Criminal Justice

Lawyer is convicted of money laundering; purported drug dealer was confidential informant

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A Cleveland criminal defense lawyer has been convicted on charges of money laundering and attempted money laundering after a confidential informant recorded their conversations.

The lawyer, 45-year-old Matthew King, was convicted on Thursday, reports.

Prosecutors said King believed the confidential informant was a drug trafficker when King approached him at a strip club and said he could launder money. The informant recorded later conversations with King and gave King $20,000 in cash, according to prosecutors.

According to a prosecution document (PDF), King told the informant in a meeting at his law office that he didn’t want to know details of his operation because he wanted “some sort of plausible deniability.” King said he favored creating an S corporation rather than a C corporation because the C corporation employees would have to have insurance required by the Affordable Care Act. He also said he tries to avoid scrutiny by keeping deposits in the $4,000 range.

King accepted $20,000 in cash from the informant at a meeting in February 2014, the prosecution said. He wrote a $2,000 check to the informant the following month. In a later interview with investigators, King said he had returned most of the original money in several cash payments to the informant.

King’s public defender said King had second thoughts and decided not to carry out the money laundering, reports in an earlier story. The informant had “played the government for his own benefit,” the public defender said.

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