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When It Can Be Illegal To Withdraw Your Own Money

It’s your money, in your account, but that doesn’t mean you can take it out any way you please.

Failure to report large cash transactions can often trigger federal investigations, leading to fines or even lengthy prison sentences.

It all stems from U.S. law that requires forms to be submitted—both by financial institutions, as well as bank customers—each time a cash transaction in excess of $10,000 occurs. Customers hoping to avoid having to disclose such transactions often seek ways around around the law in a process known as “structuring,” which can lead to serious money laundering charges.

Federal prosecutors charged former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert with structuring on Thursday after he allegedly withdrew over $3 million from 2010 to 2014, according to the indictment. The former Illinois Republican claims he was keeping the cash he withdrew, but the indictment shows the FBI believes Hastert lied about making cash payments to an individual he committed “prior misconduct” against.

You can’t lie in those situations,” says Jeffery Robinson, author of “The Laundrymen,” a book about money laundering. “If he had come clean in the beginning, they would have slapped him on the wrist. Now he could be guilty for money laundering and could face twenty years.”

Hastert is accused of withdrawing nearly $1 million in small transactions over the course of nearly five years.


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