What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering aims to conceal the source of assets or money obtained through a criminal activity. The crimes may involve several illegal activities such as drug trafficking, fraud, corruption, and extortion. Approximately $590 billion to $1.5 trillion worth of criminal proceeds worldwide is obtained every year.

3 Stages Involved in Money Laundering

  1. Placement – Incorporating the proceeds of a crime into the financial system
  2. Layering – Transforming the proceeds of a crime into a new form. Intricate layers of financial transactions such as purchase and selling of stocks are created. This aims to falsify the audit trail and the source of funds.
  3. Integration – The laundered money is placed back to the economy covered by a veil of legitimacy.

Penalties Given to Those Who Commit Money Laundering

The penalties associated with money laundering differ in state and federal law. Convictions usually result to fines, probation, or jail sentence. A combination of penalties may also be given.

  • Prison

A jail sentence may vary depending on the degree of the criminal activity. If it is considered as misdemeanor, jail sentence may last up to a year. Jail sentences that last more than a year is given to felony convictions. If the offense is done repeatedly or was involved in a criminal enterprise or terrorist activity, a jail sentence may last more than 35 years.

  • Fines

Misdemeanor convictions are given fines up to a few thousand dollars. A higher fine is given for felony conviction. The defendant must pay up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money laundered.

  • Probation

Probation sentences may last for at least one year. It can reach up to 3 years or more. A specific set of conditions must be met in order for the defendant to be released. Violation of the conditions may result to jail time, additional fines, or lengthening the probation period.

Defending Yourself from a Money Laundering Charge

Being convicted with money laundering will jeopardize your future. You should be able to prepare a good defense by:

  • Proving that the intent does not exist – Get evidence that shows you had no idea that the money you got was obtained illegally.
  • Proving that the act was done under duress – Provide evidence that you truly believed that you and your family is in danger if you didn’t commit the crime.
  • Showing that the charge lacks evidence – Try questioning the quality or amount of evidence being presented against you.

The penalties for money laundering should not be taken lightly. Contact a criminal law attorney today to help you prepare your defense.

Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.