Baltimore lawyer sentenced for helping clients launder drug money

A Baltimore defense attorney has been sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for his part in a money laundering conspiracy.

Ken Ravenell, 63, of Monkton, Maryland, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release Wednesday, for using his law firm escrow account to launder proceeds from drug trafficking, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Evidence brought forward during the trial showed that Ravenell received money from clients and associates who engaged in drug trafficking, and used bank accounts of the law firm to launder more than a million dollars, according to a news release.

He also used the law firm’s bank accounts to receive drug payments, and to make payments to attorneys hired to represent other members of the conspiracy.

Prosecutors also said Ravenell used the firm’s bank accounts to invest on behalf of a drug trafficker client, concealing and misrepresenting the source of the funds while promoting the client’s crimes. Trial evidence also showed that Ravenell received substantial cash payments from drug sales as compensation for laundering money.

From 2009 through 2014, Ravenell gave a drug dealer advice on how to launder the millions of dollars of cash that the dealer gained from selling marijuana. This included advising the drug dealer to set up businesses that generated cash themselves and make investments in real estate projects to launder drug proceeds.

In 2011, the drug dealer was arrested and became a formal client of Ravenell’s and the law firm where he was a partner at that time.

Between 2011 and 2014, prosecutors said Ravenell accepted more than $1.8 million in drug proceeds and other funds co-mingled with drug proceeds from parties associated with the drug dealer — more than $1.2 million of which he directed from the law firm’s accounts to third parties to benefit his client.

He was convicted on Dec. 28, 2021, after a 16-day trial.

Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is an Associate Producer at WTOP and a graduate of the University of Maryland. She enjoys covering the intersection of arts, culture and social justice in local communities. She began as an intern with WTOP in the summer of 2021.

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