Money laundering describes any financial transaction or series of transactions made with the proceeds of any criminal activity. An individual or group may launder money in an effort to hide the ownership, source, location or control of cash or other proceeds gained through criminal conduct
For the purposes of New York law, “criminal activity” refers to any act in violation of federal or New York state laws. You may be charged with money laundering even if you aren’t charged with the crime from which the money was acquired.
A key element in prosecuting a charge of money laundering is that the defendant had knowledge of the illicit nature or source of the money or other value goods. That is, you have to have knowledge that the money was obtained through criminal activity in order to be found guilty of money laundering.
If you’re facing charges of money laundering, your job and reputation may be at stake in addition to your legal issues.Attorney James Medows is a highly rated New York defense lawyer who can guide you through the steps of your case and strive for the best possible outcome for you.
James can help you determine your best course of action in the defense of your case. His counsel can be a valuable asset, both in and out of the courtroom, as you navigate this stressful time in your life. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle this serious matter alone.
Degrees of Money Laundering
The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 madeconcealing the illegitimate nature of any amount of cash—whether one dollar or billions—a felony. Make no mistake, if you’re accused of laundering any quantity of money, you could be facing stiff penalties and a lifetime criminal record if convicted.
Under New York law, there are four degrees of money laundering. Which degree you may be charged with is dependent on the amount of the illicit funds. New York state laws allow for an increase in the degree of money laundering, and on the penalty imposed, if the proceeds originate from drug trafficking or the sale of controlled substances.
Third degree money laundering:transactions exceeding $50,000
Second degree money laundering:transactions exceeding $100,000
First degree money laundering:transactions exceeding $1 million
Additionally, the state recognizes four degrees of “money laundering in support of terrorism”, each of which carries an additional burden of proof to prosecute. The dollar amounts related to the different degrees of these separate felonies are the same those as listed above.
Defending a Money Laundering Charge
Any felony is a very serious charge. For the best chance at avoiding conviction—and the associated fines and jail time—you need serious defense. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a crucial step in working toward the best possible outcome for you.
Every case is different, so no two defenses are the same. Some defenses to charges of money laundering may include:
Lack of knowledge regarding the source or nature of the funds
Lack of intent to conduct or support criminal activity
Lack of intent to disguise or conceal the source or nature of money in question
As with any charge, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. You are presumed innocent of all charges until the prosecution can prove otherwise. Having an experienced defense lawyer at your side is the best way to ensure your side of events is heard in court.
If it appears a conviction is likely, it may be possible to have your charges reduced. In some cases, arrangements may be possible to keep penalties to a minimum. With all the variables involved, you need an experienced defense lawyer who has your best interest at heart and is willing to fight for you.
All defense attorneys are not the same.
Possible Penalties if You’re Convicted of Money Laundering
Laws and penalties are ever evolving, and your defense is unique to you. The range of penalties for a money laundering conviction can involve imprisonment, fines, or both. In most cases, fines cannot exceed twice the value of the transactions involved in the money laundering.
Prison time can range from up to four years for a fourth degree conviction, to the class B felony sentence of up to 25 years for a conviction of first degree money laundering.