement of money.

Shell companies and trusts: Trusts and shell companies disguise the true owner of money. Trusts and corporate vehicles, depending on the jurisdiction, need not disclose their true, beneficial, owner.

Round-tripping: Money is deposited in a controlled foreign corporation offshore, often in a tax haven where minimal records are kept, and then shipped back as a Foreign Direct Investment, exempt from taxation. Another method is to transfer money to a law firm or similar organization as trust funds or prepaid fees, then upon return of the funds represent the money as a legacy under a will or proceeds of litigation.

Bank capture: Money launderers or criminals buy a controlling interest in a bank, often in a foreign jurisdiction with weak money laundering controls, and then move money through the bank without scrutiny.

Casinos: An individual walks into a casino with cash and buys chips, plays for a while, then cashes in the chips, taking payment in a check. The money launderer then deposits the check into a bank account, claiming it as gambling winnings.

Real estate: Someone may purchase real estate with illegal proceeds, then sell the property. Proceeds from the sale look to outsiders like legitimate income. Alternatively, the price of the property is manipulated: the seller agrees to a contract that under-represents the value of the property, and receives criminal proceeds to make up the difference.

There are undoubtedly many other methods, but these are some of the most commonly used.

Money laundering, because of its international significance, is actually a mix of domestic and international law. The elements of the crime of money laundering are generally (1) knowingly engaging in a financial transaction (2) with the proceeds of a crime (3) for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property from governments.

If you or someone you know has been accused of money laundering, this is a very serious offense and you should seek legal counsel at once. Often, money laundering is tied to racketeering, and RICO charges may soon follow, which may include forfeiture of all property tied to the allegedly illegal activity, including money. Hiring an attorney will put you in the best possible position to fight these charges or, at the very least, to minimize the impact of any resulting criminal sanctions.

Business Crime in Latin America

As Latin American countries begin working to strengthen their enforcement regimes, the greater threat to corrupt practices and their participants is coming from the jurisdiction asserted by courts abroad – specifically in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

The argument that corruption is merely part of the Latin American culture, and an unavoidable part of doing business in the re

gion, however, holds little sway in advocating that nothing should be done to punish and deter the practice. As Latin American economies increasingly mesh with the rest of the world, important transactions are now rarely conducted exclusively within the confines of any one country.

In drawing generalisations about the region, it is often easy to overlook the specific steps that individual countries are taking to deal with, or respond to, allegations of official corruption. Every country follows a different approach. Their responses to claims of corruption or lax enforcement of anti-corruption law are as varied as each country’s unique leadership.

Career Promotion Tips

Even if you are not ready to make a job or career change today, you will benefit from knowing how to put into action a successful self-promotion plan.

Unfortunately, if no one knows how much you contribute to the company, you will continue to miss the next great promotion opportunity. Letting people know that you are interested in advancing your career is the first step in an effective self-promotion plan.

Sometimes old stereotypes can come into play here. For instance, if you’re a mother of young children your boss may subconsciously think, “Jane doesn’t want to move up because that will require more travel.”

Or, if you’re an IT person, your boss may think, “Jane’s really good at what she does, but IT people don’t like to manage others, so I need to find someone else for the leadership role.” You may well have no problem traveling, and lots of IT people are great at leadership. Don’t let a stereotype get in your way.

You can simply advise your immediate supervisor or a representative from your human resource department, but remember the adage that “actions speak louder than words,” and plan to make a lasting impression.

So, volunteer for that travel assignment. Tell your boss you’d like to enter a management training class.

Speaking up can allow you to have that one path career you want. Straight to the top.

Create a Career Opportunity

One successful technique is to single out an unresolved challenge that exists in your company. Try to pick a situation that will benefit from your combination of experience and skills. Write a memo that outlines the need you’ve discovered.

Highlight how you will use your skills to resolve the problem and contribute to the immediate objectives of the team or department involved. Send your memo to the person who will benefit most from your unique approach, for example, your boss or a human resources representative.

Don’t wait for your organization to discover the same need. By waiting, you take the chance that they may decide to post the position. (If posting positions is policy in your company, at least your name is on the promotion list first.)

Without your proactive approach to your career and potential promotion, they may decide to promote one of your peers. Remember, they can’t know what you want for your career path if you don’t speak up.

You may think it’s obvious that everyone wants to move up, but it’s not.

Some people are perfectly happy to stay at their current level for years and years. It’s comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you want to move up, speak up!

By being proactive, you create a win-win situation. You may gain a challenging, enjoyable career opportunity and eliminate the need for a competition. Remember, all workplace roles had to be created at one point.

If you see a need and become the person to fill that need, not only can you get the promotion and recognition you deserve, but you put yourself in an ideal position.

Even if a new career or promotion opportunity does not result from your actions, you have successfully created an opportunity to demonstrate your value to the organization. You have increased the likelihood that they will consider you for the next rewarding career or promotion opportunity.

It shows that you are thinking out of the box and looking for ways to improve the company overall. It means you add value to the organization, and that’s a way to get yourself to the top.

Volunteer to Develop and Display Your Skills and Value

Volunteering is another way to promote your career and demonstrate your value while expanding your knowledge in critical areas of your company. Volunteering also provides a great way to earn a reputation for being reliable, professional, and cooperative, worthy of promotion.

Keep in mind that while you are volunteering, you may discover a need that you have the skills and experience to resolve. A great advantage in this situation is that by being involved, you know the right person to contact; it may be the person you are working within your volunteer position.

Young Lawyers Tips

Most law students and graduates aspire to be outstanding, not merely good, attorneys. And they learn that, although their employers will provide training, they bear ultimate responsibility for their own professional development. While learning the law is relatively straightforward, it is much harder to cultivate the other qualities and skills that lead to success.

By anyone’s standards, Keri L. Silvyn has figured it out. A sixth-year associate at Lewis and Roca L.L.P. in Tucson, she practices zoning and land use planning. She is also a wife and mother of three (including month-old twins), with a satisfying personal life, excellent practice and reputation for leadership in her firm and community.

Silvyn seems intuitively to make all the right moves yet, for most people, the rise to excellence does not come naturally. Obviously new associates must build legal knowledge and experience, but what else must they do to excel in the profession? Law schools and law firms are devoting more attention than ever to answering this question, to help students bridge the gap between school and practice, and to jumpstart new associates into their careers.

The issue is so important that Christina Plum, incoming 2005-06 Chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, has selected as a member service initiative a project presenting strategies that young lawyers can use to maximize their success. For example, YLD will suggest ways to seek constructive feedback, find a mentor and develop a well-rounded professional life. A driving force behind the project is anecdotal evidence confirming that young lawyers simply cannot rely on employers to chart their legal careers.

“The strategy may have been effective in decades past, but times have changed,” Plum said. “Employers expect more initiative from young lawyers, who may lack mentors for ideas about seeking work, working with other attorneys and staff, becoming involved in the community and bar associations, etc. I hope young lawyers will implement one or two of the strategies we present and find they have a positive effect on their professional lives.”

Following are just a few practical steps a new lawyer can take to gain control of his or her career. The principles initially appear obvious and not very challenging. But, as Finnish philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein remarked, “The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.” These ideas are simple, but the challenge is to actually take the time to implement them. Associates who are willing to incorporate some of them into their lives will be rewarded with greater personal and professional satisfaction.

  • Know yourself. Instead of rushing through each experience without considering what it can teach you, take the time to reflect and articulate your reactions. Reflect, too, upon the skills and qualities of attorneys you admire. You will learn more about the areas of law and kinds of projects you enjoy; environments, interactions and relationships that are best for you; skills and areas for improvement; and personal interests and values that will give you peace of mind.

    Silvyn recognized early in her career that her key strengths included “dealing with people, having lots of energy and fitting more into my day than most people can.” She then found an area of the law that she loved and maximized her performance by seeking out opportunities which would allow her to shine. Sally R. Simmons, Silvyn’s mentor at Lewis and Roca and a super achiever herself, also recommends finding practical ways to acquire new skills. To overcome a fear of public speaking, for example, many people turn to Toastmasters and similar organizations. Similarly, to learn about teamwork, organization, communication and problem solving, new attorneys can get involved in bar associations and Young Lawyers affiliates.

  • Plan ahead. Creating a professional life is a participative process, not something that “happens to you.” Although a firm can help with some of the planning, it is amazing how many young lawyers begin their careers without any idea what they hope to accomplish in their jobs and in their personal lives. Even those who do actively think about their plans resist putting them on paper, preferring instead to keep them “in the back of their minds.” One of the most positive steps you can take in your own development is to create a short (0 to 5 years) and long term (5-10 years) plan. Do not be afraid to think big when considering what you would like to achieve. Before beginning, reflect on your experiences and values. Then write in detail, including measurable goals and specific action items. You will benefit by referring to your plan frequently, to gauge your progress and for revisions based on changing experiences and priorities.

    Throughout his legal career, Cordell Parvin has helped associates identify and achieve their career goals. Previously director of Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C.’s Attorney Development Program, and now a consultant in Dallas, Parvin speaks passionately about being the architect of your own career. He explains that goal setting can help associates increase self confidence and enthusiasm, focus their efforts, make decisions quickly and overcome defeats and roadblocks. “Design it and plan it with your own vision of success. Then build it based on finding your passion, your talent and your client’s needs.”

    A balanced life is important, so include personal goals and objectives. Parvin queries, “How will you spend your 57 waking hours a week of personal time? How will you spend 500+ non-billable hours per year? How well you plan and spend your non-billable time determines the quality of your career and how well you plan and spend your waking personal time determines the quality of your life.”

  • Welcome the unexpected. Since Greek mathematician Archimedes stumbled upon his theory of water displacement while bathing, we have been intrigued with “Eureka!” moments, what career coaches call “career serendipity.” You can best utilize this concept by maintaining an attitude of openness to take advantage of opportunities that arise, whether large or small, and relevant or seemingly removed from your career development. Before committing, determine each opportunity’s compatibility with your overall goals and gauge whether you have time to fully commit to it.

    Be fully present for each experience. Can you remember the last time you enjoyed someone’s undivided attention? Probably not! As our jobs become more demanding and we are precariously overcommitted, multitasking seems the norm. However, you will actually increase your productivity by concentrating fully on each conversation, activity or project. Even more importantly, clients, partners and others will respond positively to your undivided attention, which will enhance both your professional reputation and personal satisfaction. For example, Silvyn enjoys serving on several Boards of Directors and committees and has earned their confidence because she always contributes 100 percent of her energy to their activities. This credibility was an important factor in their allowing her to maintain positions of leadership, even though she has temporarily pulled back from her activities since the twins’ arrival.

  • Develop meaningful relationships. As the concept of “emotional intelligence” becomes widespread, we better understand the role emotions and interpersonal relationships play in otherwise logical activities. The successful associate will quickly get to know everybody in the office, find common ground with them, learn how to relate positively with their personalities and how to move together to accomplish the firm’s goals. This involves learning how to deal with problems that arise, knowing when to seek help from others and, as Silvyn says, “patting each other on the back for jobs well done and respecting the differences.” Simmons suggests that you learn look at people, not as a means to an end, but first as individuals, with families and interests outside of business.

Three Stages of Money Laundering

While money laundering is a single process, it does have three stages:

1. The Placement Stage

This is where the “dirty” money or cash proceeds of criminal activity first enter the mainstream financial system. Criminals cannot afford to hold on to and safeguard large amounts of cash. At this stage the money launderer is most vulnerable as financial officials are on the lookout for suspicious cash transactions.

In the placement stage, criminals strive to defeat the threshold reporting regulations by, among other methods, using so-called “Smurfs,” who, according to one piece in About Business Crime Solutions, Inc.:

“…exchange illicit funds (in smaller, less conspicuous amounts) for highly liquid items such as traveller cheques, bank drafts, or deposited directly into savings accounts.“

2. The Layering Stage

Here is where money laundering gets fast and complicated. The purpose of this stage is to separate the dirty money from its illegal source. By sophisticated financial legerdemain, the money is moved and transformed in a way to foil any audit trail. During the layering stage the money can go from one country to another, divide into investments and move on quicker than regulators can react.

3. The Integration Stage

This is the last stage, and it completes the cycle by returning the money to the criminal from apparently reputable sources. Through placement and layering, the cash is now fully integrated into the financial system. In the integration stage the criminal and his ill-gotten gains are reunited in ways that do not draw attention and appear to be from legitimate sources.

Defending Against Charges of Money Laundering

Anyone who is an unwitting participant in the complicated process of money laundering could be the subject of a criminal investigation. Money laundering is, of course, a crime. So any defense available to any other criminal charge can be applied to money laundering. For example:

•Lack of intent to commit the crime. People who handle money — accountants, bankers, etc. — can be involved unknowingly in any stage of the money laundering process. The defense needs only to prove that the accused was unaware that the money involved was from illegal sources.

•Duress or Intimidation. A defendant who believes that some harm may come to his or her person or family by refusing to participate in the crime of money laundering can plead not guilty to money laundering.

•Lack of or insufficient evidence. To be convicted of money laundering, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to cover up the source of the illegal funds. Also, the prosecution must prove that the laundered funds came from some illegal activity.

If you are caught up in a money laundering investigation, you’ll need the services of an expert white-collar criminal defense attorney. Don’t be intimidated by aggressive prosecutor tactics. You have rights, and we specialize in an equally aggressive white-collar criminal defense.