Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding money laundering.
We often think of money laundering as something we see in films and crime procedurals, or something we only hear from huge companies. However, as individuals or maybe even as business owners, it’s important we understand how money laundering works in order to avoid committing it in the future as it’s a serious offense. After all, the kind of money involved in money laundering isn’t only illegal, but can also finance other crimes as well. It is part of our responsibility as law-abiding citizens to know the penalties for money laundering in order to avoid it should we see certain signs.
Remember, however, that this article isn’t everything you need to know about money laundering as these penalties and laws can change depending on where you live. This means the best person to consult about penalties for money laundering are legal professionals, especially if your concern involves what to do if these things happen in your state or country.
According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, it’s important to remember that penalties for money laundering actually depend on the nature of the laundering offense as money laundering is often done in vastly different ways. In a basic sense, money laundering happens if a person tries to hide the destination, identity, or/and the source of money that is acquired or obtained through illegal means.
There are different laws related to money laundering depending on where you are, which means potential penalties regarding the said act may differ from one place to the next. This means penalties for money laundering can range from a wide variety of penalties, including:
You May Go To Prison
Some states consider money laundering as either a misdemeanor, a felony, or both. A conviction under the former may have penalties that include imprisonment for up to one whole year. Meanwhile, being convicted of a money laundering felony can actually make the sentence last longer.
- This is worse if you’ve done this repeatedly, especially since money laundering can last for a long time or if the money laundering in question is related to terrorist activity. Sentences related to these can last for up to, or more than, 35 years.
You May Get Fined
Aside from a prison sentence, fines related to money laundering can be very high, again depending on the kind of conviction you get. Being convicted of a money laundering misdemeanor can fine you much less than a federal conviction as a money laundering conviction of that classification may fine someone for up to $500,000. Sometimes, people convicted of this kind of money laundering can even be fined twice the amount of discovered laundered money.
You May Get Probation
It’s also possible for those convicted of money laundering to have probation sentences. These can last for a year or more, depending on the nature of the money laundering that had occurred. As with other probation sentences, there are certain terms and conditions to be met while being on this status, which often includes communicating with an assigned probation officer.
- These include allowing said probation officer to randomly check your home, taking drug tests at random, and of course not doing other crimes.
- Unfortunately, probation sentences can be revoked and may even be turned into a term in prison. Lighter penalties include longer periods of probation, or even additional fees.
- As money laundering is considered a state and federal offense, penalties often differ or even be added together. However, it’s important to remember that money laundering is in fact different than spending laundered funds.
Money Laundering: Spending and Concealment
In the United States, federal money laundering charges only apply if prosecutors are able to prove that the person who did the concealment of laundered funds also actually concealed other factors related to the money. This includes the ownership, nature, source, control, and location of the money. For instance, it’s not exactly money laundering if a person hides money while it’s being transported. It is however money laundering if said money is stolen and it’s being made to appear legitimate.
- This means money laundering may not necessarily apply if you spend the money. For instance, if a person sells stolen goods and made money out of them, spending the money out of those goods isn’t laundering even though it technically is inviting a person to get a charge when it comes to dealing in stolen goods.
In the same token, money laundering specifically also deals with the concealment and/or the attempted concealment of money or other goods that were obtained from criminal activity. This means a crime should’ve been involved in the production of the money being considered laundered.
- Likewise, money laundering also doesn’t immediately apply to people who make money from a crime. For instance, if you run an illegal game where you collect money from players and then proceed to pay the victors with the given amount, it won’t necessarily be considered money laundering as no concealment occured.
Money laundering is a serious offense, not only because the money involved is being used to finance illegal activities, but it can potentially lead to ruined lives. Money laundering can affect you and the people around you, which is why it may be a wise thing to learn about the nature of money laundering and know what to do should you encounter these incidents. As stated above, there are severe penalties involved when it comes to money laundering, which means it should be taken seriously.
If you have specific questions about money laundering that you would like to be clarified, it’s best you ask your lawyer, your legal counsel, or a legal professional on the matter. This is especially true if you’re residing in another country or if you’re curious about the specifics of money laundering on specific aspects of businesses and other activities.
Anne McGee has over 20 years of experience writing about law subjects where she hopes her knowledge can help the common reader understand law topics that may be of relevance to their daily lives. If she’s not reading a good book, then chances are Anne is jogging during her free time.