By Jonathan Bont
If the dreary, unending Winter of 2018 afforded you anything, it was the “freedom” to watch an otherwise embarrassing amount of Netflix. Beyond that, it may have offered an educational introduction into the criminal world of money laundering. Netflix continues to expand its creative empire with an original content catalog featuring binge-worthy shows such as “Narcos” and “Ozark,” both ripe with characters deep in money laundering.
If neither of the aforementioned shows were on your watch list, money laundering is defined as transferring the proceeds of an unlawful activity by means and methods that are designed to conceal the nature or source of the money. 18 U.S.C. § 1956. Often a multi-step process of placing, layering, and integrating criminal proceeds, money laundering can take many forms and range greatly in complexity. I recently covered the topic, and the dramatic takes by Netflix, for The Indiana Lawyer.
While liability for money laundering is dependent upon more than evidence of extravagant purchases with criminal proceeds, sufficient evidence to support a conviction comes with a hefty sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Will Netflix still be producing such riveting content in 20 years? Most likely. But I don’t recommend you take your chances on it.
For an intro to money laundering by way of Netflix, check out my full column on The Indiana Lawyer’s website.