Money Laundering

Do Not Face Charges of Money Laundering without the Best Fraud Attorney

If you have been accused of or charged with money laundering, it is essential for you to have the best fraud attorney. That attorney is Simmons Wagner, LLP. Read on to learn the potential penalties for state and federal money laundering charges, your defense options, and how an attorney can help. Then contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 for a free legal consultation.

Money Laundering is Just What it Sounds Like

Money laundering is a fairly straightforward crime to understand because it is essentially just what it sounds like. It is a crime of taking “dirty” money, i.e., money that was obtained from illegal activity, and turning it into “clean” money, i.e., money that was obtained legitimately.

California Money Laundering Laws Have Two Main Parts

There are two main types of money laundering laws a person can break in California. The first are laws relating to money that was obtained in any type of crime, and the second deal with money that was obtained specifically from drug crimes.

Both types of money laundering are wobbler offenses, which means that California prosecutors will decide if a specific case should be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. They will make this decision based on the specifics of the alleged crime, the criminal history of the defendant, and other factors.

Potential Penalties for State Money Laundering Convictions

Conviction of misdemeanor state money laundering charges can result in:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000

Felony money laundering charges at the state level can result in:

  • Jail sentence of up to four years
  • Fines of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the money laundered – whichever amount is greater

It is often the case that money laundering charges come with additional charges that result in additional jail time and heftier fees.

Legal Defenses to State Money Laundering Charges

It can be very challenging for the state to prove money laundering crimes. Depending on the specifics of a case, defense options can include showing that:

  • The defendant did not have criminal intent or the knowledge that they were laundering money that comes from criminal activities
  • The money was less than the minimum amount required for money laundering convictions
  • The defendant was the victim of misconduct by the police

These are only a few of the potential defense options for charges of money laundering.

The Prosecution Has Several Elements to Prove

Other defense options can be based on showing that the prosecution has not proven all required elements of the crime. For example, to be guilty of money laundering in California, the following must be true:

  • A transaction or series of transactions involving more than $5,000 within a seven-day period or more than $25,000 within a 30-day period
  • The defendant had the specific intent to cover up for a criminal activity, or they knew that the money came from criminal activity

For example, if a person deposits $3,000 in their bank account every week for four weeks, they will neither have deposited more than $5,000 during a seven-day period nor deposited more than $25,000 within a 30-day period and therefore should not be found guilty of money laundering.

Federal Money Laundering Charges

In addition to being illegal at a state level, money laundering is a federal offense too. The federal law states that it is a crime to engage in one of the two following types of money laundering:

  1. Knowingly being involved in a financial transaction with money from illegal activity and having the intent either to promote the activity or conceal that the source of the money was illegal.
  2. Knowingly being involved in a financial transaction involving more than $10,000 with money that comes from criminal activity.

The first type of federal money laundering can result in up to 20 years in federal prison and fines of up to $500,000 or twice the money that was laundered – whichever is larger. The second kind of money laundering can result in up to ten years in prison and fines of as much as $10,000.

Contact a Money Laundering Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with or accused of money laundering, whether at a state level or a federal level, contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 now. We are standing by to help you find the best way to proceed.