Consequences of Money Laundering

In a nutshell, second degree “money laundering” applies to almost any financial transaction involving proceeds from criminal activity in such a way that the funds appear to be legitimate. It requires the alleged money launderer to know, “or have reason to know,” that the funds originated from criminal activity and to have the intent to disguise the source of the funds.

Money laundering also includes intentionally or knowingly making false statements on loan applications or any other business documents. Omitting relevant information is the same as making a false statement.

Doing anything to either evade or cause another to evade any federal financial reporting requirement is also considered second degree money laundering. Included in this crime are any dealings with false financial instruments that contain “any materially false personal identifying information.” In Arizona see A.R.S. sec. 13-2317 for more information on Arizona money laundering in the second degree.

The major component of each subsection of the statute is that in order to be guilty of second degree money laundering, defendants must know or have reason to know that the funds, actions or omissions involved are illegal. They must also have the intent to circumvent the law.

A mere employee of a business or even a business partner may reasonably lack knowledge that the funds they are dealing with are illegal. That person may engage in transactions that do not seem suspicious and have no intent to disguise the source of the funds.

Second degree money laundering is considered to be a class three felony. The consequences of a conviction for money laundering depend on the severity of the offense and whether or not it is a first money laundering offense.

  • The sentence for a first time offender ranges from probation to 8.75 years in prison.
  • A second offender is not eligible for probation and may be sentenced from 3.5 years to 16.5 years in prison.
  • A third time offender is not eligible for probation and may be sentenced from 7.5 to 25 years in prison.

No matter whether a first, second or third offense, if $100,000 or more is determined to have been involved in any twelve month period of time, forfeiture to the government of three times the amount involved in the offense will be imposed. This includes not only the entire amount of money involved during the 12 month period of time, but also all money involved before or after the 12 month period.

Judges have no discretion to alter the penalty prescribed by the statute. They do have discretion to determine the sentence level within the range described in the statute. In determining the specific sentence, judges consider a number of factors.

The amount of money involved and the number and nature of the transactions will influence the penalty imposed. Restitution attempts and whether the offender expresses remorse also influence the sentence. Whether drugs were involved in the defense will impact the sentence imposed. Finally, victims will be allowed to express exactly how they were harmed and how their lives were impacted.

This Article was provided David Michael Cantor, Phoenix Criminal Lawyer. The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor handle criminal defense cases based in the State of Arizona.